The Internet of things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects (“things”) that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.


– “Internet of Things Global Standards Initiative”. ITU. Retrieved 26 June 2015 


In the built environment, this translates into sensors, controls and analytics.


While sensors are now a commodity item, with it being possible to monitor almost anything, many sensor manufacturers have their own dashboards, which often means that sensors are restricted in sending data only to their platform. 


As for controls and analytics platforms, they come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. Controls can consist of a broad variety of applications, the most frequent being BMS and SCADA systems, which provide manual and automated control and a range of analytics.


The main challenge for organisations wanting to exploit the value of the data that is being generated is that it is spread across multiple silos that do not interact, and different parts of the operation view their own specific systems.


So, how can the value of IoT be maximised?

To maximise the value of IoT, there needs to be an overarching analytics tool, that can dip into each silo, retrieving but not copying the data, to mix and mash the information to uncover the insights required to drive out wastage and increase return on investment.


Value can be extracted in a number of ways, such as bringing together information from the CRM on pipelines orders, coupling that procurement, and production identifying.


Much of preventative maintenance so far has been based on planning and reaction to issues as they arrive. IoT brings a completely new dimension to maintenance, as we can identify trends and move to more accurate predictive maintenance, as we gather more data we know when a thing is about to fail, meaning we can move real just in-time maintenance.


Another relevant impact is that by monitoring plant in real-time, complete with the capability of control, we remove the requirement of multiple site visits, so our resources can be utilised more cost effectivelyOther benefits of reducing site visits are cost savings in fuel, vehicles, insurance, possibly manpower and importantly emissions.  


Savings can be substantial, especially where there are remote locations or regular visits are the norm.


How are these generated?

Modern equipment has a raft of outputs where new sensors can be installed (don’t worry — Infraspeak has a broad range of these available for most applications).


By using specialist data brokering tools that collect data from multiple silos without copying all the whole lot into a new warehouse before mining, we can reduce costs and increase efficiency. 


Infraspeak’s Intelligent Maintenance Management Platform can gather information from all kinds of formats and software, which is then normalised and analysed in near real-time all from one platform, within Infraspeak.


In some instances control is required, again Infraspeak can bring the power of IoT to the built environment with all kinds of apps and integrations that provide advanced control functionality, enabling you to adjust set-points, activate plant and a broad range functions from anywhere in the world. Plus, you can get instant notifications on setpoint breach.


Again, all these features mean that inefficiencies can be driven out and operational costs reduced. Using IoT intelligently means smart building, smart operations, reduced costs and a greater return on investment on your assets.

Author: Jonathan Harlock