IoT delivering smart buildings and digital facilities management​

From connected office to smart building: Facilities Management reinvented

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Facilities Management companies face growing pressure to improve their estate efficiency, ensure operational continuity, and integrate legacy buildings and their systems with new facilities expansions. Accessing useful evidence-based data to make informed decisions has become increasingly difficult and unreliable, based either on haphazard manual readings or patchy point-in-time information from traditional Building Management Systems (BMS). 

IoT offers alternative mechanisms to make buildings more sustainable and productive. Simple, low-cost sensor devices provide valuable real-time contextualized data: this is a connected building. Actility enables building management companies to deliver various services using a common IoT enabler platform, providing LoRaWAN™  network server and software to manage public city-owned or private networks, under a unified, scalable, multipurpose IoT network infrastructure. 

IoT applications for Smart Buildings and Facility Management

  • EFFICIENT ENERGY MANAGEMENT
  • WATER LEAKAGE DETECTION
  • INDOOR ENVIRONMENT
  • STRUCTURAL HEALTH MONITORING
  • SMART BUILDINGS SECURITY
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IoT enabling energy-efficient buildings

Energy consumption represents a large part of the operating costs of a building. IoT technology is making it easier for buildings with the legacy infrastructure to save energy and improve their sustainability. For that purpose, the consumption of electricity, gas, and water must be recorded transparently, and LoRaWAN™ allows you to combine all energy-relevant areas for continuous monitoring and holistic analysis. Smart building energy management systems also use IoT devices to connect disparate heating, cooling, lighting, and fire safety systems to a central management application, highlight areas of high use and energy drifts and correct them. 

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CHALLENGES

Overconsumption and waste of energy represent a huge additional expense for all building operators. Research shows that commercial buildings waste up to 30 percent of the energy they use, so savings with a smart building energy management system can be significant. Legacy infrastructure can make it difficult to optimize energy use, so that using connected sensors becomes necessary. 

SOLUTIONS

Installing connected sub-metering systems with Actility providing the ideal IoT connectivity platform to manage the network and the sensors, working with partners’ dedicated applications for real-time consumption monitoring. LoRaWAN™ technology works as the better alternative to the wired networks due to its long-range, unique penetration capabilities, flexibility, easy operation & maintenance, and safe & reliable data transfer.

BENEFITS

Using software and hardware solutions based on LoRaWAN technology allows focussing on the energy-saving projects instead of the cabling. The smart Energy Management (EM) solution is used ensure continuous improvement of the energy useto identify energy efficiency policies or assess the efficiency of applied policies. Smart buildings using smart energy management will become more sustainable and operations less costly. 

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IoT putting water leaks under control

A great amount of water is being lost through leaks in the piping infrastructure. Water is becoming a scarce and expensive resource that needs to be monitored closely. Water leakage and meter reading represent two of the biggest operational costs for operators of buildings and facilities. Today, the IoT allows reducing the operational cost related to water leakage, by implementing a smart water infrastructure, comprised of sensors, gateways, automated meter readers and low-power LoRaWAN™ network.  

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CHALLENGES

Uncontrolled water losses due to pipe leaks under buildings and commercial facilities lead to dramatic utility operating costs and put pressure on water suppliers. Leaks reduce system reliability and may contribute to future pipe failures. For homes, water damage may be a major factor to drive consumers to put water sensors in the basement or sink. In some countries water can freeze in the pipes during winter, which could cause it to burst and result in water damage.

SOLUTIONS

LoRaWAN network provides excellent underground coverage and Actility provides the best IoT connectivity platform to manage the network and the sensors data. LoRaWAN™ sensors are placed on water pipes leading into homes, buildings, and facilities. They get activated when the pipe leaks or wake up periodically to detect the pipeline pressure, and send the information to the gateway and the application server, which may turn the tap to shut off the water and avoid flooding and damage to the property. 

BENEFITS

The IoT water leakage detection solution allows the property owners being notified before the pipe goes in danger of burst. Suitable prevention can be made accordingly to reduce unwanted damage or loss. The solution reduces utility operational expenses with precise detection of water leaks, reduce dramatically service costs as lower-power operation ensures many years of sensors battery life.

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IoT improving comfort by monitoring building environment

To make commercial and residential buildings healthy, safe and enjoyable for people to spend time in, building and facility operators have to monitor air quality, humidity, temperature, and even space occupation. Not only is it an IoT trend to use environmental sensors, but also an absolute necessity. LoRaWAN™-based sensor technology can be used in a wide variety of applications within a building. Is the humidity in the mall too high, are meeting rooms occupied and is the CO2 level in the office still within the normal range? Use connected sensors and you will have the answers.  

