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4 considerations for choosing Smart Building Technology

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Still mulling over the benefits of Smart Building Technology (SBT) or don’t quite know where to start when it comes to implementing it in your business? This isn’t uncommon. The wide spectrum of possibilities made available through SBT, can make even the most forward-focused of businesses stand still, for fear of change.

But, while there’s no mistaking the enormity and complexity of SBT or the wider Internet of Things (IoT) and the huge change this brings about, this doesn’t mean that you have to choose everything off the menu. Each business, each building and each occupant is unique and requires a unique approach. What approach might provide multiple benefits for one business, might not for the next. It’s about planning and choosing what’s right for you.

Here are 4 helpful things to consider before choosing which SBT is right for your business:

What problems are you trying to solve?

Understanding what the inefficiencies are within your business is key to selecting the right SBT. Think about what would really benefit your business. Logan Soya, Founder and CEO of Aquicore, offers some good advice. He says, it’s less about choosing which sensors and devices to start with and more about focusing on what problems need solving. For example, if you were looking into lighting, do you need a device that only monitors energy use by turning off lights in unoccupied areas, or, could you solve another problem in the same process by implementing a system that has fault detection and diagnostic capabilities?

What is your set-up strategy?

A robust plan and set up strategy is essential, but where do you begin? Sometimes the answer is to start small: for example, focus on one energy source in one area. How much is the energy cost in one particular office suite? If one wireless device can help you make economies in one relatively small area, think what a more sophisticated, complex network of devices would achieve across most or all of your business. Once you have the data from the one area, you can then use this to determine your next step.

How robust are the data capabilities?

Make sure the solution you’ve chosen is a robust one. To make analysis easier, it’s recommended to choose a monitoring system with data capabilities built in that can handle outages, spikes and missing data. Soya also suggests choosing a system with capabilities around monitoring the status of the equipment, that can also detect and manage any maintenance requirements.

What return on investment can you expect?

A solid IoT solution should enable quick payback. If you’re looking for a specific example, Joe Herbst, Vice President of Controls for Revolution Lighting Technologies, says, “lighting controls typically cost about 20% of the lighting budget, so installing lighting controls should save you about 30% right off the bat in addition to a conversion to LED.” Implementing SBT can yield many returns, with perhaps the more visible ones including: increased energy efficiency, reduced operational costs, and enhanced marketability. Then there’s the one which is, quite literally, hard to put a price on – the improved health and wellbeing of employees. In summary, many experts believe intelligent buildings pay for themselves within the first couple of years. Think about that.

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