Internet of Things Explained

I would hazard a guess that recently you have heard the term ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) on the news, or perhaps you have read about it in the papers. You may be wondering why we are writing about this, the answer is simple – the IoT is set to change the Facilities Management industry in a very big way over the coming years.

It is of course true that connecting devices to enable data sharing is not new, and in fact I suspect it is something you have had experience of in your own organisation. Perhaps, for example the vending machines within your organisation are already connected devices which report on stock levels and offer complex analytics around sales.

First, let’s take a step back

The Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things defines the IoT as “the infrastructure of the information society.” In plainer terms, the IoT allows physical objects such as fridge freezers and cars to be sensed and controlled remotely by IT infrastructure. In essence, this allows the physical world to become part of the IT world. 

What are the benefits?

There are a huge number of applications, but in some cases, it can be used to assist in saving people’s lives. For example a device which reports if an individual’s pacemaker is not working correctly. From a Facilities Management perspective, the IoT is set to offer a huge amount of opportunity that you could exploit to offer enhanced services. These are some potential areas of opportunity:

1 – Lighting, temperature control

Providing a selection of employees with an app which allows them to control the lighting and temperature within the office. This would be particularly appropriate where employees work in their own office. It would reduce the requirement for engineers to manage the controls.

2 – Alarm systems

Remote monitoring of various alarms such as fire and carbon monoxide, providing real time access which can allow any issues to be diagnosed remotely.

3 – Security

Intelligent security devices such as IP cameras that have analytics built in which integrate both public and private information. This would allow for security to be ramped up in response to real time developments.

Summary

The expectation is that in the coming months and years we will see IT firms and building systems firms merge or partner up. Therefore, Facilities Managers should be prepared to speak with vendors about the advantages IoT solutions can offer their organisation. 

Peter Forshaw – Managing Director, Maxwell Stephens

Keep an eye on our blog for further articles on technology that can help you streamline your facilities management process and your business overall.

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