Award-Winning Project: Sustainable Smart Building Innovation at Global Technology Company

Award-Winning Project: Sustainable Smart Building Innovation at Global Technology Company

Pippa Boothman
19. Jan 2021 | 9 min read

Award-Winning Project: Sustainable Smart Building Innovation at Global Technology Company

Internet of Things (IoT) technologies have disrupted the real estate and facilities management industry. Wireless IoT sensors help key stakeholders monitor and manage building assets regardless of when and where they are. Sensors also enable different functionalities that save costs, improve tenant comfort and wellbeing, and boost the properties’ environmental performance. These functionalities include: 

  • predictive maintenance
  • data-driven asset management
  • smart resource allocation
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) optimization functionalities. 

Because of these benefits, new construction projects now account for the installation of numerous sensors to empower state-of-the-art Building Management Systems (BMS). In legacy buildings, however, there is a need to digitally retrofit a proper set of sensors to allow for building intelligence. 

Deploying these sensors in one building is straightforward. But sometimes sensors must be installed across hundreds of buildings and thousands of assets. And that was the challenge we faced with our customer, a global technology company.

Along with our partner Infogrid, we deployed thousands of our sensors into hundreds of locations worldwide within a few weeks. Our customer quickly obtained data on temperature asset performance, space utilization, and water leaks, which brought early asset uptime and energy savings results. Because of this effort, the project was awarded a Verdantix Smart Building Innovation Award.

Read on to find out about the challenges our customer tackled, how Disruptive Technologies helped, and what made this project special.

Addressing Scalability Challenges During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We were recently confronted with the challenge of deploying our sensors on a very large scale. This was in the scope of a project for an important customer, a multinational technology giant. 

Our customer’s ultimate goal was to digitally transform its real estate to a technology-enabled sustainable workplace that economizes on maintenance and energy costs, promotes employee well-being, and performs well environmentally. 

We were already working with the customer to implement this giant digital transformation project before the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the outbreak, however, it became increasingly important to accelerate the project. COVID-19 introduced new working patterns (e.g., work from home at scale), which increased the importance of remote management of building assets and empty buildings.  

In practice, the project demanded the rapid integration and deployment of a complex set of different technologies. Sensor deployment, software development, project planning, and change management had to be coordinated and completed in a short timeframe and across multiple buildings worldwide.

Suggested reading: What Does Post-Covid Confidence Look Like?

Tackling The Challenge - How We Turned Hundreds of Buildings Smart in Just a Few Weeks

The company was able to rapidly deploy thousands of tiny wireless Disruptive Technologies sensors at an unprecedented scale. The sensors were placed into hundreds of locations worldwide across 4 continents. The project was completed within a few weeks. Successful record-time deployment was the result of quick and efficient collaboration. 

disruptive technologies various iot sensors

In the end, hundreds of locations were provided with sensors that reported data on temperature, humidity, usage, and water leaks. The deployed IoT solution harnesses this data to ensure efficient and sustainable operations, as well as safe and secure spaces for employees and customers. 

This digitization makes way for predictive maintenance, reduced time to repair assets, data-enriched asset management, greater energy efficiency, increased sustainability, improved resource planning, and allocation, and a rich set of employee wellbeing functionalities. 

Because of our speedy collaboration, our customer can now:

  • Remotely and proactively identify issues that could cause property and asset damage. This was made possible by sensing the status of assets, including information on temperature and humidity.
  • Ensure the health and proper operation of critical building infrastructures. Sensors can identify leaks, as well as abnormal temperature and humidity conditions.
  • Have visibility on property usage and occupancy to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption. Density monitoring and plant operations functionalities were deployed. 
  • Plan resources around space allocation and workplace maintenance personnel. Sensor counts and analytics were employed.
  • Automate alert notifications in case of problems. Facility managers, tenants, and other stakeholders get notifications in case of anomalies and act accordingly.
  • Monitor property vacancy due to COVID-19. Dynamic occupancy monitoring functionalities can derive insights on the changing work patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Monitor progress of Return-to-Work patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Occupancy maps of specific offices can reflect the rate of employees working at the office and how this rate changes over time.
  • Enhance employee experience while ensuring a healthy office environment thanks to the optimal configuration of temperature and HVAC parameters.
  • Safeguard security, privacy, and protection for corporate data and employees’ private data. Various network-level and application-level functionalities were implemented.

