Commercial building automation may seem like a recent technological marvel, but it dates back about 100 years. In the 1920s, building managers in New York introduced analog electric controllers to regulate temperature and humidity in an office building. When digital electronics were introduced in the 1950s, commercial automation systems became more affordable and commonplace in urban settings.
In the 2020s, industrial Internet of things automation is transforming the way commercial IoT automation works in modern structures.
What Is Commercial IoT and Automation Technology?
The commercial Internet of Things (IoT) is the consumer-focused Internet of Things business application. It's the network of connected devices and systems that can communicate and exchange data with each other.
Internet-connected consumer devices like phones, home appliances, lighting, and security systems are common in homes. The same idea extends to the commercial business environment but with an insight into what IoT means for commercial grade. In short, there are different end goals in mind.
Through IoT technology and artificial intelligence tools, businesses can collect and analyze real-time data from their equipment and processes, and use it to make more informed decisions. This is an important facet of cutting-edge IoT.
IoT solutions can help businesses improve energy efficiency, reduce downtime, and increase productivity in commercial office buildings and other smart buildings. For example, embedded sensors in a physical structure can detect conditions like smoke, heat, gases, fire, water, chemical fumes, motion, pressure drops, etc.
Commercial IoT solutions can convert these signals into quality data for workers to see in real time, which can help them respond to building issues before they arise.
Commercial automation technology also allows businesses to let robotics and other machinery take over mundane, repetitive tasks like inventory management, data entry, and similar tasks. This reduces labor costs.
Using IoT technology, businesses can assign human workers to more value-added roles in which they can use strategy, insights, and human touch to fill a gap. This will help improve overall productivity and keep employed workers happier and more engaged with their work.
Overall, commercial IoT and automation can help businesses gain sharper insights from their operational data and make more intelligent decisions that can drive business success.
5 Benefits of Commercial IoT and Automation
1. Data That Can Fuel Your Supply Chain
Businesses that utilize commercial building automation in IoT will use their connected devices and sensors to collect data about a wide variety of business systems. This can be used to automate processes and improve the efficiency of supply chain management.
For example, businesses can use commercial IoT technology to monitor goods through their supply chain in real time. This data helps management track inventory levels, maintain a steady flow of products, and optimize operational efficiency.
Additionally, it can also be used to optimize routing and scheduling. Data can show indicators for tracking expiration dates of perishable goods and automatically reorder items when inventory levels reach a certain point. Overall, commercial IoT and automation are a very important part of today’s business management systems.
2. Helps Businesses Make Well-informed, Real-time Decisions
Commercial IoT can help businesses make well-informed, real-time decisions in several ways. One way is that commercial IoT provides the right kind of data points to monitor the movement of goods through a supply chain in real time. This gives managers at the plant, facility, or building the real-time alert to identify issues that may hinder the flow of products.
It can be used for routing and scheduling to help businesses improve the efficiency of their supply chain operations. With long-haul transportation and delivery vehicles in high demand, continually assessing the state of a business’s product delivery cycles is an important factor.
Another example is that data gained through commercial IoT technology can be used to monitor equipment conditions. Good information about equipment in a facility can help a team schedule maintenance at the right time. This will reduce downtime, lower building management costs, and improve the overall efficiency of operations.
3. Increases Building Efficiency
When a commercial office building incorporates commercial IoT and automation in its systems, it can make a tremendous difference in overall building operations. The real-time data that’s produced helps building managers gain better performance from the building's systems.
For instance, consider how IoT impacts commercial insurance coverage. Many commercial spaces operate on a runtime strategy, which is the period when energy consumption is at a high peak, and in full runtime mode. By using IoT solutions for HVAC systems, heat sensors, air conditioners, and similar energy-producing systems, building managers receive better insights into any inefficiencies in the system. The data helps facility managers or building managers determine when it’s time to lower energy consumption in lights, temperature, and air distribution throughout a facility.
4. Provides Better Access Control
Access control is an important part of commercial IoT. It refers to the protocols used by an organization to allow access to controls over certain parts of an operation.
For example, commercial IoT technology can monitor people's entry and exit from a building or other location. This gives businesses a record of who is accessing the facility and when. The data can then form the basis for developing procedural rules and policies to improve security and prevent unauthorized access. Think of any commercial building in New York City in 2002 — many implemented new monitoring methods after the 9/11 attacks.
Commercial IoT can also automate door locks, security controls, and other barriers to unauthorized access, which helps companies improve security.
5. Improves Your Workplace Safety
Improving workplace safety is a priority for many building engineers and facilities managers, so it makes sense that they would look to commercial IoT methods to help identify potential hazards and take action to mitigate them.
Commercial IoT technology can be programmed to monitor the equipment's condition and protect workers against any accidents if a machine goes past a certain maintenance schedule.
Data gleaned from IoT solutions can be used to oversee the workplace environment and reduce potential health effects that could harm workers. IoT technology can adjust ventilation systems to improve air quality, light quality, heat and cold limits, and more.
How Attune Can Help
If you work in the building industry as a commercial developer, facility engineer, building manager or similar role, you’ve seen how building control systems are advancing. Attune can help you create your own custom IoT platform with its hardware and software systems. Contact Attune today, and a rep will reach out to discuss your needs in depth.