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CHALLENGES

Creating a comfortable and healthy ambiance inside buildings is very important for any human being. Indoor pollution can be very high and dangerous,  while humidity, noise or light brightness issues can be damageable to people’s activities. Assets and infrastructure can be damaged by inadequate conditions: higher humidity causes damages such as premature corrosion and mildew issues to the building equipment. All these parameters have to be under control.

SOLUTIONS

Placing LoRaWAN™-enabled sensors to get real-time monitoring of key parameters and environmental conditions in buildings: temperature, humidity, noise, CO2 level, luminosity, smoke presence, and people presence. The data from sensors allows automating the HVAC by triggering fresh air flow when temperatures meet certain thresholds.  LoRaWAN™ network provides excellent deep indoor coverage and Actility provides the best IoT connectivity platform. 

BENEFITS

Data coming from IoT sensors can be analyzed and used for the betterment of the conditions in the building. Proper alerts can be pushed forward to the building facility managers if the temperature or humidity inside a building exceeds or fall below the set threshold limit. By introducing environmental monitoring in smart buildings using IoT based automated controls, the use of energy on heating, ventilation, and lighting can be dropped as well. 

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Monitoring of building structure safety and integrity enabled by IoT

IoT allows an inexpensive and easy way of deploying Structure Health Monitoring system with LoRaWAN™ technology for monitoring a variety of safety indicators remotely and in real-time, including mechanical parameters (stress, displacement, deformation), physical (temperature, humidity) or chemical (pH, oxidation of metal). This data  allows detecting, locating and quantifying vulnerabilities early on (fatigue cracking, degradation of boundary conditions, etc.) thereby improving, the resilience of the critical infrastructure. 

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CHALLENGES

A wide range of infrastructure – old, new and even under construction – needs to be monitored for its state of health. Today, wiring solutions have a high cost, low productivity, and efficiency, since the deployment of thousands of cables is a labor intensive and time-consuming task; and also low flexibility because of having to deploy extra cables each time new sensors are added the system. An IoT Wireless Sensor Network is the obvious solution.

SOLUTIONS

Structural Health Monitoring IoT solution consists of various LoRaWAN-based IoT sensors, gateways, an IoT connectivity platform provided by Actility, and our partner’s data management platform allowing health assessment system through the appropriate analysis of information. Sensors on the walls and roof measure building surface wall crack growth, tilt and vibration. Soil moisture sensor can monitor water saturation at the building’s foundation. 

BENEFITS

With the IoT Structural Health Monitoring solutions, building safety and resource issues are properly addressed. LoRaWAN™ can cover the tallest skyscrapers and sprawling campuses, and is a very scalable solution. By eliminating the need for wiring of traditional systems, it allows the low cost of deployment and maintenance, high efficiency, since the installation of wireless sensor nodes is easy, and high flexibility, facilitated by the ease of updates, adding, removing and replacing nodes. 

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IoT making connected buildings secure

No building can be smart without the proper safety and security measures in place. Smart building providers stress the importance of integrating fire, security, intrusion and access control systems, as they are key components of a smart, connected building. Redundantly designed LoRaWAN™ systems based on connected IoT sensors can contribute significantly to creating a well-rehearsed alarm chain: by connecting doors and windows and emergency buttons, fire alarms, motion detection for passage calculation, and using tracking devices to locate and protect assets.

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CHALLENGES

Security-related issues in buildings include theft, intrusion and other situations where real-time monitoring is necessary, and it’s very costly to deploy a wired-based solution. As for moving people and assets location and protection – an efficient geolocation solution is needed.

 How building facility managers can get visibility on in-building security?

SOLUTIONS

Door/window sensors can be installed throughout the buildings to detect unauthorized openings, and motion sensors can detection people presence. When the sensor reports abnormal door or window activities in unoccupied rooms, the system can trigger an instant alert to the security guards.  LoRaWAN™ network allows excellent deep indoor coverage and Actility provides the best IoT connectivity platform. The technology can also be used in emergency buttons or wearable devices for the elderly. 

BENEFITS

LoRaWAN-based IoT security solutions allow ensuring buildings are secure, monitor against intruders, provide safety measures, provide disaster response measures, and account for the health and safety of workers/occupants. It also enables people and item location, restricted access control, and life care. IoT sensors and trackers provide the data for situational awareness and visibility enabling building facility manager to quickly react in the case of a safety issue. 

Discover our real-life Smart Building and Facility Management case studies and the latest Actility news !

Why LoRaWAN™ is ideal for Smart Building applications ?

Low network Total Cost of Ownership: LoRaWAN™ has the lowest cost for network infrastructure deployment and maintenance thanks to its high link budget, long range, good redundancy and ease for scaling densification. Cost-efficient IoT solution well-complementing legacy BMS

Flexibility in network deployment models: facility operators have the choice to either deploy their own private LoRaWAN networks or leverage existing public ones.  Flexible in-building deployment with only a few gateways needed, with no additional wiring or building infrastructure.

