Utilising technology to enhance facilities management


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Jack Plunkett, Chief Technology Officer, IPVideo Corporation looks at multi-sensor technology to address safe and healthy facilities.

As Chief Technology Officer, what can you tell us about facilities?  

We are living in a data-hungry world where everyone expects instant information from their handheld devices and ease of use.

Consumers enjoy this experience in their personal lives and are now demanding the same in their workplaces.

Facilities are relying on the same technologies to provide better experiences for both staff and guests and manage costs.

Facilities managers must have a greater understanding of technology and how to meet these demands. 

Has there been a change in public attitudes towards facility safety since the pandemic? 

Absolutely! Everyone is more conscious about the air we breathe and the overall health of the spaces we are in.

Facilities have been looking for ways to bring back employees and guests and make them feel comfortable and trust they are safe.

What technology trends are you seeing on the facilities side?

Everything is moving to networked building automation/building management systems (BMS) and facilities managers are utilising multi-sensor technology to address foundational areas, giving them centralised data for managing and protecting sites and occupants.

For example, a facility can utilise a single PoE/Wi-Fi IoT multi-sensor that uses AI and machine learning to understand normal conditions, alert on changes/occupancy and make automatic adjustments through their BMS.

Multi-sensors integrated with current BMS and security systems are addressing all nine foundational areas of healthy buildings:

  1. Air quality – monitoring for VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to identify harmful chemicals in the air, allows facilities managers to choose supplies and building products with low chemical emissions to limit sources of VOCs. It also provides data visibility to unseen carbon dioxide, particulate and carbon monoxide levels in occupied spaces and will constantly measure for their presence and remove them from the air when necessary
  • Temperature – conducting regular maintenance and monitoring temperature in real time to prevent and resolve thermal comfort issues promptly and control costs based on occupancy
  • Humidity – monitor humidity in real time to prevent and resolve moisture issues promptly, including the identification and prevention of mold growth conditions. A multi-sensor with external Bluetooth or wired options can also connect to water leak sensors and pull that data in as well
  • Dust and particulates use high efficiency filters and clean surfaces regularly to limit dust and dirt accumulation, which are the vehicles on which viruses travel from person to person. A multi-sensor will give the particulate counts PM1, 2.5 & 10 micrometres to validate that filters are working properly and will give chemical readings to validate cleaning schedules
  • Noise – with machine learning, an IoT multi-sensor can determine normal noise levels within the location and monitor and alert to sound anomalies that can be attributed to a health or safety concern. It can also control indoor sources of noise such as mechanical equipment, office equipment and machinery
  • Occupancy – know when a space is occupied when it should or shouldn’t be, if there are too many people in a room, if there is abnormal behaviour of people clustering in a room location and how many people have used a room that requires servicing
  • Safety and security – common areas are safe to monitor with security cameras, however, many locations require privacy and occupants do not want to be under constant surveillance.  With sensor technology, facility managers are situationally aware through non-visual sensory technology which provides the tools for safe environments, such as a panic button and keyword emergency calls, aggression detection, occupancy and use of prohibited substances
  • Alert lighting – sensors can monitor lighting use for occupancy and provide visual alerts based on readings. Patterns and colours can be utilised to identify occupancy, indoor air quality safety and emergency alerts. They can also be used to direct occupants to safe paths of egress
  • Ventilation – multi-sensors allow for the monitoring of air conditions to meet or exceed local air ventilation rate guidelines. Automate through BMS to control indoor sources of odours, chemicals, carbon dioxide and other harmful gases that contribute to sick building syndrome

Are these multi-sensors cost-effective?  

Yes, however, you need to look at them differently than the single use sensors you are accustomed to.

These are computers in your ceiling and the cost can be associated with security cameras.

They do bring a ROI in energy, staff and resource management and have also been used for greater staff/guest satisfaction.   

About the Author

Jack Plunkett is the CTO of IPVideo Corporation, manufacturer of the HALO Smart Sensor/HALO 3C, one of the leading multi-sensor products on the market today.

1-ISJ- Utilising technology to enhance facilities management
Jack Plunkett, CTO, IPVideo Corporation

You can see demonstrations at International Security Expo in the UK on Stand B40. For more information, contact [email protected] or visit www.HaloDetect.com

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