Smarter buildings make for better sustainability and the wellbeing of occupants.

The number of internet of things (IoT) connected devices worldwide is on a steady incline and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. Statista reports that IoT devices worldwide are expected to triple in 10 years. The number is projected to grow from 9.7 billion in 2020 to over 29 billion in 2030.

IoT devices touch every industry. From agriculture and healthcare to sustainability, supply chain, and more, the IoT drives transformation, enabling each industry to become smarter, safer, and more efficient. This is especially relevant for smart buildings, an industry that hinges on the efficient use of limited resources like space and energy.

Let’s look at how low power, long range IoT sensors are revolutionizing the smart building industry. 

The IoT-enabled smart building 

Homeowners, property managers, and facility managers can deploy low power, long range solutions to achieve a variety of benefits. IoT-based solutions allow building managers to track and automate everything from utilities to air quality, occupancy, and energy use. By offering greater visibility into processes, smart sensors contribute to increased safety and streamlined operations.

These are attractive qualities to current tenants and employees. Property managers and recruiters can also showcase smart building elements to prospective residents who may be used to automation and have expectations for smart working and living environments. Younger generations who are used to digitalization are beginning to take over the workforce and move out into the real world. It’s crucial for building owners to make their buildings stand out among the rest.

Easy install, deep-reaching signal

Most buildings were not built with smart solutions in mind, so integrating large hardware systems can be time-consuming and expensive. IoT devices with built-in low power wide area networks (or LPWANs) are ideal for building environments since they can run on battery power and the signal can penetrate dense building materials.

Integrating a system based on low power, long range IoT devices is easy for facility managers: they are cost-effective and can be installed easily, minimizing disruption for tenants. This is because they are not hardwired solutions: battery-powered and long-lasting, each sensor takes just a few minutes to install, as compared to wired solutions that require a more arduous process.

A long battery life has benefits beyond easy installation and maintenance. With ultra-low power consumption, they don’t have to be plugged in all the time or need frequent battery replacements. This is great for minimizing time spent changing batteries. The long battery life is also critical for return on investment (ROI).

It’s also important for building owners to consider that signals need to reach deep within buildings. This could be the basement or other hard-to-reach areas where many smart building operations may be located. Another benefit of smart solutions is the ability for them to be on a completely private network. This means there is no need for a contract with a network operator and no need to coordinate with corporate IT infrastructure. This adds to the fast and easy installation process that these sensors are known for.

Case Study: Smart sensors in action

Two organizations that have made great strides in the smart building industry are Intent Technologies, a leading service platform for smart properties, and Nexity Group, a French real estate services provider. The two are working together to integrate long range, low power devices into the Intent Platform.

The goal is to optimize performance, improve quality of service, and reduce the carbon footprint in residential and commercial properties. The groups have already seen a 10% savings in building operational costs. They also span over 1.2 million residential units and over 6 million square meters of offices. The platform works by giving building managers and real estate professionals a holistic view of the facility. This makes it easy to see operational shortcomings, helping improve operating performance.

The smart sensors exchange data with over 180 service suppliers and digital software vendors. All the data is then displayed on a dashboard. From there, the sensors can notify the property managers of any inefficiencies, all on a single Cloud platform. 

Case Study: AI-driven HVAC

Nordic Propeye, an IoT solutions provider, is leveraging low power, long range solutions to optimize building management systems. Their goal is to help customers make their buildings sustainable and clean. Nordic Propeye integrates low power, long range sensors into their HVAC optimization solution to reduce energy consumption, using an AI-driven platform to make automatic adjustments.

The result is a solution that achieves 15-30% energy savings for the organization’s European customers. The wireless sensors track in-building environmental conditions, including CO2 levels, temperature, humidity, and real-time room occupancy. Once a rapid change is detected, the solution sends a signal to the HVAC systems. The systems can then adjust for the shift or notify building operators if an irregularity in the system is detected.

The Nordic Propeye solution incorporates artificial intelligence to predict the temperatures or temperature changes in the HVAC zones. This predictive maintenance and operations feature keeps occupants safe and energy use efficient. It also lets building managers prevent equipment failures, saving time and money.

Case Study: Air quality monitoring

IQnexus, a building automation IoT solutions provider in New Zealand, integrated low power, long range smart sensors into its Indoor Air (IAQ) and Environment Quality (IEQ) solutions. Battery-powered and long-range, these smart sensor solutions are easily integrated into the existing platforms and structures.

Air quality is vital for creating a safe environment for occupants, while real-time monitoring is crucial to inform decision-making. As conditions change, occupants and building managers can make adjustments before measurements drop to an unsafe level.

IQnexus’ solutions also keep building owners compliant with the WELL and RESET standards. These key standards encourage the prioritization of the health and safety of residents. Improved air quality enhances the quality of life for many, and contributes to making the world a smarter, better place.

Building a better tomorrow

Smarter buildings make for better sustainability and the wellbeing of occupants. Building owners and managers can achieve these goals through the combination of the IoT and smart sensor technologies. With greater insight into utilities, operations, air quality, and more, building owners can make informed decisions that benefit all.

The smart building landscape will continue to grow and transform, and low power, long range solutions offer a cost effective, easy to deploy solution that will grow with it. It will be exciting to see how smart sensors will continue to revolutionize the smart building industry.