Advanced technical attributes:  very low-power bi-directional communications, deep indoor penetration through dense building materials and can work in a remote, harsh environment, high reliability of the network infrastructure and the sensors

Battery Life Optimization: LoRaWAN  sensors are optimized for a battery life of up to 15 years, and for transmission frequency, LoRaWAN offers one of the best options for mitigating battery life issues through network densification.

High security: the LoRaWAN specification uses 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithms to provide end-to-end encryption using two keys: one for the users, for protection of payload content; another for operators, for network authentication security. 

Fast-Growing Open Ecosystem of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs): cities have the flexibility to integrate devices from multiple vendors and benefit from interoperability at the network level.

Discover Actility videos on Smart Buildings and Facility Management:

Interested in Smart Buildings and Facility Management IoT solutions?

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You can buy an IoT solution like Waste Management and Water Level Monitoring  on Click & Go, our catalog of fully integrated solutions including devices, gateways, network subscription, and partner’s application

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You can buy sensors and other devices for your Building and Facility Management use cases off-the-shelf on ThingPark Market, the largest catalog of IoT devices and applications, powered by Actility

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If you are looking to deploy a network or implement custom Smart Building IoT solutions using our IoT connectivity platform, you can reach out to us through our contact form

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A wide variety of IoT use cases for buildings and facilities

Leveraging a dedicated long-range low-power network for IoT, like LoRaWAN, building management companies can connect a countless battery powered « things » gathering data from sensors for temperature, humidity, CO2, motion, door/window opening, parking occupancy, smart plugs etc. The data is fed to centralized intelligent systems to which can suggest improved operational procedures or automated intelligent building management.  Security or environmental sensors for water leakage, movement, door and contact activities, as well as humidity and temperature are the most popular ones deployed in smart homes and buildings. 

Demand Response and Energy Optimisation: connected devices can monitor the energy consumption inside buildings, but can also be used to remotely control dedicated energy storage systems such as large capacity batteries, cold storage rooms or water heating systems. Through LoRaWAN™ bi-directional connectivity, an operator can aggregate flexible energy capacity to disconnect power consuming systems at a granular level on demand, and artificially decrease the load on the supplying energy utilities. 

Applications for process optimization and predictive maintenance: building management companies can also benefit from a set of high-performance applications to help optimize operations, automate processes and manage the huge amount of data generated by a BMS IoT network. The fully integrated solution uses intelligent algorithms, advanced analytics and machine learning for process modeling, real-time control, and predictive maintenance operations. For example, the applications can be used to monitor connected assets like HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) systems and predict failures or the need for replacement parts.

Public or private networks for an easy-to-deploy and cost-effective solution

Actility enables building management companies to deliver various services using a common IoT enabler platform. Leveraging both public LoRaWAN™ networks supplied by mobile network operators and private networks which can be rapidly deployed on campus, Actility’s IoT network management platform breaks the silos between different proprietary systems, and facilitates the deployment, operation, and maintenance of smart buildings and facility management services. Apart from private home and buildings that require secure data protection in private networks, some remote workplaces are especially mentioned to often deploy private LoRaWAN networks.

A private LPWA network is cost-effective and easy to deploy thanks to long-range communication which allows extensive coverage of indoor and outdoor with relatively few gateways and allows having complete control of the network and data. For example, only 1 or 2 base stations are needed to provide complete coverage for a connected building, thus reducing the need for local repeaters or relays.

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Enterprise-grade LoRaWAN™ platform with best-in-class user experience and Actility’s market-leading technology. Easy to set up, operate and support. 

A large ecosystem with a wide set of industrial use cases fitting small to high-density deployment with the most suitable performance & economics based on a progressive pricing model. 

Fully flexible solution supporting multiple deployment requirements (SaaS or On-Premise), multiple ISM bands, multiple gateway vendors (outdoor or indoor) and multiple IoT application platforms (MS Azure, AWS, IBM, etc). 

End to End Secure solution from the device to the Application using LoRaWAN standard and Actility’s additional security features.  

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For large-scale public deployments by operators

The market leading, most complete, powerful and flexible multi-technology LPWA IoT Network platform. ThingPark Wireless is the preferred IoT network platform for Service Providers rolling out LPWA connectivity services, already powering over half of national LoRaWAN™ network deployments worldwide  

ThingPark Wireless is the heart of your IoT network, enabling secure connectivity, data flow, and management from sensors to cloud applications. ThingPark Wireless is modular, and scales easily, enabling Service Providers to monetize connectivity and accelerate the adoption of IoT solutions across multiple industries.