How the Internet of Things brings smart buildings alive

IoT use cases like smart lighting and temperature sensing create efficiencies for building owners

The internet of things (IoT) is the subject of massive amounts of hype, and hope, in the telecommunications industry with projections forecasting billions of formerly static objects getting hooked up to the internet in the coming years. But beyond consumer-level applications like a refrigerator that texts you when you’re low on milk, the IoT is poised to bring major value to a wide-range of enterprises and industries including commercial real estate.

Smart BuildingsCommercial real estate stakeholders have long been familiar with building management systems that could, for instance, automate elevator or HVAC controls. But a full-blown, IoT-enabled building management system is something different entirely. Subarea Kejriwal and Sarah Mahajan of Deloitte examined this topic in a report titled Smart buildings: How IoT technology aims to add value for real estate companies.

According to the authors: “A CRE company’s IoT-enabled systems can be fully integrated BMS, allowing higher-order cost, productivity, and revenue benefits with a deep customer and data focus. It can leverage one infrastructure to operate all building management solutions and require minimal to no manual involvement. Internet protocol or IP-enabled devices can facilitate intelligent decision making by automating point decisions and enhancing strategic insights; this allows data to automatically flow all the way around the Information Value Loop without manual interaction, enabling quick action on the data and creating new value for CRE companies.”


The Deloitte researchers break down how the IoT benefits commercial real estate owners regardless of building type—a retail space, a multiple-dwelling unit, professional offices or an industrial—with “lower operating costs such as lower energy bills; improved health and productivity benefits for occupiers; [and] tighter security due to real-time surveillance and faster emergency response times.

Given the range of connectivity types involved in realizing a high-impact IoT initiative, the best solution is a common communications platform that integrates all the aforementioned types of connectivity and the attendant applications. But IoT is just part of it. Given the related trends in workforce mobility and workflow automation, in-building wireless–cellular, Wi-Fi, all of it–is increasingly important to prospective tenants and has a direct correlation to leasing rates, retention and market differentiation. In short, a proactive approach by the commercial real estate industry to connectivity serves both the owner and customer in a way that provides a clear path to return on investment.

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