How to Implement IoT Technologies to Manage Smart Buildings | From Promise to Profit
Unknown: Hello everyone welcome to from promised a profit. In this series we're taking a closer look at AI and IoT use cases that are featured in the emerging tech top 10 list from the CompTIA emerging technology community. Our goal is to help IoT solution providers identify opportunities to implement these technologies in the real world today. I'm Kelly Henderson,
senior partner at buzz theory and vice chair of CompTIA is emerging technology community. We have a lot of great content coming up, so don't miss an episode, subscribe to the CompTIA connect channel on YouTube. In this episode, we'll be discussing how IoT technology is being used to make smart buildings and smart communities. Today, it's my pleasure to welcome Benson Chan, senior partner at strategy of things and also a member of CompTIA is IoT Advisory Council. Today,
we're going to spend some time talking about an IoT use case and how it helps solve a customer's problem. Welcome to the program, Benson. Hi, Kelly, thank you for having me here. And I'm excited to share. Yeah, we're super excited that you're here with us because we're going to talk about smart buildings.
First of all, how is IoT technology being used to manage and control systems within buildings and other structures? So yeah, and buildings are a lot of technology today. So you could say that IoT has been used, it's some form of better, but But yeah, we didn't call it IoT then. So you've got dedicated sensors. And these sensors were connected today, to
very dedicated applications, but they weren't necessarily tied to the internet as an example. But what we're seeing today is there's a whole nother set of technologies that's running off the IP network. And all sudden, you know, we've got this bridge between the the IT world, which is, you know, this backbone systems that run a lot of buildings today, as well as the operation systems that run the buildings, you have the elevators, the video cameras, the security systems, the H vac systems, and even automation systems, which typically haven't been run off these IT networks. So all of a sudden, you've got the sensors that come together. And I've said the running off technology, network, it Technology Network. Good now,
you know, now you've got IoT. So in some ways, buildings had a lot of sensors already. It's just, wow, as we migrate towards an IT network, you're starting to see what people call them that IoT networks. So are these the same sensors that you're
using Are you having to switch them out to create this more IoT type environment? In some ways, some of them are the same, some are different. So example, are video cameras. So in the past video cameras, were always part of a network now, not too not too distant past that they were running off their own networks. They didn't have to IT systems. But we're, we're caught at it. And PV convergence of cinema cameras, streams, and IP enable in the running off the Ethernet network, for example. So just want to see a little bit of convergence. But when you throw in IoT, upset and the
cloud, obviously, then you've taken all that video feeds, and you're running the video feed through an algorithm and may be used to algorithm to detect certain behaviors. So for example, whether people are in a location that they shouldn't be, whether they're maybe not social distancing, so you see a little bit of that. But what's different now is that you've got some of this algorithms in there, that's running food as existing video cameras, network. knobs. And, you know, it's, it's
a new application based on that. So it sounds like we're a lot of it's just how we're kind of crunching the data, how we're doing it, maybe it's more real time, maybe it's bigger data that we're crunching. Is that what you're saying? You know, I think it's a lot more a lot more than that. I think people do focus on the data aspects of it. And a lot of systems, they have collected data, they monitor the data, for example, and how elevator story or my h max systems are working. So they do that. But what's different is that often you're
collecting this data and you're combining with data from other sources where you might notice they have these, these systems with the sensors talk to each other. I've said you're collecting the data, you're pulling it, and you're then analyzing the entire data sets. Maybe for example, there's a lot of people here at this location. And you've got other sensors, okay for a lot of people, maybe they're doing some other things.
