By Marcus Judge, Director of IT at Kohler Co EMEA
When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), most people think about being connected in terms of computers, tablets and smartphones. But the IoT is much more than that. The IoT describes a world where just about anything can be connected and communicated with in an intelligent way. And it has the potential to make huge advancements in the facilities management sector.
IoT technologies have enormous potential to improve the operation of buildings by providing data on areas such as water and energy efficiency, infection control and other operational requirements. There is also potential for tasks to become automated and for maintenance to be more accurately targeted and planned.
So, what does this mean for water controls?
Let’s consider infection control measures and the campaign to encourage handwashing to combat Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAIs) – a key focus for the NHS – as an example. IoT technologies will make regimes like this significantly more successful, not by just measuring hand-washing, but also by actively tracking the success of any control programme across different medical and care facilities. This will involve water controls and taps, of course, but also other sensors and smart devices that will monitor best practice. As new technologies are introduced, they will be able to measure adoption and identify areas of success across the health and care estate and suggest areas for improvement to management teams.
It is our view that facilities teams are best placed to capitalise on the power of IoT technologies by using technology and the data that it captures to create more dynamic, enhanced and intelligent buildings.
The wholesale adoption of IoT technologies across the facilities management sector is at the early stages, but several factors are coming together that will see this accelerate:
- The networks to support this technology are here now. Connectivity speed is improving all the time, and Narrowband-IoT, a technology specifically developed for IoT, is also being rolled out in the UK.
- The government sees IoT as a key area of growth for the UK’s digital economy and has taken steps – including an investment of over £40 million – to push development forward.
- There’s a drive for efficiency and resource optimisation, both with staff, materials and energy and water consumption. The IoT has vast potential to achieve massive resource efficiencies.
- The government, in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre, has delivered its Secure by Design report, which sets out how it will work with industry to develop a new code of practice that will ensure security is embedded in the product development process.
At Rada, it is our belief that the conditions for IoT to be embraced in the facilities management sector are here. It is only a matter of time before we start to see the wide-ranging benefits that these technologies will offer.
If you would like any more information, feel free to get in touch.