The push to achieve intelligent buildings has been going on for many years. Yet, I feel we are still at the early stages of this movement. A lot has to do with just the general evolution of change, the current business climate, and how investors look at the way they want to leverage a smart building. And when I say leverage, I mean from the point of view of not looking at it solely as an asset and having it turnover and deliver value for investors, but looking at how the building is operated and the benefits it can actually deliver through its operational phases that will ultimately increase its value as well.
I think that evolution I mention above is really in its early or infant stages because it is so different and so new. We still have a way to go.
It is worth noting that there are various levels of smart building technology adoption, depending on the different types of buildings and whether they are new or being retrofitted. Even starting with just the simple concept of the control systems and how a building is operated and controlled, the biggest step has been the increased use of digital systems. This is certainly a good first step for having smart or intelligent buildings.
Remember buildings are comprised of a set of hard components and mechanical systems, and their performance degrades over time. So, it is important that these mechanical systems are upgraded and/or enabled to keep up with newer digital components to truly achieve the ideal goal of having a smart building that essentially thinks, acts, and breaths for itself.
But enabling the mechanical systems to be connected is not enough to achieve intelligent buildings. It is crucial to understand the value of the data that is being generated by the control systems. It also is very important to decide how that data is going to be used and how it is going to be made available for use to improve operations and tenant comfort. This, right now, is still the biggest challenge we are seeing at BuildingIQ.
Realistically speaking, the major change that needs to happen in our industry is for building owners/operators to have a holistic view of their buildings. Until the value of a holistic approach is realized, versus a short-term siloed approach to capital spending, smart building adoption will likely be stifled, and good capital will likely go underutilized.
Michael Nark is president & CEO at BuildingIQ. Michael has more than 30 years of experience in software and technology-enabled services. Prior to BuildingIQ he was president & CEO at Power Analytics, Prenova, and GEOCOMtms. He holds a B.S. in Engineering from Miami University.