IoT for Real Estate and Facility Management

IoT is probably one of the most discussed phenomena these days. But what is the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT)? Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, defines it this way:

“The Internet of things is the network of dedicated physical objects (things) that contain embedded technology to sense or interact with their internal state or external environment. The IoT comprises an ecosystem that includes things, communications, applications and data analysis.”

With the introduction of meters, sensors, building systems and devices that measure actual behaviour and can communicate and interact with other systems, IoT has a wide applicability within building and service operations. Analysts estimate that 50% of human control functions will disappear in the next five years. Real Estate and Facility Management will therefore face drastic changes in operating models and processes.

What you need to know about IoT for building and services operations

Now that familiar operational technologies are becoming internet-connected, these assets can deliver increased and more detailed information to create new business insight and intelligence. Data collected by these meters, sensors, building systems and other connected devices provide real-time guidance for the decision-making process, and create ‘Smart Buildings’. This data also provides unprecedented insight into the workplace, helping to better understand how to truly measure and improve employee satisfaction and productivity.

For Real Estate and Facilities Management there are five potential areas of application for IoT technologies:

  • Experience of the users; e.g. Users will no longer have to reactively ask for things to be fixed, nor experience the disappointment of failing facilities.
  • Climate parameter sensing; e.g.Automatically adjust building systems to meet the needs of individual occupants within the space to create a healthy working environment based on readings from air quality sensors.
  • Consumption/connected metering; e.g. Insight into when and where possible waste takes place, to improve these activities.
  • Condition/electrical and mechanical parameter sensing; e.g. Monitor parameters of actual behaviour of many types of assets by measuring vibration, temperature, pressure, sound, production hours and so on. This way you can implement just-in-time operations for maintenance.
  • Demand/desk and space occupancy sensors; e.g. Detect true use states, not only to provide availability data to users but also to track actual use of facilities, detect and manage no-shows and analyse occupational patterns of workspaces and meeting rooms.

Here are just a few examples of how the Internet of Things can be used to create Smart Buildings. There are hundreds of ways to implement IoT in your office or building.

  1. Improve meeting room occupancy using sensor technology
  2. Create a healthier workplace with air quality sensors
  3. Increase building performance by using sensors to predict asset failures
  4. Reduce cleaning costs by measuring user behaviour
  5. Improve customer satisfaction through feedback buttons
  6. Gain insight into real-time space occupancy using desk sensors
  7. Enhance customer experience with digital assistants, such as Amazon Alexa, for making FM requests (link to new blog post once it goes live)
  8. Improve the employee experience with smart lighting or preferred temperatures (link to new blog post once it goes live)
  9. Improve data quality with automated data collection by using sensors for energy meters, mouse traps, or other devices
  10. Optimise parking space and enhance your guests’ parking experience using parking sensors

Building IoT and Integrated Workplace Management System

Unlocking new business value from the Internet of Things goes beyond connecting devices. It’s about gaining new (big) data-driven insights and driving actions from IoT data, enabling your business to deliver innovative services and make better decisions. Building IoT is mainly about enabling behaviour and not so much about technology. To keep building data from becoming overloaded, massive data acquisition and interaction must be actionable.  IWMS systems have created a link between building IoT components and management reporting tools within the IWMS platform. IWMS abstracts and analyses the massive building of IoT data to drive automated processes and analytics.

Smarter business with smart buildings

Learn more about the Internet of Things

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‘Internet of Things: from buzzword to opportunity'

For the last few years, the ‘Internet of Things’ and ‘Smart Buildings’ have both been buzzwords on everyone’s lips. Within the field of Facility and Real Estate Management, the discussion focuses on how to make the workplace more cost efficient, effective, and customer-oriented. 48:19 English

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White Papers

What is the added value of the Internet of Things for Real Estate and Facility Management?

The 'Internet of Things' is probably one of the most discussed phenomena these days. What is the added value of IoT for Real Estate and Facility Management?

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FAQ - How the Internet of Things is enhancing the workplace

This FAQ answers five questions for corporate real estate and facility managers who want to embrace the benefits of internet-connected assets.

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What to consider when selecting Internet of Things solutions for your building

The journey to IoT is different for every organisation. Don’t start with IoT for the technology, but instead start with the information you want to optimise and the business goals to be achieved. Because organisations can start utilising IoT from very different perspectives, the following principles are important in selecting Internet of Things solutions:

  • Simplicity: The onboarding and placing of sensors and other IoT devices must be easy, giving them a purpose in the system, adding rules and maintaining them easily to prevent them getting out of order.
  • Scalability: It is important that this new data stream does not lead to performance drops for the users of the IWMS system or the general IT network, despite thousands of sensors operating in real time.
  • Security: A thousand sensors can lead to a potential thousand security issues. By choosing the right network and sensors you can reduce this risk. For example; using non-IP based networks.
  • Speed: Today’s solutions are old tomorrow, so IWMS providers must keep up with the speed of the developments of today.
  • Diversity: There is an enormous diversity in type of technology and solutions around the portfolio of buildings. Think of elevators, escalators, HVAC’s, building management systems, smart bins, smart desks and so on.

LoRa to support the Internet of Things

One of the major developments in IoT networking is called LoRa. LoRa is an innovative networking technology that is becoming the industry accepted standard for wireless IoT data connections. With LoRa you create a completely separate IoT network in addition to existing data networks. IT networking professionals therefore do not need to provide specific access for IoT data over the business data networks, making installing and connecting via LoRa easy.


Waterschap Zuiderzeeland

Waterschap Zuiderzeeland is a Dutch water utility that manages the water, the dikes and the waste water processing plants in Flevoland, which was created from the struggle with water. Under the motto ‘Working Better Together’, the building serves as a meeting place for colleagues and partners, with flexible workplaces for everyone.

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Illinois Tech

Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech), a private, technology-focused research university in Chicago, IL originally selected and launched Planon Universe, an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) in April 2018.

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Michigan State University

Michigan State University has selected Planon’s Integrated Workplace Management System for their campus management.

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