Smart Buildings Make Smart Business

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Dan Probst - Jones Lang LaSallePosted by:
Dan Probst
Energy and Sustainability Services

I’m looking forward to the 2013 Building Energy Summit in Washington D.C. this week, where I’ll have the opportunity to talk about the ways technology is transforming property management and operations to enable energy efficiency, lower costs and greater power reliability.

The “next big thing” in our business goes by several names: “Machine to Machine” (M2M), “The Internet of Things”, and the “Industrial Internet” refer to very similar concepts that are shaping the future of real estate and facilities management.  New communication protocols combined with cloud-based analytics allow managed services providers to bring incredible efficiency to business processes.

I’m continually learning more about the incredible impact of these new technologies on the global business landscape, as shown in the Carbon War Room’s new report “Machine to Machine Technologies: Unlocking the Potential of a $1 Trillion Industry” as well as the recent Cleantech Forum in San Francisco. In both cases, my comments on technology in the buildings business dovetailed with complementary ideas from my peers in other business sectors.

The Carbon War Room report predicts that the M2M industry will grow by 23 percent annually over the next 10 years to nearly a $1 trillion industry by 2020.  An expensive venture? Not when you consider that these strategies will deliver cost efficiencies and increased revenues totaling $10 trillion to $15 trillion over the next 20 years. For comparison, that range rivals annual GDP in the U.S. today.

The report also predicts that the built environment will be one of four industries to be most impacted by M2M technology, along with energy production and transmission, transportation and agriculture.

JLL is on the leading edge of this new trend.  By partnering with Pacific Controls, we have developed and deployed the industry’s first smart building solution–IntelliCommand—that uses M2M technology to pull data from any existing building automation system, and then use cloud-based analytics to spot anomalies in energy use, provide continual commissioning by automatically adjusting settings in real-time, and alert facilities staff when an issue requires a maintenance or repair call.

Fine-tuning building systems and equipment in response to changes in weather, occupancy and equipment conditions has been shown to reduce energy consumption by 15 to 25 percent in buildings where it has been implemented.  By fully integrating the diagnostic process with work order management systems, IntelliCommand further streamlines the facility management process and provides a feedback loop for the system to learn more about how human actions affect equipment outcomes.

One thing that does not change is the need for top quality building operating engineers. Automation may appear to be “smart” but it is only as good as its programming. People—in the past, the present and the future—do the real thinking.

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