Facility managers shoulder a seemingly endless array of critical responsibilities, such as the creation of energy savings, compliance with safety regulations, and upkeep of systems and operations. To achieve peak efficiency facility-wide – arguably one of the most important duties of the job – the building and its contents need to be monitored closely. Any deviation from the norm, like a spike in energy usage, can signal an issue and introduce unexpected maintenance expenses, product losses, and unplanned downtime.
How can you gain better insight into facility conditions in order to reduce downtime, failure incidents and increase energy efficiency?
Through the Industrial IoT (IIoT), a wireless network of smart sensors and connected devices which automatically captures data trends and anomalies, facility managers can gain rapid (and real-time) insight into potential opportunities, such as energy savings, as well as potential problems, such as leaks or machine behaviors that indicate a risk of unplanned downtime. Here are five things every facility manager should know about the what, why, and how of the IIoT:
1. Energy Savings Can Pave the Way to the Industrial IoT
Cost and perceived complexity are two commonly-cited obstacles for IIoT projects. Intelligent LED fixtures working in tandem with an intelligent lighting control application enable advanced, customizable lighting strategies like task tuning, progressive dimming, and daylight harvesting to help realize up to 90% in lighting-based energy savings while maintaining quality of light and employee safety. And some intelligent LED fixtures (or smart sensors that make standard fixtures intelligent) will actually instrument your facility with a scalable IIoT solution that delivers value well beyond lighting. Factor in the benefits of IIoT applications such as environmental or process monitoring, and your facility can be equipped with the means to collect and benchmark critical data, monitor utility usage, and minimize unplanned downtime, instrumented and financed on the back of a lighting project that can pay for itself within a few years.
2. There’s Value Beyond the Data
The facility data collected through the IIoT is essential to the value of the project, and invaluable to facility managers. But don’t overlook the value of how the data is collected. Many facility managers and their teams rely on the manual collection of critical data, which is a drain on productivity, introduces the opportunity for human error, and often relies on a pen and paper to record the information for future reference. With an IIoT solution such as SiteWorx, you can collect the same data automatically and free up team members from walking around with a clipboard to tackle other projects or opportunities. Additionally, all data is centralized within your SiteWorx Tune or SiteWorx Sense dashboard, so it’s easy to access, analyze, validate, and share.
3. The IIoT Means You Can Be Effective from Anywhere
Anyone reading this is probably (and painfully) familiar with a phone call in the middle of the night about a potential issue on location. Choose the right IIoT solution, and you’ll have rapid remote access to all sensor-sourced data from your laptop, smartphone, or tablet, allowing you to quickly review and confirm the necessary course of action. Through IIoT capabilities such as customizable alarms, you can also set parameters to receive SMS or email notifications. Say, for example, the temperature in a critical storage area needs to remain below 50 degrees – you don’t need to be on-site to know when the temperature is unexpectedly approaching the threshold, so you can dispatch someone on-site to investigate what may be an open door, or a much bigger issue. Which leads us to…
4. The IIoT Empowers Facility Managers to Be More Proactive
Facility management is, by nature, often reactive. Machines can be unpredictable, and things don’t go always go as planned, or designed. When that happens, the pressure is on to quickly diagnose the issue and find a fix. While not every issue can be identified in advance, industrial sensors, software, and the IIoT create opportunities to identify environmental or process anomalies early enough to get ahead of potential issues. Between customizable alarms and smart devices such as the SWN-WIO Wireless I/O module, you can equip virtually any piece of machinery to capture the data you need (such as vibration), understand when critical equipment may not be performing up to standards or expectations, and take preventative maintenance actions that can help you avoid expensive repairs or unplanned downtime.
5. You Can More Accurately and Efficiently Monitor W.A.G.E.S
Utilities such as water, air, gas, electricity, and steam (also known as W.A.G.E.S) are not only critical to facility operations, but a significant expense. Leakage or waste can add up to anywhere from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional annual expenses for a single facility, so there’s tremendous benefit in better understanding exactly when and where something like compressed air is being used (or lost). And with the ability to centralize data benchmarks for utility usage across multiple facilities, it’s easier to identify which lines, areas, or facilities are operating most efficiently so that repeatable best practices can be identified and more broadly implemented – to the benefit of the entire organization.
Learn more about how the IIoT and SiteWorx can bring efficiency to your facility: