While it can sound futuristic, the Internet of Things (IoT) is already here. In fact, according to the Planon 2022 Sustainable Buildings Survey, 65% of building owners have already implemented sensors. By 2025, market analysts predict there will be approximately 27 billion connected IoT devices, many of which will be deployed to support building operations and facility services such as controlling lighting, monitoring occupancy or identifying opportunities to improve equipment energy performance.

Although IoT devices are certainly becoming more common, building owners are not consistently turning the data they create into value. Just 13% of corporate real estate decision-makers say they are collecting data in realtime and leveraging advanced forms of analytics. What’s more, only 28% capture and report data on an ongoing basis.

While the current failure to capture the many benefits of IoT solutions in their entirety is a cause for alarm, it is also an opportunity. It presents a chance for facility service providers to unlock new business value from IoT by going beyond simply connecting devices. Instead, a facility service provider can create a holistic, customizable ecosystem that connects its customers, processes and employees.

Two sides of the same coin

It’s time to look at IoT through a slightly different lens. IoT solutions have been around for some time now but the technology is gaining more traction as deployments ramp up and costs start to fall. But a successful IoT deployment means more than simply installing lots of sensors in your building.

The most common approach to IoT doesn’t fully demonstrate what the technology can deliver. Often, building owners and service providers struggle to see beyond the installation of sensors. They may like the idea of implementing IoT as part of a smart building strategy but are left wondering how to turn all of this new-found data into actions that result in added value.

A good starting point is to view the digital and physical worlds as two sides of the same coin. This will enable the creation of networked and intelligent buildings and infrastructures, ensuring that the necessary data is always available at the right place and at the right time.

For example, using IoT-based facility services can begin with the implementation of use cases based on already installed sensors at customer facilities. These use cases could include smart cleaning services, where conference rooms, public toilets or general workspaces are cleaned based on the frequency or intensity of their use - as conveyed by IoT sensors. Many buildings already have an installed base of occupancy sensors that can be used as a starting point for this.

Other use cases for IoT solutions include predictive maintenance, where using existing sensors already embedded in equipment like HVAC systems can identify performance conditions that may lead to equipment breakdown in the future. Similarly, IoT can be a huge asset in terms of energy management, where energy use by different equipment can be monitored to identify opportunities for meeting ESG objectives.

It is also worth remembering that it is possible to install new sensors if the existing ones are not sufficient or do not provide satisfactory performance. The installed sensor base can then contribute to a reduction in implementation cost and the risk faced by facility service providers. The number of use cases are plentiful - real estate stakeholders just need to find them.

Say goodbye to siloed systems

At Planon, we believe that IoT cannot achieve its full potential through sensors alone. There must be greater people connectivity as well - between departments, offices, and all stakeholders. There must be an end to workplace silos. And the end is in sight with our IoT-enabled Facility Services Business Solution.

The IoT-enabled Planon solution supports you in deriving the most value from your IoT solutions and data. We do not provide sensors, we provide the infrastructure to connect sensors to a management database and put business logic over the top of that to create value, whether this is in support of a smart bathroom, collaboration space, or predictive maintenance. We create use cases that service providers can bring to customers to enhance the intelligence of their buildings.

With a flexible, use case-based IoT platform, service providers and building owners can start as small as they like but can continue to add different use cases to build up a truly smart building. A vision of an IoT-enabled building that delivers real business value is one that is composable, where organizations can combine data sources to create new solutions.

This vision of IoT is your opportunity for operational excellence. Smart asset management lets you strengthen your maintenance processes and strategy. Smart energy management supports your client’s decarbonization programme and emission reporting. And smart workplace experiences can be prioritized, leading to improvements in health, wellbeing and productivity.

Significant business value can be achieved if organizations take a new approach to IoT. They just need a platform that allows them to incorporate and connect IoT solutions at their own pace and to suit their own needs - whether they want a single smart HVAC system or a fully-fledged digital twin offering.

How IoT can transform your building - and your business

At Planon, we believe it’s time to rethink IoT deployments in the built environment. Our platform is based on data - not devices. This means you can choose technology partners to provide the devices you are comfortable with, while you rely on Planon to bring the business logic to connect your sensors in real time into valuable use cases. Because IoT isn’t just about sensors - it’s about identifying the right actions to create value from data.

Derrek Clarke, Solution Marketeer at Planon.

Derrek Clarke

Senior Solution Marketer

Derrek Clarke has over 15 years of experience in the building industry. Currently, he is a senior solution marketer at Planon responsible for the positioning of solutions for the facility service provider market.

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