 

"
Deploying a few hundred sensors in a building is simple. Deploying several thousand sensors across the world in hundreds of different locations in the middle of a Pandemic is a different ball-game. Close collaboration, careful planning and a shared vision by all the parties involved made it possible to successfully accomplish the mission in record time.
"
Client quote

 

 

12 Tangible Sustainable Benefits in the Digitized Buildings 

The solution results in several business benefits, including: 

  • Ability to obtain a real-time, full remote overview of the status of its assets, including information on which assets need more attention (e.g., maintenance).  
  • Fast and dynamic adaptation to changing requirements such as needs for offices of specific sizes. This is particularly useful in the COVID19 era, where relevant requirements change in a short time.
  • Predictive maintenance of equipment, which facilitates the fixing of problems before major faults occur. This reduces equipment downtime and extends the useful life of building infrastructure.
  • Door status monitoring and optimized usage of space based on an understanding of door traffic.
  • Significant optimizations of cleaning services through washroom usage counting. Furthermore, the solution tracks space usage and enables demand-based cleaning. Specifically, cleaning takes place when and where is needed without wasting time or cleaning products.
  • Improved energy efficiency and sustainability, as the solution provides full visibility into temperature, occupancy, open doors and windows, building use, and water waste.
  • A significant boost of employee health and safety, based on proper visibility on space occupancy and the proper planning of cleaning tasks.
  • Prevention of building mishaps thanks to the use of humidity and water sensors that facilitate understanding of risks and timely reaction to emergencies.

disruptive technologies sustainability-1

Along with the above-listed general benefits, our customer has already seen some tangible valuable improvements.

Prevention of Equipment Failure

During a summer heatwave one data room reached a very high temperature. Thanks to the deployed solution the Facilities team was alerted and able to identify a failure in the AC system. In response to this failure, the team applied supplementary cooling. This averted a forced equipment shutdown, consequential downtime, and expensive hardware replacement.

Tangible Energy Savings

The deployed temperature sensors have helped monitor operations and ensure that the central AC was off in darkened buildings. This translated into reduced energy bills, improved operational efficiency, and reduced carbon emissions.

Operational Efficiency

Using indoor navigation apps, the staff can understand which assets (e.g., meeting rooms) are available in real-time. This saves significant amounts of wasted time that might have been spent when searching for space. 

Furthermore, the data can be used by the cleaning teams as part of a demand-based cleaning approach. Cleaning staff can focus efforts on assets that have been used instead of wasting.

Improved Workplace Experience

The solution provides one-touch ticketing, which allows staff to report workplace issues quickly and anonymously. This is particularly important for problematic assets that require consumables, like jammed printers or broken coffee machines. In such cases, our solution enables a much faster response to problems and therefore a better employee experience. 

The data produced by these reports is also used to pinpoint high failure devices. It is also used to identify changes that may be needed in the operational working patterns to prevent failures. 

What's Next?

The accelerated development of highly scalable facilities management and building intelligence solutions was beneficial not only for our customer. This project has helped both us and our solution partner to develop new efficiencies in the speed of integration and deployment of their solutions at scale. 

The record speed and ease of installation have also proved that Disruptive Technologies sensors, software, and services can accommodate stringent business and scalability requirements. We view this project as a starting point for more large-scale deployments that will bring the benefits of building intelligence to vast numbers of property managers worldwide.

Pippa Boothman

Pippa Boothman

Pippa is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Disruptive Technologies. She has 15+ years in global B2C and B2B marketing & sales, brand management & strategy, and business development within technology, apparel, and consumer goods. She holds a BA in sociology and criminology from Western University in Canada. Pippa is passionate about people, products, and the planet and she is an ardent advocate of fantastic customer service. Her best ideas come when she is reading, running, biking, traveling, talking to strangers, and doing headstands.

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