Smart technologies are permeating almost every aspect of building automation. For facilities managers, these technologies have the potential to make day to day facility management tasks easier, and more efficient than ever before. Here are a few smart technologies that every facility manager, property manager, or property owner should be aware of:
Temperature control is one of the most basic, yet one of the most impactful aspects of an environment. According to an article on Telit, a Texas Instruments study found that optimizing thermal comfort increases productivity by roughly 3%. Because of this, facilities managers ought to pay special attention to efficient, precise temperature regulation.
Although temperature regulation has been historically expensive, there are now devices capable of regulating temperature exclusively in rooms that are in use. This allows for ultra-efficient automated heating and cooling — and optimal thermal comfort for occupants. Facilities managers no longer have to worry about the inefficiency headache associated with heating a whole office space. Tight, efficient temperature regulation technologies can save money and time for property owners and facilities managers, and boost the underlying productivity of employees.
Perhaps one of the coolest up-and-coming technologies for facilities managers is smart doors. Portal Entryways has advanced the accessibility of facilities by empowering users to open handicap doors with their smartphone via the Portal App. By adding a Portal receiver to an automatic handicap door motor, users can simply approach the entrance with their smartphone, have the door open for them hands-free, and have it stay open until they are safely through. Existing solutions are still inaccessible to people with disabilities, as they almost always require a button push — which can be burdensome for people with mobility difficulties. With Portal, wheelchair users can easily pass through doors in an average 3–5 seconds — shaving off up to a minute of navigation time when compared with some traditional button push configurations.
In addition to increasing the comfort, accessibility, and efficiency of wheelchair users, Portal is also a time and energy saver for facility managers. With a Portal receiver, facilities managers can now easily track key door statistics right from a smartphone. Facilities managers can view the accessibility traffic through various entryways and can easily be alerted when accessibility issues arise. Instead of having to walk through an entire facility to manually check the functionality of accessibility entrances, facilities managers can now track each door right from a smartphone. Overall, Portal helps facility managers to more easily maintain ADA compliant entrances, while increasing the underlying accessibility of their spaces.
HVAC and Lighting
Up the same vein as IoT temperature control is automated HVAC and Lighting systems. According to the research, automation of these larger systems, through smart technology, can lead to big financial savings for facility and property managers. In the aforementioned TI (Texas Instruments) study they reported that advanced HVAC and lighting IoT solutions cut energy use by 40%. This is a game-changer for facility efficiency, and requires little to no ongoing daily attention for facilities managers. With many options already on the market, this smart technology avenue is a great starting point if you are looking to save on energy usage.
There are a variety of smart technologies available to automate business campuses, shopping malls, apartment complexes, schools, local shops, and just about every other public space. With the help of these emerging technologies, facility and property managers have the potential to optimize their time on the the job and create a better environment for facility occupants.