Managing a building certainly isn’t easy, but the Internet of Things (IoT) sure can make it feel that way.
Another CES is in the books, and as usual, it was a blur of visionary concepts demonstrated alongside very useful, near-term technology. While much has already been written about CES 2020, I will focus my impressions on the connectivity technology choices for the smart home and building. While the market continues to evolve clever ways to present, manipulate and use data to make our lives and businesses simpler and more efficient, feeding the appetite of the big data engine presents many challenges in the smart building connectivity market.
Real estate is the second highest operating expense for employers behind salaries. At the same time, the workforce is rapidly transitioning into an “anytime, anywhere” work ethos. Despite these realities, little has changed in the way office space is utilized. As a result, very expensive office space is going unused. Worse still, without adequate data to prove otherwise, facility managers often request additional budget to lease even more space due to the belief that they are out of room in their existing facilities.
As the vertical market director for Smart Homes and Buildings in Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group, and lead for the Smart Buildings Working Group of the LoRa Alliance®, I recently had the pleasure of attending the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) World Workplace® Conference and Expo in Phoenix, Arizona. According to IFMA, the event is the largest and longest-running event series for facility management (FM) and workplace professionals, attracting an audience of nearly 5,000 professionals from 17 countries.
The emergence of smart buildings is not a new development. Building automation has been around (typically behind the scenes) since the mid-80s, having evolved from BACnet to a host of IEEE protocols, and recently from strictly wired, to both wired and wireless sensors. Building Management Systems (BMS) have played an important role in this evolution. However, historically these have had a limited role outside the realm of managing HVAC systems and the other physical operations within a building.
Last week I attended the National Facilities Management & Technology Conference and Exhibition (NFMT) in Baltimore, Maryland. I was quite impressed with the amount of interest generated by the solutions for facilities management being demonstrated at the show based on Semtech’s LoRa® devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology). The LoRa Alliance® had a strong presence with demonstrations by MachineQ, Microshare, Tektelic, and Semtech. In addition to the LoRa Alliance exhibitors, Haxiot was also on hand in its own booth to demonstrate its solutions. Facilities management is an industry that typically operates on tight margins and is therefore very interested in any solution that can save on supply usage, maintenance or efficient routing of resources.