The role of IoT in Best Practices for Facilities Management in the Workplace

October 18, 2022

If you manage any kind of facility, whether it’s an office building, a warehouse, or a retail store, you know that there are a lot of things you have to manage effectively to keep things running smoothly. From maintenance and repairs to cleaning and security, there’s always something that needs your attention.

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Tracking these moving parts is hard but there are solutions available now that make it easier to follow everything and ensure that your building operates without problems or interruptions. Here are some top facilities management best practices along with tips on how IoT solutions can help

What is IoT?

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a term used to describe the growing network of physical devices that are connected to the internet. These devices can communicate with each other and share data, making them more efficient and easier to manage. In recent years, IoT has been increasingly adopted in facilities management as a way to more effectively monitor and control building systems.

Preventative Maintenance Programs

One of the best ways to save time and money on facility management is to implement a preventative maintenance program. This basically means that you proactively address potential issues before they have a chance to cause major problems. For example, rather than waiting for a pipe to burst before you call a plumber, you might have the plumbing system checked regularly to make sure everything is in good working order.

Preventative maintenance is a proactive approach to maintaining equipment and systems. Rather than waiting for something to break down, businesses proactively inspect and service their equipment on a regular basis. This helps to avoid unexpected downtime and keep costs down over the long term.

Not only does this save you from having to deal with unexpected (and often expensive) repairs, but it also helps you avoid disruptions in your business operations. Unexpected downtime can be costly, so it’s always better to err on the side of caution and take care of potential problems before they become actual problems.

The benefits of an effective preventive maintenance program:

* Reduced downtime: By detecting problems before they occur, businesses can minimize downtime and keep operations running smoothly. 

* Improved efficiency: The real-time data provided by IoT sensors can be used to optimize processes and eliminate wastefulness. 

* Cost savings: Fixing problems before they occur can help businesses avoid expensive emergency repairs as well as the lost revenue associated with downtime. 

How does IoT fit Into Preventative Maintenance?

By collecting data from sensors and devices, businesses can detect issues early and take steps to avoid costly downtime. 

IoT can play a role in preventative maintenance in two main ways. First, IoT sensors can be used to collect data about equipment performance. This data can be analyzed to identify patterns and trends that may indicate an upcoming issue. For example, if a sensor detects that a machine is vibrating more than usual, this could be an indication that a parts needs to be replaced before it fails completely

Second, businesses can use IoT devices to automate the preventative maintenance process. For example, a business might use an IoT-enabled smart workspace application to schedule equipment servicing based on usage data collected by sensors. This ensures that all equipment is serviced regularly without the need for manual intervention. 

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency in the workplace is a must for more than just financial reasons but remains a challenge for many facility managers. 

With such large spaces to monitor and so many people moving in and out the space, many facility managers settle for reaching general usage and efficiency goals without resorting to fundamental changes in the way office life is organized.   

A primary reason for this inability to focus on specific aspects of workplace organization when it comes to energy use is the lack of visibility into the details of how energy is consumed. Of course you can track usage month to month in the form of the utility bill but that tells you nothing about the workflows and patterns that drive energy usage in a particular space. 

Without detailed information about where and how energy is being used, it’s difficult to take steps that will have the desired effect of lowering costs where possible while still maintaining the level of comfort needed. 

How does IoT fit into Energy Efficiency?

Environmental sensors connected to a network can provide real-time and historical data that can inform better decision making on matters of energy use. 

Smart thermostats are one of the most popular applications of IoT in homes and businesses. By connecting to the internet, smart thermostats can automatically adjust to changing conditions to save energy. For example, if an office is unoccupied for the evening, a smart thermostat can be programmed to lower the temperature until someone comes back the next day.

Smart lighting is yet another way to use IoT for energy efficiency. By connecting your lights to the internet, you can program them to automatically turn on and off based on conditions like sunset and sunrise. You can also install occupancy sensors in common areas like bathrooms and break rooms so that the lights are only on when someone is actually using the space. 

