Welcome to the second blog of this series! In my first post, I exposed the challenges of multi-site facility management. Resources are limited, building automation controls often simple, and getting useful and actionable information out can be nearly impossible. As a result, almost a third of energy is often wasted and overall productivity suffers. For instance, most workers take significantly longer to complete a task if a room’s temperature isn’t right, according to a World Green Building Council study.
Cloud technology is trending
Traditionally, many small and medium-sized organizations had very little in the way of affordable and practical building management options. Fortunately, now there’s a solution and it revolves around Cloud-based technology. This trending technology allows companies to view and manage their entire enterprise of facilities in a centralized and consistent way. Yay! A nice win for multi-site facility managers – enabling improved savings and increased productivity.
The key is that by using the Cloud, you can outsource data storage, communication, and/or processing. With Cloud technology, products, services and solutions are delivered and consumed in real time over a network, IDC says. Cloud implementations come in different varieties: a public or multi-tenant, a private or single-tenant, or a mixed public-private hybrid configuration.
OK so, what does that really mean? It sounds as nebulous as the conglomerations of water vapor floating around in the sky. You know … clouds.
Well, the idea of Cloud technology is pretty concrete. Instead of purchasing and maintaining IT centers, you rent what you need when you need it. As a result, you can add or remove capacity and capabilities for a much lower cost and for much less work than is necessary with the traditional server farm approach.
Say you have a heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system that logs extensive data every five minutes. That information can be useful, but with such a system you can pile up gigabytes of data in no time. The traditional approach would mean building a server farm with enough storage and processing capacity to handle the load. Then you’d have to maintain it. On top of that, you’d have to deal with the networking and security issues.
Contrast that with the Cloud approach. You buy the processing and storage when you need it. Management and security are handled by the Cloud provider. So the challenge of that HVAC system can be solved for a lot less money and fewer hassles than would be the case for a traditional solution. Now, multiply that across as many systems and buildings that you manage and start to see how Cloud technology can help you cost-effectively meet the challenge of multi-site facility management.
To recap, a Cloud-based solution
- is easy to deploy – after all, the technology is out-sourced
- can collect and process data from anywhere and anytime
- can be delivered to a computer, phone, tablet or any other platform
- is easily scalable – expanding or shrinking as needed
Of course, the Cloud solution has to be well designed. It should, for instance, be able to grow without running into barriers, like slowing down a lot or even halting when the 10th or 100th system is added. If it is well architected, then data, like that from the HVAC system mentioned above, is sent to the Cloud, collected, combined, and delivered to decision makers. Adding more locations, even remote ones, is easy.
That’s what a solution should do: make things easier. By putting the power of the Cloud to work, you can now more easily attain this for your multi-site enterprise.
The third post in this series, “6 Benefits of a Cloud-Based Building Management System” (authored by my colleague, Shoumi Sen), dives deeper into what decision makers can do with building management system data and the resulting value of those capabilities. Or, catch the series from the start.
In the meantime, download this information-packed white paper, authored by the experts at Schneider Electric “Cloud-Based Building Management Systems for Multi-site Facilities“. And, as always, please feel free to share your thoughts on Cloud-based solutions for multi-site facility management below.