So that's kind of an example of something that we haven't had before. We've looked at things in cycles. We looked at it very individually, but our sense very different. So I create an example of IoT but we never thought about that. way would be like your, your, your mobile phone. So everybody has a mobile phone these days a smartphone. And unbeknown to a
lot of people, that smartphone, it's actually a sensor. So when you go into a building, for example, you connect to a Wi Fi network, what happens is when you connect to that Wi Fi network, that Wi Fi, access point becomes a sensitive source, it detects your mobile phone, and it collects all that data. And so now, if you were a facilities manager, you would say, oh, there's a lot of people that's in this particular section of a building, maybe it's a little too crowded, maybe, maybe I need to put in other services elsewhere around the building. So no one's
clustering around a certain part of the building. Or maybe, hey, there's a lot of people in this area based on their Wi Fi and cell phone signatures, maybe what I can do is I can put more services, I can put a digital signage here. So obviously, you're taking an existing it device, which you never thought of the sensor, it's enabled on your mobile phone, which is actually a sensor, and all sudden, you could do a lot of things with it, as you can know, where how people move around a building. You know, in a, in a case of an emergency, you'll know exactly where people are and where you need to help people evacuate. So that's a, that's an example of what you could do that you couldn't do before. So now, you collected this data, you can combine it with other data, you can look at the usage patterns of electric electricity usage, you can put sensors there, and then all sudden you say, oh, there's, there's not a lot of people here. So maybe I, maybe I turn
off the power in this area at this point in time. So those are things that you could do that you couldn't necessarily do before because the systems didn't talk to each other. So that's really interesting now that we're able to not only use things like maybe smart badges that are purpose built for tracking employees inside of the building, but also the cell phones for even visitors or other types of people inside the building. So maybe if you're in a big, I don't know, retail
environment or a museum or something I could see, you know, sensors really helping you to manage the flow of people or even the temperature in a room maybe something like that. Is that the type of thing that you're talking about? Yeah, yeah. So I think when you when you, when you look at a smart building, and I think people people get, as technologists, we get really excited about the technology. And we talk about smart buildings in the context of technology. But if you're a
building owner, or facilities manager, you care about what I call the experiences. So you want to be safe in the building, you want to be able to go and get the services that you want. You want to be healthy, right? So so there are certain experiences that you want, when you go into a building. And that's what ultimately tenants are asking for. So when you think about the technology here, you could use the technology to enhance those experiences. So an example of something like this would be, you know, when when the pandemic hit, a lot of buildings were shut down, and they slowly opened them up. And
when they did they reduce the number of people in the buildings as an example. So when you come into a building, you see signs everywhere, so you got to still feel this, you got to wear facemask. So all of a sudden, tenants safety became health became a top priority. And so
some people were doing was they took the existing camera network. And they use that to kind of detect whether people wearing a face mask, whether they were social distancing. And then what they do is they collect the data, and they said, Oh, you know, look like in this area, people weren't necessarily wearing a face mask long enough to the next day, I'm going to go and put more signage or put more prominent signage in that area. So that remind people to do that. Or you can go to that location. There's a lot of people in this area. So now you can say, Oh, maybe I need to put in some additional services for them, you know, maybe more water fountains or whatever that is, I told you, so you could do a lot of these things, but from a look at how the technology is being used is to enhance the visitor experience like the tenant experience. Yeah, that makes
sense. So we've been talking a little bit about some of the features and some of the outcomes. In this case, the outcome was a better experience for the people that are in the building. But when you're talking to I assume the IT manager, maybe it's the facilities manager, what kind of metrics are they really looking for with their smart building deployments? Do they are there specific things? It's just the experience overall, or is there something specific they're looking at? What kind of things do they measure? Yeah, it's a it's an interesting question. I mean, I think that in a smart building, You've got two groups that are kind of managing it, you've got the IT guys. And then you've got the operations, guys. And they don't talk to each other all the time, right? Because in the past, when you go into a building, we go into buildings, we go for school, we go to work, the IT network is essentially runs the yielded the things that you use everyday email or to servers. And so those things you don't necessarily associate with
within a building. So the operations guys not, don't touch that. Now, the operation side, they run the elevators, they run the h max systems, they run the security systems. So they run a lot of different systems. They don't necessarily the IT guys don't Don't touch those things. Could they're separate networks. But as things start to
come together, then people are starting to think, you know, what does this mean? Right? So when you say metrics and outcomes, depending on which group you talk to, they have a very different set of outcomes. So for the operations, guys, their thing is all about can I run this building more efficiently? Is the you know, this? Is my h max system working? At my Is it too hot or too cold? So they look at it from that perspective, on it side, they're like it is my network up. Because if it's not set up, then I'm gonna get all these angry calls. And so they're looking at, definitely,
but neither of them will call it a smart building technology, so so they don't necessarily buy smart building technology, they're buying certain things to get sort of things done, is my network up and more efficient? is, Are people using my Wi Fi access points to have enough access points? So as we look at these outcomes, and as these things start to converge their their, their metrics? Are? Am I doing this better? By doing them more efficiently? They're not necessarily calling it No, I have a smart building technology. I am getting an ROI from that. Either. They're looking at am I getting the reduced number of calls, but the rooms too hot or too cold? Am I not getting adequate ventilation? Or am I always my network down? So I think that's a lot of a common thing that we see is that people come in, and they offer these facilities, managers, IT managers smart building things. But they don't
call it that they don't know it by that. They may be deploying smart building technology, but they don't know it's a smart building technology. They're just saying, Oh, wait, this is a security system. This keeps people out where this, this allows people to go to these places where they should go. So
that's how they think about it. And they could do it more productively, that they can reduce the number of calls, and pick a save money doing it. That those are the things that they they they know what they care about. So that's how they kind of measure. Well, that makes sense. So now thinking about our audience, IT solution providers MSPs. If they're looking to get
into this space, smart buildings, it sort of seems like maybe it's not exactly. smart buildings isn't the space they're getting into. It's something else. So what kind of advice do you have for them and figuring out where they're going to specialize in this particular smart building? Ecosystem environment? So that's a interesting question. So one of the things that we tell people is that this was, like I said, there's two parts of a of a smart outing. There's the
technology portion of it portion, and there's operations portion. But when you think about the it portion, something that people overlook all the time is do the buildings have the right technology in place to support the smart building? Right, so all your IT networks capable of do they need to be modernized? Do you have enough access points are your servers up to date? So there's a whole modernization part of the IT infrastructure that a lot of these systems integrators and MSPs need to take advantage of, but they're not right, they're rushing into, hey, let me sell you the latest and greatest smart building technology. So there's an infrastructure opportunity that's right in front of us. And
I would say, in lab, a Class A buildings, they have pretty good technology, but you go to the Class B and Class C buildings going into that infrastructure needs to be really upgraded before they can even do anything smart for them to run a 24/7 video network. But you know, they really can upgrade their cabling systems, for example. So there's a lot of that low hanging fruit that that needs to be addressed. I think the second piece of advice is, you know, don't call it smart building technology. Yeah. Because the buyers at this point in time, they're not thinking that way.
So you're gonna have to look at what problems can I solve with it? And so when you go into Slavonic technology, they say, Oh, I already have a building automation system, so I don't need it. And they're not thinking what they need right now. So a lot of the facilities managers would have buyers for example, You know, in, in some parts of the country, like out here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the buildings are largely empty that you go to San Francisco, the vacancy rate, which I'll talk about, it's about 25%. So the 75% of the buildings are empty. And even once I've had people in there, they're not running at full occupancy. And so you come in, and so it's my building solution is, I'm not ready to buy it. I didn't get people back
into the buildings first. So for them, what they care about is, can I bring people back in a safe manner? Can I create a safe building? So that's top of mind, they have budget for that, as people are starting to come back, I'm talking to a company that was trying to bring people back in January, they're looking at how can I bring people back safely. And so this is a great time to turn around the building technology in a safe building technology, I say space technology. So what can you do? So maybe, for something like that you look for those applications. One example of application is using carbon dioxide sensors. Now, the idea is, as more and more people come into a room, you know, we are inhale, here, exhale, carbon dioxide, carbon nicely sensors as a way to detect co2 levels in a building.
And if the idea is that if the level is too high, the ventilation system kicks into exhaust that, that bad air. And so this is using IoT using smart on technologies, you could use co2 sensors to detect the methylation levels in the building and whether it's adequate or not. So those are things that people pay for it, those are the things that people care about, because it's top of mind. So there's a few things like that, that people care about, that they want to spend money on it right now, when you talk about smart building technologies, it's for a lot of people, it's still a long ways off. And that's a big chunk. There's a lot of technology there smart building, but you have to break it down to something very specific. So that's my second piece of advice is kind of focus on the things that are top of mind for them.
It's not necessarily a smart building technology, or not something they call smart technology. But they are understand that they have a particular problem, they need to address it. So those are the things. The third thing I would say is focus on the integration opportunity. There's a lot of technology in buildings, and they're running in silos, they don't talk to each other. So as a systems
integrator, that's the, that's another piece of low hanging fruit to go after. Because it's it's a it's a common problem. A lot of these technologies don't talk together when you when you talk about smart buildings. If they can't integrate into each other, they can't share data, then you don't really have a smart building. So that would be the
second, or the third piece of advice that I could give. Great. So so just to recap, we've got the initial infrastructure, upgrade opportunity. And then we have finding a problem that they need to have a solution to the one that you brought up the safe space safe building is a perfect example. And the third thing is helping them with integration issues. So really, there seems
to be quite a big opportunity here for MSPs in the, quote, smart building space, although we're not calling it. Anyway, that's awesome. So any last thoughts from you before we sign off? Yeah, I would say that, you know, the smart buildings journey. Yeah, you call that word correctly, it at the earliest stages, it was a lot of opportunities. There's no one set of technologies that make us building smart. There's a lot of different types of technologies involved. They got to work together. So if
you think about it, right, focus on what's important. Focus on the long journey. Like there's, there's no one's killer app, so to speak. for that. It just had to be ready. I think the other last thought is the buyers of smartphones, technology's been sapd. IT managers that you've worked with, right? So there, it could be the facilities, managers operation side of things. And that's a very different type of customer of
buyers that you have to work with. Now they run off the IT network, so you have to bring in the the IT managers, but it's a different set of buyers, there may be a very different knowledge and sophistication levels. And so you can do a lot of education, awareness. What you have to do, but you want to be in the smart buildings game. Yeah. That's what you have to do. Awesome. So first of all, educate yourself then you have the journey ahead to educate your customer as well. So that's it for this episode of from promise to profit. Thank you so much,
Benson for joining us and sharing your expertise. Thank you for having me here. Make sure to catch all the episodes in the from promise to profit series by subscribing to the CompTIA connect YouTube channel. And as you heard today, emerging technologies are becoming critical components in the modern work environment. Now's the time to learn more and start making connections that will drive your business forward. I also encourage you to keep the conversation going. Join CompTIA is M tech community
and our new Internet of Things technology interest group. I look forward to seeing you all there.