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TECH FOR 2020: INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT)

Author: Richard Snarey

Published date: 2019/12

Io T

​IoT-enabled systems can effectively run a facility through technology that interacts without the need for human supervision. Such systems possess both the digital strategy and the power to make decisions based on their cloud-based analytics. 

Although IoT is still viewed as tomorrow’s technology, in 2020 and beyond, we’re set to see more IoT-enabled buildings. So, we know what IoT is, and how it works, but in what areas can it be applied? Here, we take a look at some working examples of how IoT is used in today’s commercial buildings and the results it can deliver. 

Smart Locks

Never again do you need to worry about having a set of keys to open and lock different areas of a building each morning and night. Smart locks automatically unlock doors when you get there and lock them again when you leave. Where it gets really smart is in remotely granting guest access to a property, which is useful when you need to allow short-term access to external workers like maintenance engineers or cleaning staff. Usually done through a smartphone app or security keypads, smart locks enhance security protocols for large organisations and those housing sensitive data. 

Smart Thermostats

These devices control workplace temperature through a mobile device or, more commonly, through sensors that measure outside temperature and occupancy levels, adjusting accordingly. Reporting is crucial here, with thermostats giving real-time information such as the time of the day where the most energy is used, required heat per room and historic data on consumption to help facilities managers explore ways to make the building more efficient. Truly smart heating systems can also help to identify issues, e.g. maybe a window in a particular room isn’t insulated properly, or a south-facing office is getting too much sunlight during the day. 

Vehicle Trackers

Perhaps the most widely-recognised and applied technology are vehicle trackers which have been used for several years to help manage large fleets. Where IoT plays a role is through integrating with stock ordering systems, accessing vital information such as road conditions, weather and traffic and ensuring all vehicles are working properly by setting alerts for maintenance, wear and tear of tyres and deviations in temperature. 

Smart Parking

Governments, working in conjunction with private industry, are developing a range of IoT solutions to provide better services to the public. One of the best examples is smart parking, where devices are used to help drivers find free spaces. Impervious to weather, these sensors can last for up to 10 years and have a range of several kilometres. Once installed, drivers use a smartphone app to communicate with them to find a free parking spot. As well as helping people park, the data this technology gathers can be used to improve city planning. 

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