IoT & ML based building management a critical need of the hour
By: Prabhu Ramanchandran, CEO & Co-founder, Facilio Inc.
Unprecedented, rapid and transformative urbanization is sweeping across our planet. To one extent or another, virtually every country is experiencing an urban expansion with an ever-expanding share of the population migrating to urban centers. By 2030, roughly 5 billion of the world’s population will live in cities. Urbanization has the potential to generate widespread prosperity and help in the efficient utilization of resources and energy through the creation of Smart Cities. Intelligent, automated and software-enabled facilities management will be a core, enabling characteristic of these urban spaces of the future. Centralized facilities management, built around AI, Machine Learning, and IoT solutions, is the replicable unit that Smart Cities will be comprised of.
Efficient, interconnected units can optimize the infrastructure of our society
Buildings are the epicenter of our lives – whether residential or ones that house businesses. Built structures and facilities are responsible for the greatest share of our energy usage and serve as the venue for every aspect of our lives. For human civilization to evolve to a more efficient version of itself – one that gives access to life’s essentials and luxuries in the most sustainable way – smarter, more optimal and more livable buildings are the key.
Facilities that incorporate centralized control and management – with the aid of automated and intelligent operations – are the basic unit around which smart, technology empowered societies can be built. AI, Machine Learning, and IoT based facilities management yields highly integrated, connected and optimized municipal and city units that can operate at exceptional standards of efficiency and sustainability.
The opportunities that lie ahead
Across the globe, the investment in intelligent building systems amounted to $6.3 billion in 2017. This outlay is estimated be in excess of $22 billion, by the year 2026. The overall global investment in facilities services is currently already more than $1 trillion dollars – a figure that is replicated by the energy bill that these structures account for.
Facilities management is currently a fairly siloed, complex, fragmented and somewhat ad-hoc sector. Smart buildings offer an alternative model that has several in-built advantages. Commercial real estate operators stand to be able to access several operational efficiencies through a centralized management of their portfolios. From an investment perspective, both opex and capex costs can be substantially curtailed through the implementation of automated and technology-enabled facilities management – best in class systems can easily precipitate a 20 – 25 % increase the lifecycle of assets and savings of around 30 percent on operating expenses. Sustainability, efficiency and occupant experience can all be very significantly upgraded through these technologies – delivering ongoing ROI as well as substantial increment in asset valuation.
Environmental concerns around energy footprints, the emergence of game-changing technologies and the enormous operational and financial benefits of Smart Cities and Smart Buildings represent an irresistible transformative force at a macro level as well. Facility managers are actively upgrading to a future led by software-based management systems, unified reporting and the operational efficiencies generated by abilities such as predictive maintenance. Given that the same concerns are occupying urban planners and administrators, regulations that will eventually require all buildings to be connected to a grid and under the purview of local government authorities are an inevitable and desirable outcome in our future.
The future belongs to smart, unobtrusive, intuitive and embedded technologies
Technologies like Cloud, Mobile Connectivity, IoT, Machine Learning and AI will be primary drivers in the way human societies organize themselves in the future. The ubiquitous presence of these innovations will, naturally, be reflected in the way buildings are managed as well. Scalable solutions built around software, IoT and AI will enhance physical infrastructure through proactive and predictive management that reduces manual errors and delivers unprecedented efficiency, sustainability and livability outcomes.
About the author
Prabhu Ramachandran is the founder and CEO of Facilio Inc. Facilio is a unified facilities optimization platform that uses IoT and AI to help CREs drive operational and sustainability efficiency across portfolio. Prabhu’s career spans over 18 years of product, business and customer experience focused on enterprise-scale software for IoT-based connected services, sustainable building solutions, and telecom network management