As I mentioned in my last blog focused around the first EcoXpert podcast episode on building analytics, I recently started a public podcast channel on energy in buildings with the objective of giving listeners the latest information about how technology is shaping the way we are using, designing, and controlling energy usage in buildings. Episode 2 of the EcoXpert podcast dives deep into how IoT will affect the workspace of the future.
In this episode, I had the opportunity to interview Chris Boettger from Cisco. With a vast amount of experience, originally in BMS and then AV and networking and now as Americas Workplace Experience Strategy for Webex Devices at Cisco, Chris gives amazing insight as to the potential future the way our buildings will be connected, operated and designed. With real life examples of both today and future use cases, Chris paints a picture of how the IT and OT worlds will potentially combine, to really start delivering IoT across our infrastructure.
To understand what IoT means in the real world, Chris gives us an example of how it might work in an office building. He describes the basics as devices that can be connected through a standard open IP network and remotely managed, monitored, and controlled over that network from a central server. In an office, these devices might include thermostats, humidistats, valve controllers, etc. These devices can alert the building management systems (BMS) which use artificial intelligence (AI) to take appropriate actions depending on the scenario. Chris describes the simple scenario of a 12-person meeting room that is booked for only 2 people. A Cisco device will detect that there are only 2 people present, alerting the BMS. Based on the AI, the building will know how to behave in terms of energy efficiency and compensate for the loading that only two people will give. Overall, the building has learned through its connected devices ways to be most economical and energy efficient.
Regarding future development, according to Chris, the deployment of technologies is rapidly accelerating already today. This is especially due to the savings businesses are seeing. Gartner announced that by 2022, IoT will save consumers and businesses $1 trillion a year in maintenance, services and consumables.
IoT world – Critical Power and Light & Room Control
I was also joined by both of my co-hosts, Kevin Morin and Dusan Janjic during this episode at the 2019 Schneider Electric Barcelona Innovation Summit to discuss how IoT is affecting them in Critical Power and Light & Room Control – both of which being badge certifications in the EcoXpert Partner Program. Kevin references how in the past electric metering was the focus of the power business, but the conversations have now shifted to focus around sensors, which provide much more insight than metering devices, and looking at how electrical data interacts with the building, industry, and process that’s effected. He emphasizes that IoT is driving demand for insight into power and a need for power. In Light & Room Control, Dusan is also seeing effects of IoT, specifically in two major changes: (1) the integration of multiple functionalities within a single device and (2) direct communication between smaller non-controlling devices.
The effects of IoT on EcoXperts
Chris weighs in on how an IoT world will affect the businesses of partners in the EcoXpert Partner Program. He mentions how the industries are coming together as things and systems are interlinked like power and controls. IoT provides EcoXpert business partners huge opportunities to expand their skills and knowledge. AI ensures users are informed, lowering the chance of downtime, where traditionally the problem is fixed by IT without informing the user. This is a great opportunity for EcoXpert partners because this is where all the systems start to interconnect. Partners have the additional benefit of buying all devices for a building from one place as well as needing less devices overall thanks to their adaptable capabilities and features.
IoT continues to greatly affect the design and energy use in buildings especially because of the appreciation of technology from later generations. Therefore, open connected devices and adaptability is key as we start looking to change, modernize, and adapt the way we do business and what is available to connect to.
Listen to the full Episode 2 to hear more about IoT networks like Wi-Fi 6, 5G, and more! Search “EcoXpert” on any listening app to listen or download for free and subscribe to the channel.