Smart buildings use the Internet of Things (IoT) plus artificial intelligence (AI) to increase productivity. This emerging mega trend that will reshape how businesses make money. These technologies are an emerging focus for a majority of businesses. For example, a Vodafone survey found 63% of surveyed businesses planned to implement IoT technologies within the next year.
Building operations is where most businesses begin their focus on smart building technologies. Today’s next generation LED lighting systems integrate AI and IoT to lower costs and reduce emissions while also enhancing the human experience. These “autonomous” lighting systems do things like adjust, or even turn off, the lights by windows during daylight hours while maintaining light levels for locations further removed from windows.
But the real future for smart buildings is to disruptively move beyond building operations and into business transformation. Already retailer are experimenting with “spotlighting” where a customer is recognized by a smart building and then engaged through the customer’s wearables, smart phone or in-store visual displays.
Five Ways Smart Buildings Will Grow Profits
Here are five ways your business will profit from smart buildings:
- Lower Costs. The future of smart buildings is to price arbitrage between utility prices and alternative solutions. For example, smart buildings will price arbitrage between the utility’s prices or the cost of self generating from onsite solar or cogeneration power systems. They will buy lower priced electricity, store it in onsite batteries and then use this electricity during high utility price periods. Smart buildings will also use load management technologies like light dimming, thermostat adjustments or automated window screening to lower both costs and emissions. These cost savings will be harvested while still fulfilling comfort targets at the individual work associate level.
- Sales. This is the disruptive mega trend on the horizon. Imagine driving up to a convenience store for gasoline and having the pump recognize you. It will automatically select the type of gasoline for the car you are driving. While you pump your gas the smart building will display on the pump or on your smart phone a promotional opportunity for products that you have purchased in the past. It will probably ask, “Would you like to add a MegaMillions quick pick to your purchase?” Smart buildings will create new sales paths for retaining existing customers and winning new ones.
- Productivity. Imagine a building that knows your work associates and contractors. These buildings will track and measure work associate behaviors to identify issues tied to safety and performance. They will recognize vendors and then process them to their assigned locations for meetings or delivery. The smart building will be a seamless communication hub across digital devices to enable onsite engagement and productivity.
- Reducing risks. Smart buildings will be safer and healthier buildings. Imagine a medical emergency where the smart building can recognize the situation based on data from the individual’s wearables. It will then use its lighting system and voice commands to guide EMS personal to the stricken individual. Imagine a building that can identify an individual with a gun walking toward the building. It would alert building security while also autonomously securing building entry points. Imagine a building that senses a severe storm and shepherds inhabitants through voice commands/visual signals to in-building shelter. The examples are limitless on how smart buildings will reduce business risks and related cost exposure.
- Sustainability. Buildings account for 39% of global warming emissions. The public policy trend toward mitigating carbon emissions through regulations and taxes is a growing business issue. Smart buildings are a major technology solution. Smart buildings can not only optimize for cost but also for emissions. They will be a key technology in reducing compliance costs as governments increasing implement building codes and taxes to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.
Smart Building Tech Is A CEO Issue
Imagine your building being operated by Apple or Amazon. What would that mean in terms winning customers? Is this a competitive threat or transformative opportunity for winning customers? Questions like these have made smart buildings a CEO issue.
For decades building management was an operational function focused on equipment located in the basement, in the ceiling or on the roof. Its principal focus was to lower costs while maintaining targeted human comfort levels.
AI and IoT will transform building operations into an enterprise scale activity demanding engagement by marketing, sales, HR, legal, etc. It will move building operations from the basement to the board room because the potential of smart buildings is not to do things better. The potential of smart buildings is to transform business. It will create disruptive paths for defining competitive advantage based on a building’s ability to seamlessly engage people, technology and artificial intelligence. Smart building’s potential for disruptive change makes it a CEO issue.
About the author
Bill Roth is the author of The Boomer Generation Diet, now on sale at Amazon! Here’s what Jen Boynton, Editor in Chief of Triple Pundit says about the book: ”Written in Bill Roth’s lovable, relatable tone. The Boomer Generation Diet is a must-read for any Boomer who is looking to jumpstart their health and have fun at the same time. I hope my parents read it!” Follow Bill on Twitter and Facebook.