Data’s new dawn: understanding the power of building data in optimising performance

As we move through a time of major technological innovation, it becomes increasingly apparent that data is hugely important. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) analyst and writer Ron Schmelzer wrote in a 2020 Forbes article (1), “data can be reused, repurposed, and new insights can continue to be gleaned from old data. In the information economy, data is the byproduct of our advancement."

This can certainly be said of building systems, where the quantity and quality of data that can be gathered and accessed is improving all the time. Underpinned by open standards, it’s now relatively easy to put together an infrastructure in which building technologies and controllers are tightly integrated – allowing extensive data to be extracted. This trend has reached its culmination in the latest generation of building management systems (BMS), such as our own Priva Blue ID.

"Recent advances in technology have made it easier to collect data in order to improve the effectiveness of building systems. Correctly utilised, this data can deliver significant improvements in wellbeing", writes Priva France sales manager Thierry Colignon.

Although information on current performance is obviously valuable, a good BMS can be a data hub for past, present and future. For instance, collecting and analysing historical data can allow building managers to identify areas of concern and points for improvement – not least in terms of energy that is being used unnecessarily. These findings can lead not only to specific improvements in one building – they can end up influencing a company’s entire approach across multiple sites.

With organisations everywhere needing to do all they can to reduce their carbon footprints, these kind of changes can have a profound impact.

Making the most of data

Priva’s response to this trend has been to integrate data-driven action evermore tightly into its systems. The ecoBuilding technology – which is now overseen by our recently launched Priva Lab for Innovation (Lin) – is a case in point. Providing an intelligent layer of cloud-based software that sits on top of an existing BMS, ecoBuilding utilises digital twin and AI technology. By optimising data as part a process that stresses continual improvements, ecoBuilding can make adjustments in line with operational changes and shifting energy prices.

Our commitment to using data to improve performance and make the world more sustainable can also be observed in our Building Maintenance Services, which allow users to track and manage performance, and respond to specific problems – such as those raised by pre-determined alarms. Priva’s BMS packages also make it easy for users to access and visualise historical data anywhere and anytime, via an Historical Data API.

There is no doubt that the cloud is a great enabler here. By basing your cloud activities on a leading platform – in our case, Microsoft Azure – it is easier than ever to store huge amounts of data and access it remotely. Of course, the ability to access and adjust building systems has become even more important during the last 12 months – and that is sure to continue in the new era of hybrid working.

As exciting as recent developments have been, it’s arguable that we are only in the early stages of the data revolution. Over the next few years, the combination of cloud and Edge computing will mean a big increase in the ability to collect and process data from multiple sources. At Priva, we will be looking to use these technologies – along with processes powered by AI and ML – to make it even easier for companies and building managers to improve the performance of their facilities.

Ultimately, more effective use of data means improved decision-making, leading to increased building performance and employee wellbeing. At a time when the function of buildings in our lives is facing fresh scrutiny, that has all the potential of being of a real game-changer.

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Source:
1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2020/02/06/unleashing-the-real-power-of-data/?sh=3cc0cbf2389d