Building Technology Trends for Property and Facility Managers

With 15 years experience in Facility Management and the head of Cisco Canada’s business development and services delivery for Cisco’s S+CRE consulting services, Andy Schonberger shares his insights into the latest building technology trends for property and facility managers.

Are you seeing a trend where property managers and facility managers are starting to invest in innovative building technology to transform their buildings into smarter, higher performance and intelligent spaces?

Yes. This trend is simply a matter of doing their best to maintain the net operating income of a property, and technology has become an enabler of this bottom line.  A big reason for this is that the price point of various technologies and the cost to get at system data has decreased over time, while demand for technology enabled flexibility and experience has increased. For example, I can change the temperature of my house from anywhere in the world, but I have to call the building engineer to tweak a setpoint in a meeting room? Consumer technology, expectations and our ubiquitous connectivity via smartphone or laptop is driving new expectations of occupiers.

What are some of the areas property managers and owners are focusing on when converting conventional properties into sustainable, energy efficient, safe and high performing assets?

The primary focus that I am seeing is on the control of operational costs.  Access and analysis of the data being gathered by the BAS, metering, lighting, access control, CCTV and wireless systems to gain insight into the buildings’ performance that goes beyond simple alarming and reporting. Use of this data to see trends in the space, like simultaneous heating and cooling, or signs that a CO2 sensor is out of calibration, drives energy, cost and environmental savings while also maintaining a comfortable, productive space for occupants.

What are some of the latest technologies and benefits in the market today?

First, software is one of the biggest game changers that can layer onto existing systems to drive cost out of operations.  Fault Detection Diagnostics and visualization tools that go beyond simple dashboarding to provide prioritized action lists for operations are powerful tools.

Second, we see network connected lighting, powered and communicated via the network, as a real enabler. Network connected lighting is cheaper to install than line voltage LED systems, but still offers all the energy savings benefits of LED and a platform for advanced sensing and healthier spaces. Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) lighting is really going to enable the next generation of digital experience in spaces. Cisco calls this solution the Digital Ceiling.

How are some of these new technologies improving the tenant experience?

Fault Detection Software improves tenant thermal comfort and keeps tenant real estate mangers happy that their operations costs are being well managed.  This same data source makes it easier to report, track and plan sustainability goals, while providing additional insight and strategy guidance.

The Digital Ceiling is really a platform to offer both additional operational efficiency as well as improved occupant experience. For example, LED lights that are tuned to match circadian rhythms, changing colour temperature throughout the day to match natural human cycles, while also offering individual preference settings and overrides have a direct connection to productivity in the space.

When looking at making an older building more competitive in the market, what are some of the technologies that can do this?

Retrofits are really the elephant in the real estate room. Many retrofit projects can be the start to this digital experience offering. For example, a CCTV retrofit will require an Internet Protocol (IP)-based network to power and connect the cameras. The same can be said of access controls, WiFi, digital signage, and even whole BAS systems if specified correctly. We have seen that, given 2-3 systems upgrades, this digital connectivity is paid for with no premium, simply by reducing redundant wire, conduit, installation labour and network equipment.  Digital lighting is a real game changer simply because of the number of devices in our ceilings, all of which can now use the same communications and power infrastructure.  It takes time, business drivers and a view of the total experience to be offered in the space to put the total package in an existing asset.

Written by: Andy Schonberger, Business Development – Smart and Connected Real Estate, Cisco Systems Canada

Andy has 15 years’ experience in various Facilities Management (FM) roles, including large industrial construction projects, industrial, commercial office and major retail. For last the five years, Andy has participated on the Board of Directors with the Canada Green Building Council, sharing lessons learned from technology and business applications with leaders in the real estate industry, driving change across commercial real estate and supporting this industry shaping not-for-profit as Chair and Vice Chair of the Board. Andy’s active and applied projects driving smart and green buildings across Canada led to his interaction with Cisco and its Smart+Connected Real Estate (S+CRE) service. Andy now leads Cisco Canada’s business development and services delivery for Cisco’s S+CRE consulting services.

Interest(s): Property Date: March 22, 2016