CONTRIBUTED BY IFMA’s Environmental Stewardship, Utilities and Sustanability Community Strategic Advisory Group members | Erik Jaspers, John McGee and Eric Teicholz In the March/April 2016 issue of FMJ, authors Teicholz and Jaspers wrote an article entitled “The Quantified Building.” At the time the article was written, there was much confusion within the IFMA community regarding what basic terms meant such as Smart Buildings, the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The original article defined these terms and speculated as to the FM implications resulting from the collection, modeling and reporting of sensor and meter data on people, buildings and cities. The growth of the installed base of IoT devices and IoT-enabled features and functionality (e.g., smart sensors, meters, systems, models, algorithms and highly visualized dashboards) in the period since that article was published has resulted in an explosion of new FM products delivering smart building solutions. There are currently IoT-based products impacting almost every component of a building, and its management, including windows, floors, lighting, security and utilities (e.g., water, gas, electricity, steam) — to name a few.1 According to Juniper Research, the number of installed smart devices is expected to reach 46 billion units by 2021 — a continual increase that has surpassed everyone's previous optimistic expectations. SMART BUILDING TECHNOLOGY To prepare the future to achieve this growth, there is no aspect of the current built environment that has not benefited from recent technology advancements. Such advancements include smart materials in building construction, infrastructure upgrades (e.g. from conventional to smart lighting), building automation systems, networks and connectivity, HVAC systems and sub-systems, controls, sensors, end-user devices, advanced modeling, analytics and data visualization. Looking ahead to 2018 and onward, we see definite trends emerging when we think about Smart Buildings. This article recognizes five of these trends: 1 Asset Optimization. Smart Buildings increasingly use sensors to understand and improve the operational efficiency of building assets. The ability to replace existing proprietary systems with intelligent sensors that send data to the cloud for modeling and analysis will allow FMs to fine tune their buildings to improve customer satisfaction, employee effectiveness, occupant wellbeing and operational optimization. 2 Integration and connectivity. We are seeing accelerating advancements in the integration of building control systems and networks of installed connected devices where data is transferred in real-time through 5G networks.2 The promise of 5G networking is a significant rise in available bandwidth, in principle providing a thousand-fold increase.3 The result is that information is communicated in real-time to applications and mobile devices that empower FMs to make the right operational changes in time to best manage costs and provide the best possible environment for customers, users and occupants of their buildings. 3 Advanced technology. supporting sustainability initiatives with much lower payback periods. Vendors of Smart Building products will continue to focus on the increased reduction of utility costs (and particularly energy costs) and greenhouse gas emissions. This will be accomplished by better employment of interval data from intelligent sensors and metering, energy modeling, advanced analytics and high-quality data visualization tools. Data collected by advanced building management systems will be more effectively used to calculate and optimize utility expenses, reduce waste and optimize consumption. 4 Research & development to deployment. Developments in information technology are evolving at increasing speeds. Leading product innovators are commercializing AI powered products and services that support Real Estate and Facility Management initiatives. Some of these technologies are shaped by collaborations between commercial companies and the open source community (e.g. Google with its TensorFlow machine learning library). 5 Increased Artificial Intelligence. The authors have seen a remarkable increase in the use of AI in the business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketplaces. We see examples of AI in applications such as game playing, computer vision/pattern recognition, expert systems and natural language processing. Although AI is still in its infancy with regards to FM. It is only a matter of time before FM applications with embedded AI technology will be more broadly available and used to automate complex FM activities. Among the first applications of AI for FM will involve condition assessment where asset-level analytics will facilitate the generation of more accurate data for predictive maintenance. BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURES We can see the impact of the evolution to an inter-connected world of the environment, buildings and people. What is emerging is not merely a global “network” but a transformation to an infrastructure of multiple platforms, applications and devices that connect and interact with each other. Applications and assets that relate to real estate and facility management will increasingly depend on such connectivity, automated control and decision-support to carry out their roles and move them from being managers to being conductors or pilots of the built environment. This requires ubiquitous connectivity within and between buildings. This, in turn, implies that technology needs to mature so that data, control decisions and advice flow seamlessly to the point of execution with no connectivity “dead spots.” There are still challenges to overcome and new breakthroughs in connectivity to be yet achieved (e.g. fully connecting and empowering building field services to complete work that cannot be automatically executed). It does not help when diagnostics and decision support are no longer available to field personnel because their mobile devices cannot access central knowledge libraries or the results of diagnostic modeling. Consequently, solutions that address losses in connectivity need to be built into workflows that address the maintenance and operation of the connected world, which includes the environment, buildings and people. Field services sometimes require that mobile applications work offline (e.g., if there is no connectivity in certain spaces). Providing services in this environment (without the web) might reduce the benefits of the application used. Operating offline implies that important documents (instruction manuals, BIM models, safety and security guidelines, etc.) need to be previously downloaded to mobile devices. This does not only incur the risk of error (think of document version management and completeness of documents) but also could increase the risk of data loss or theft if devices get lost. The data management around providing documents on devices also implies additional cost in terms of setup time as well as data management. The consequence of this is that smart and intelligent Buildings require pervasive network connectivity. