talking quite a bit here lately about smart buildings, and how streams of data
from building monitoring systems can save impressive amounts of money. I wrote
about it in a recent
post, and you may have read about it in 88
acres, a fascinating blueprint for cities of the future that’s in place
today on our Redmond campus.
really exciting is seeing the convergence of smart building technology and
mobility. This is where things get interesting for city operations departments.
Suddenly the concept of a centralized control room is so 2012. Now building
engineers, operations managers, maintenance crews, field technicians—basically anyone
with a smart phone—can diagnose costly problems and start fixing them immediately,
from anywhere, anytime.
three examples of how mobile apps and smart-building technology can save you
time, money, and headaches.
1. Analyze this
Windows 8 app, MobileHMI from longtime Microsoft partner Iconics, pulls
data from building management systems, equipment control panels, utility
billing systems, and other sources. Load the app on a Windows 8 tablet, phone,
or laptop and you can view and analyze operations data anywhere.
The app’s built-in
analytics tell you how your
systems are running, and the Windows 8 touch UI makes it easy to navigate data streams across devices. So management, engineering,
and maintenance crews who need to keep building systems running efficiently can
do their work across devices, moving from desktop to tablet to phone and back.
For example, they might evaluate 100 faults on a PC, prioritize the faults and
trigger a work order from the field using their tablet, and get status alerts on
2. An ounce of prevention
building apps are ideal for conditional (or condition-based) maintenance, a
concept that’s well known in the private sector but may be new to city
operations centers. Every car owner knows how it works: a “check engine” light warns
you of an impending failure before things get really expensive. Just as
importantly, it helps you avoid doing repairs that aren’t needed.
talking about the scale of municipal buildings with expensive mechanical and
HVAC systems, condition-based maintenance becomes a vital cost-saver, allowing
you to address building problems precisely when they need to be addressed.
Smart building technology makes it possible, mobile apps make it practical.
3. Pinpoint diagnostics
meters, and monitors can alert you to the location of something as simple as a
damper that’s stuck open, or warn of a more serious situation like an
overheating a/c unit. Mobile apps like MobileHMI let field technicians scan a
QR tag with their smart phones so they correctly identify the equipment they
need to work on.
you’re standing on a rooftop of a large municipal building with multiple roof-top
HVAC systems that look essentially the same. Identifying the specific unit
that’s failing isn’t always easy. The QR tag makes it as simple as a snap,
identifying the equipment, its corresponding maintenance history, the current
work order, and more.
managers who may have millions of square feet of office space and other
facilities under their jurisdiction, this is all good news. Mobility is a
game-changer that allows operations staff—and the buildings they’re responsible
for—to operate at peak efficiency and save a lot of money along the way.
Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let
me know @Microsoft_Gov. Or
e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.