What is the Internet of Things (IoT) everyone seems to keep talking about these days, and why should it matter to you as a decision-maker?
The IoT is the ability to connect any device that has an ‘on/off’ switch to the Internet, resulting in a giant network of connected people and/or devices. Items included in the IoT range from our everyday cell phones to household controls (such as light switches, utility usage, music selections, and exercise equipment), to commercial controls (for retail sites, consumer spending, energy/efficiency usage, building maintenance, and parking/traffic availability).
Libelium released an extensive study projecting how the IoT will eventually integrate with our daily lives. Drawing from my 18 years of experience in commercial real estate, along with this study released by Deloitte, I made some connections between points mentioned in these studies and the future of the real estate landscape.
Projection #1: Energy Efficiencies | Usage Monitoring to Save Costs and Resources
- Commercial Real Estate Impact: The interaction of consumer and city-level products can optimize energy usage and spikes in energy demands. Consumers and building owners will save money by simply controlling when devices requiring electricity or water will be used. Here are a few ideas that can result in substantial energy savings:
1) Provide sensors throughout a building to measure lighting levels, temperature, C02 levels, and other system controls.
2) Install a building information modeling (BIM) system to map data to monitor building energy consumption.
3) Implement an intelligent building management system (IBMS) to extract data from the BIM system to automatically switch building systems to ‘on/off,’ as needed.
Projection #2: Space Utilization | Building Vibration and Material Conditions Monitoring
- Commercial Real Estate Impact: Management can reduce the company’s real estate footprint by installing screen kiosks that display floor plans with live usage data. These kiosks will enable team members to find a free desk or conference room stress free, little effort, and minimal time.
For example, if a booked but unoccupied conference room or office is noted as being ‘free’ through the IoT and is released to a user having an immediate need, building ownership will maximize its space. These new capabilities will result in an added convenience to companies and building owners – optimizing space usage, while maximizing revenue potential.
Projection #3: Building Maintenance | Building Equipment Monitoring
- Commercial Real Estate Impact: The IoT can play an important role in the maintenance of critical building equipment. When a piece of building equipment breaks down (such as elevators, HVAC, security systems, or escalators, etc.), not only is it an inconvenience and safety hazard for occupants and patrons, but building ownership experiences lost revenue and costly emergency service calls.
For example, once the detection of an abnormal elevator pattern occurs, the IoT system alerts building maintenance to inspect the equipment. This approach allows repair work, maintenance, or ordering of parts to happen before an actual failure occurs. Implementing these proactive strategies will result in immediate building ownership savings and increased user and tenant satisfaction.
The IoT will eventually change the landscape of the entire real estate industry. If you enjoy technology, educate yourself and embrace it. If you are unsure about the IoT, be open-minded. Regardless of your views, the unleashed capability of the IoT has unlimited potential that will influence how each of us work and live. The more we understand the pros and cons of always being connected and challenge ourselves to improve the ever-changing technological landscape, the more we can leverage the IoT to our advantage.
As the IoT continues to create value in the commercial real estate sector through increased efficient building operations, new revenue generation opportunities, and enhanced tenant relationships, creativity and technology will undoubtedly present new ideas.
It would be great to hear your thoughts about how the IoT is changing the way you live, work, and play!