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE FROM SMART TO INTELLIGENT With the emergence of AI in the field of software applications, the question arises as to how to define the use of AI? The use of the word ‘smart’ has already been applied to label things that are connected and communicate with each other, but how should we differentiate smart with AI-based applications and things? The IT industry seems to adopt the label ‘intelligent’ to indicate the use of AI. At present, there are many interpretations and definitions as to what intelligent means. The availability of large amounts of data is a prerequisite for the application of AI. The authors take the position that ‘intelligent’ devices are implicitly ‘smart’ in that intelligence incorporates the accepted definition and functionality of smart (for example, communication networks, sensors, devices) that can be accessed and controlled, as appropriate, locally and remotely. The qualification of “smart” for things that merely communicate was introduced almost ten years ago at a time when we were probably not anticipating the emergence of distributed intelligence in computing. As such this can be seen as a proof of the astonishing speed that innovations can occur. The distinction between “smart” and “intelligent,” however, is even more significant. A “smart” camera, for example, will merely be able to relay its images to other devices or applications whereas an “intelligent” camera will use the camera data to analyze images as well as describe what can be seen. The implication of this would be that, in the future, we can and should develop clear definitions so that communicating on these topics is clear. The confusion between “smart” and “intelligent” buildings is an example of the need for a well-defined taxonomy of important terms. NOT SO FAST: SECURITY, BOTNETS AND CYBER ATTACKS The thousands of connected devices in Smart Buildings create ever increasing cybersecurity risks. An IoT survey initiated by IFMA indicated that security was the primary impediment to IoT implementation. IFMA stakeholders do not have confidence that their connected assets are cyber secured and therefore the improved availability of needed information is more than offset by the negative impact on the overall business from a hacking intrusion through the connected building systems (for example, the hacking of Target stores’ U.S. cash registers in December 2013). The nature of these type of threats are complex. For example, Botnets (robot networks) are computers infected with externally-controlled software and are relevant to FM. Such networks are primarily used for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. This has already occurred, for example, with chillers being shut down and the result of a building having to be evacuated. However, Botnets are capable of much more serious actions (e.g., destruction of assets). Unless we learn to mitigate such elements of risk, the potential for data theft, as well as service and asset disruption, remain high and will dramatically slow the adoption of the enabling solutions, and therefore benefits associated with, smart buildings. Building owners need to treat asset security as both an IT problem to be solved and the control of business risk exposures which need to be managed in a way that allows Smart Building driven financial returns to occur. UNDERSTANDING AND SELLING BENEFITS TO THE CFO As buildings increasingly collect and consolidate data from devices, as analytics and data mining tools become more sophisticated, as AI and machine learning matures, FMs will have access to a vast amount of knowledge and actionable recommendations about how their building operates and how employees use them. In fact, FMs will be able to focus primarily on handling exceptions since most standard operations will be automated. This will free up time for real estate and facility managers to address topics around providing more value to their organizations instead of spending time on operational fire-fighting. Smart Buildings will optimize or support critical parts of a business, including employee satisfaction, space and asset utilization, utilities consumption, building security and safety. Much of the future is available to FMs today. Sensors can, for example, monitor assets and then, when needed, trigger maintenance recovery procedures even before an alert has been received. Smart lighting and HVAC systems can sense when spaces are occupied and adjust lighting and air flow/temperature levels based on space utilization. This same data can also be used to optimize space from planning and utilization to ensuring a clean, comfortable environment. All of these benefits will be quantifiable and directly impact an organization’s bottom line. By extension, facility managers will have the responsibility to communicate these benefits to management in order to get the financial and administrative support needed to effectively implement the technology solutions required. CONCLUSION As illustrated by Maureen Ehrenberg, past IFMA Board of Directors chair, at World Workplace in 2016, IFMA recognizes the technology tsunami underway. FM is increasingly becoming a technology and IT-based business. As buildings are digitized, connected and “learn” to adopt their behavior to changing circumstances (like weather and occupancy patterns), it is important that real estate and facility management leaders acquire a deeper understanding of technology and obtain the ability to deploy constantly evolving technologies. The world of connectivity between environment, people and buildings will indeed occur and the reality of sophisticated hackers will not go away. Consequently, when implementing IoT initiatives and other digital building technologies, the emphasis on security and digital resilience will need to be balanced with the gains expected from its adoption. To gain the most advantage, FM and IT will need to join forces and can no longer operate as separate silos. REFERENCES 1) For information about specific new IoT products, see “50 Emerging Players in the New Buildings Ecosystem,” BuiltWorlds, Sept., 13 2) The next generation of mobile networks or wireless systems. The standard is still quite fluid and will probably not be commercially available for two years. 3) See the following for a good and simple explanation on 5G: https://spectrum.ieee.org/video/telecom/wireless/everything-you-need-to-know-about-5g
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