Robert Martens 2017-07-13 22:09:26
Technology in the commercial space is enhancing the collective experience for all users, and it’s prompting facility managers and owners to become more ingrained in the security and efficiency of their properties. Consider the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), which introduces connected devices throughout a facility to drive productivity. Sensors and smart devices share information to create routines or recipes that deliver a more personalized experience for facility managers and businesses, all the way to end users. More connected devices mean greater potential for automation due to the growing amount of data available. And that means more real-time actions occur on their behalf — that’s more tasks achieved in less time, and without constant monitoring by facilities staff. Access control systems are no longer limited to controlling access to an opening. Today, their vast functions are improving the productivity of facilities and employees. Electronics continue to develop at a rapid rate, but their impact on physical security will depend on the property and how quickly those in charge are willing to get on board. Reaping the benefits of next generation technology starts by selecting adaptable devices that establish convenience. THE BIG BENEFITS OF BIG DATA By blending technology into the functionality of a building, successful properties have struck a balance between security needed to protect people and assets, while also delivering the convenience users have come to expect. Innovative approaches can be applied to benefit facility personnel more so than ever before. In the past, protecting a facility required a lot of manual actions and routines — touring the grounds to ensure every opening was working properly and adjusting appliances like lights or thermostats. These days, using smart devices and leveraging big data can initiate these routines and complete others that had been beyond facility personnel’s capability. Connected devices create more possibilities as electronic access control moves beyond simply locking and unlocking doors. Using the power of IoT devices, the mere action of reading a card can trigger a customized routine or series of actions. For example, after credentials are presented to access an office, the system can turn on lights and adjust temperature to a user’s preferences. The facility monitors who has accessed specific openings and when, and creates an alert if a normally locked door is left ajar. Depending on the facility, a system can even collect data from window sensors that automatically adjust shades based on sun positioning. If the facility is accessed during nonpeak times, these actions may occur in specific wings based on which openings are being used. The routine then reverses when credentials are used to leave the office at the end of the day. The more devices are working together, the more personalized the occupant experience can become. These advancements allow more operational activities to take place on behalf of the facility manager and enhance the level of security in a facility. As the routines occur, the system remains aware of security by tracking who is inside of the building and which doors they’ve entered. For example, it might be important to know who visited a computer room and when, or how many people used the break room in a day. At the end of the day, perhaps the janitorial staff could be alerted to which spaces were occupied and in need of attention. Technology allows facilities to monitor space access and usage, as well as occupant habits, all without the presence of a facility manager. In this way, facility managers can focus on the strategic aspects of bulding management — leveraging big data in their decision-making role to heighten efficiency and security in day-to-day facility operations. ENHANCED CONVENIENCE As digital and physical security converges, successful properties are finding ways to blend solutions that balance security and convenience. With new technology comes features that complement the fundamental purpose of an original device. It’s evident in the additional benefits of electronic access control systems, but it also takes place in the hardware itself. Historically, the purposes of mechanical hardware were safety and security. Electronic locks offered more visibility and control. Keyless convenience is an additional feature, allowing access by PIN pad, card or phone. In return, the facility manager benefits from fewer keys being in circulation, which makes the time and hassle of key turnover a thing of the past. More control is gained over who has access to an opening, and should a credential be lost (or a change in personnel occur) access can be granted or denied from a centralized point of control. Another FM task of the past is moving from door to door, evaluating each lock to determine if it is working properly. Electronic devices can now monitor and report function without the need to physically touch the lock, and real-time notifications are sent if a device needs attention. With no-tour capabilities, facility managers can monitor and conduct resets from virtually anywhere, allowing them to work remotely or focus on more pressing matters. ADAPTABLE DEVICES As the security needs of a facility grow, and technology continues to evolve, door hardware should mature as well. Open, flexible devices allow the facility team to do more. Who would choose to be locked in to one technology if they had the choice? That’s why it is best to seek out adaptable, non-proprietary solutions. With an open architecture design, such devices are able to interface with a variety of products and easily adjust as new innovations enter the marketplace. Implement technology that can be easily upgraded — it’s one way to avoid buyer’s remorse down the road, and it helps to ensure continued return on investment. Wireless options, for example, adapt with a facility and can move when an opening does. Many facility professionals worry about buying a device for an opening that might change, and people postpone investment in technology because they are not confident it will meet long-term needs or that something better will come along. As technology changes, however, locks and firmware will inevitably change with it. Using advanced technology, access devices can receive the latest security updates wirelessly. It’s imperative that connected devices ensure facilities are updated and protected against common threats. So if something goes wrong, an update will be shared. And as unique benefits roll out over time, devices will see those updates as well. Ultimately, the device will keep getting better over time with little disruption to the facility managers or information technology personnel. CREATIVITY COUNTS Groundbreaking technologies continue to be integrated into physical access control, and the benefits to facility managers are becoming clearer. It is increasingly important to embrace the evolution of security technology, and the value is truly multifaceted. When smart devices work together, they can reveal previously unseen opportunities to improve efficiency and security for facilities and occupants. Possibilities exist for the creative facility manager, and understanding how to implement new technologies will be an ongoing opportunity for both cost savings and user satisfaction. ROBERT MARTENS, futurist and vice president of strategy and partnerships for Allegion, has been involved in the safety and security industry for more than 15 years, focusing on technology, innovation and business intelligence. He supports forward-looking solutions and is responsible for staying up-to-date on topics such as enhanced design. Respected for his unique industry perspective, Martens has recently been featured as an expert panelist on CNET, International CES 2015, the Golden Seeds Annual Summit, the IoT Global Innovation Forum, IoT World and APPNATION IoT, among others. Rob graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1993 and has received a number of awards for his work in innovative solutions.
Published by International Facility Management Association . View All Articles.