Asset management

Asset management has become both more complex and more essential in recent years, mostly due to the number of tech deployments in modern buildings. With so many different components to consider – from HVAC systems and electrical equipment to furniture and fixtures – it can be tough to keep track of everything and ensure that it's all properly maintained.

Better documentation and sharing of information are the first steps towards better asset management. Not only do you need to keep track of what assets you have, but you also need to have detailed records on each item, including make, model, serial number, and purchase date. This information is crucial for managing warranties and service contracts, as well as ordering repairs, cleaning or replacement parts when necessary. 

Depending on the business context, compliance issues might be a time-consuming obligation related to asset management. In highly specific contexts with health and safety implications, compliance with regulatory measures can be mission-critical. 

How does IoT fit into Asset Management?

IoT can actually be quite beneficial in the asset management space. Among the most obvious benefits of using IoT in asset management is that it provides users with improved visibility into asset locations. There’s no need to waste time looking for a particular machine or device when their locations can be instantly determined, down to the room level. This is a great advantage in, for example, healthcare scenarios when time is of the essence

Instant location tracking also means instant inventory tracking. This is an extremely valuable insight when making purchasing decisions and helps to avoid the universally common problem of overpurchasing. 

This ability to find assets when you need them also results in more uptime for these assets, which in turn boosts the ROI on the resources spent on them. 

Desk, room management

This is a challenging area now, in the era of hybrid workspaces and irregular employee attendance. In an office space with common or shared areas, managing reservations has traditionally been done through often complex software or, at the other end, manually recorded notes.

Either way, reservations are still hard to manage, since the need often arises at the last moment anyway. The size of the group that needs space is hard to predict and often wrong in the end. Time is wasted by small groups looking for a place to meet. An unexpected surge of in-office workers on a particular day can result in more demand for workspaces than supply can meet. 

Ensuring that everyone has space when they need it — small meeting rooms, collaboration spaces, individual desks — is a core part of today’s expected occupant experience. Failure to do so results in frustration, inefficient use of time and discourages workers from coming into the office. 

How does IoT fit into Desk & Room Management?

With sensors that can detect occupancy, you can gain real-time insights into the availability of any space at any time. With or without reservations, all free and available meeting spaces can be identified with the touch of a button

It’s important to note that it is done without infringing on the privacy of anyone in the workspace. Occupants are detected by heat signatures, not anything that could identify them as individuals. 

Historical data on occupancy rates and “busier” spaces can be used to inform decisions about redesigning the office to better suit employee needs or adding the kinds of spaces that are particularly frequently used. 

Environmental conditions

Temperature, humidity and air quality all have an impact on the employee experience. When they move outside of acceptable parameters, the workspace becomes less comfortable and, in extreme cases, even dangerous to employee health

Taking corrective action is not easy in large, complex spaces without some kind of centralized management system that sends alerts when changes need to be made. Constant monitoring of environmental conditions is a must for making sure your building is comfortable for occupants.

Office spaces need an automated system for tracking the various metrics that are part of the office environment and keeping them within a “safe” range. 

How does IoT fit into Environmental conditions?

A network of connected sensors can help to deliver one of the most basic roles of any office space — a safe, comfortable working environment. 

When temperature, humidity or air quality fall outside of set parameters, alerts can be sent and corrective action taken. This means eliminating threats to health and preserving a physically comfortable space that enables optimum productivity. 

Better insights into your heating and air conditioning needs can result in both financial savings and a smaller carbon footprint thanks to lower energy use. 

IoT for facilities management provides a number of benefits over traditional methods of monitoring and managing buildings. With IoT, you can save money, improve comfort levels, and avoid costly repairs. 

If you’re dealing with these or other aspects of facility management, we can help. Just schedule a call with our team today at www.kontakt.io/contact-us and we will show you just how solutions from Kontakt.io can make dealing with these challenges much easier. 

You may also be interested in: What is hot desking.

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