Whether your building is classed as smart or not, the systems in it are already creating vast amounts of data, which is probably not being used to its full potential. So how can facility managers exploit this resource and use it to deliver measureable benefits for their buildings’ occupants?

Dan Ritch

Auditing your building’s data

The first step to using data to improve the occupant experience is working with a building technology partner to establish what information is available. This might sound obvious, but even the most experienced facility managers might be surprised by the devices creating data points in their buildings.

Some of the most commonly used sources of building data include thermostats and other sensors related to HVAC, along with presence detectors for lighting systems. Security and access control systems are also rich sources of data that can track the movement of people across a whole estate.

CCTV is something that would have normally been overlooked, but advanced video analytics software opens up an array of smart building applications. Even refrigerators and other appliances can be IoT enabled.

Putting the data to work

Once the data sources have been identified, the next step is to see if they can be put to use. Fortunately, many systems now use open standards, which makes for easy integration into building management software.

Smart building

The resulting insights can reveal a lot about how space is being used. In particular, occupancy sensors used to control lighting can give an accurate picture of when a particular area of a building is in use and the levels of traffic it experiences.

This gives facility managers instant insights into the busiest parts of their buildings, which help them understand how best to put the space to work. This data can also be used to make informed decisions on maintenance and cleaning schedules, the optimum number of desks in a given area and even the best place to put a coffee machine.

But what surprises building operators most is just how little some parts of their estate are used. Research shows that as much as 50% of corporate space is underutilised, an insight that can help facility managers cut building overheads and add to their organisation’s bottom line.


Dan Ritch is vice-president, connected services and CIO, at Honeywell Building Solutions