Big Data Makes Smart Buildings the Norm in the 21st Century

Big data has led to the inception of smart buildings, which are quickly becoming a 21st Century phenomenon.

10 Min Read
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You have probably heard a lot talk about the Internet of Things (IoT). It is one of the biggest trends driven by big data. It is popular because billions of devices will be connected in the future. The IoT sector is predicted to generate over £7.5 trillion across the world. In fact, McKinsey Global predicts homes, offices, worksites, retail settings, and factories to generate around £3.55 trillion by the end of 2025.

Smart building is the main area driving development in the IoT sector. The modern buildings are more complex. And they can generate more data. Building management systems (BMS) do not, however, leverage the data from their smart buildings. They can use the data to make important decisions. Unfortunately, they do not even capture data from their modern buildings.

Buildings consume around 42% of the energy of the world. In addition, facility managers are under pressure to improve the performance of their buildings and reduce environmental pollution. They are, therefore, focusing on making their buildings more efficient and sustainable. They can use their buildings to collect data. Then, they can use the data to achieve these goals.

Some facility managers do not have enough time and resources to make their buildings more efficient and sustainable. They can, therefore, take advantage of the IoT sector to get actionable insights.

Do More with Less

Budget reductions are reducing the resources of building owners. The building owners now have fewer resources to use to manage the sophisticated systems of their buildings. Facility managers do not have enough time. In addition, the older systems are no longer effective.

If, however, the building owners have a sufficient budget, then they might not find or retain knowledgeable and skilled staff to help them with BMS.

It is also important for building owners to maintain their current equipment. Wear and tear of equipment, fall out of calibration, and components break can negatively affect the operational efficiency of the building. Changes in occupancy and building use can lead to high energy costs, uncomfortable environments, and poor-quality indoor air.

How can building owners counter these problems? They can recommission renovation projects to improve the operational efficiency of their buildings.

It is, however, difficult to identify the energy waste areas using traditional maintenance. It is not even easy to detect operational inefficiencies since they are not obvious. In fact, if they do not cause discomfort to the occupants of the building, the building owner might not detect them.


A lot of new tools have been produced over the last decade. The design of these tools is to help building owners understand their buildings. They can use these tools for long-term planning and their daily operations. Some of these tools include machine-learning optimization engines, automated analytics platforms, and dashboards.

It is, therefore, necessary for building owners to train their staff to use these tools. According to research, there is an evident need for training in this market. This is because 20% of building managers use 80% of the capabilities of their BMS. And the other 20% of building managers use around 20% of the potential capabilities of their BMS.

It is easy for building owners to lose some of their staff. The remaining staff will have to focus on the other facility-management responsibilities. They will, therefore, not have enough time to take full advantage of these tools.

There is an option of outsourcing different functions. It is, however, crucial to closely manage these vendors to improve efficacy and reduce outsourcing costs. If the building owner does not manage them closely, the outsourcing costs can increase quickly.

In Tech We Trust

A lot of facility managers rely on BMS to operate their buildings and do their jobs. One of the most important parts of building management is technology. Facility managers can now use new technologies, such as data visualization dashboards, to view the performance of their building. They can use the data to gather insights and spot trends.

Building operators can even use charts and graphs to make data visual. Then, use the data to identify problem areas. They can inspect and fix the problem areas.

It is helpful to use dashboards to determine building behavior. It is, however, a challenge to interpret the data since it is complex. The staff of the building can read and understand the data. The data does not, however, show the full performance of the building. Facility managers can use the data to know where there are inefficiencies in their building. However, they will not know why there are inefficiencies.

It is, therefore, necessary to do additional investigation and troubleshooting. They can use the dashboards to simply monitor environments. Once the trained staff identify problem areas, they can troubleshoot these areas to know the cause of these problems.

Analytics is the Answer

It is difficult to understand the data since they are complex. Therefore, more facility managers interpret the data using data analytics software. It is easy to use software to do root-cause analysis, identify, and monitor equipment and energy use. The facility manager can, therefore, prioritize opportunities to reduce costs, improve comfort, and reduce maintenance costs.

Facility managers can use the software to complement BMS dashboards. The software not only interprets the data. It also shows why inefficiencies are occurring. It is easy for the trained staff to convert the data into actionable information. They can use the actionable information to fix complex operational challenges.

Facility managers can use the software to effectively optimize and commission their building operations. They no longer have to rely on BMS alone. They can even use the software to know why their building is or is not operating efficiently. They can, therefore, use the information to fix the problems permanently. They will never have to have to do temporary fixes.

For instance, facility managers can use the data on the data analytics to know the operational problems, including the equipment they need to repair or replace. It is best to fix the operational problems to avoid critical failure. Critical failure can negatively impact the occupants of the buildings. The facility manager can, therefore, schedule repairs to avoid emergencies, avoid failure and downtime, and even eliminate costly replacements.

The software can ensure the equipment are more reliable, reduce the costs of replacement and repairs, and ensure the occupants are comfortable. If the facility managers follow best practices, they can reduce the HVAC energy costs of their buildings.

The Future

There are more connected technologies in almost all modern buildings. It is difficult for building owners to manage the data in their large buildings. A proactive response is, therefore, needed to improve the operations of the building.

It is easy to use analytics solutions to manage the information. The analytic solutions can filter useful information and discard useless information. The facility managers, therefore, do not have to spend their budgets and time on useless information.

The facility managers can use the information on the data analytics to know problems in their buildings. It is better to fix these problems to prevent total failure. Predictive maintenance can reduce energy use and reduce the overall costs.

It is now more important to focus on facility management due to the introduction of IoT. Focusing on facility management can reduce costs and improve the performance of the facility. It is, therefore, essential to invest in the sophisticated BMS since they help facility managers know the data that they need to focus on. If the facility management uses the performance data of their building, they can improve operation efficiency, improve the comfort of the occupants, and reduce energy usage. It can help them reduce their overall maintenance costs.

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