IoT Monitoring - What's the Real benefit?



Much has been written about the capabilities and use cases in remote monitoring and alarming capabilities of IoT systems in M&E applications.


Long-life battery powered miniature sensors can be attached to pretty much anything but in reality what's the real benefit and to whom?


Condition based maintenance, Energy monitoring of individual assets and IAQ seem to be the front runners especially for service providers and occupants alike - where they want to see an ROI.


Reduced Occupancy is forcing business to look for savings


Landlords and their service providers need to look at ways of being innovative with the way their buildings are being run and ways of saving money from M&E plant can often be difficult to achieve.


Saving money by reducing service visits on Chillers, VRF's, Boilers, AHU's and Fan Coils yet complying with SFG-20 or British Standards seems to be commonplace.


Reducing service visits and filter changes/cleans by monitoring when they actually need changing when they are dirty - rather than on a pre-determined schedule can save many thousands without affecting performance.


A large AHU with panel and bag filters can easily cost £700 per filter change. IoT monthly monitoring is a tiny fraction of that.


Money is also being saved from a L8 water temp monitoring perspective. Rather than an engineer flushing low used outlets and having to record water temps throughout including water tanks, this can easily be achieved automatically at much lower cost using an IoT system that records everything automatically.


A Shopping Centre client who was recently billing individual restaurants in their food court based on sq/m of occupied area, has now changed to individual billing based on actual gas, water and electric usage via IoT monitoring.


Reduced occupancy of the main centre also meant running the Chillers and AHU's at reduced levels by directly connecting to the centres BMS via IOT connections onto the M&E equipment which in turn allowed the BMS to turn down equipment usage and reduced energy by 20%.


Predicting & Preventing Failures


M&E equipment is prone to failure because of the many moving parts, despite PPM maintenance. A clients site in Reading with multiple chillers recently installed our SmartConnect system after having receiving a £50K bill to repair the chillers and replace lost refrigerant which had been leaking un-noticed.


Had they installed our system earlier it would have identified the leak and notified the contractor so they could have fixed the leak early and therefore prevented the failure and minimised the cost. The ROI in this instance is easy to see.


Another specialist chiller contractor is using this same to remotely diagnose their connected chillers and VRF units and advise their clients of a preventive course of action as well as using it to remotely diagnose settings and parameters.


The same contractor is ensuring the uptime of their connected data centres. Remote diagnostics means they can send an engineer to site to prevent a catastrophic failure of the cooling plant.


In Summary,


Just because their is a clever sensor available, doesn't necessarily always translate to a tangible benefit.


Yes web based dashboards give great insights into live status, but in truth nobody is staring at those screens day in/out.


Contract managers simply want to know when a key item of equipment is failing, is consuming too much energy or has failed so they can act accordingly, - obviously especially useful for mobile maintenance contracts and those sites without a BMS.


IoT reports assist them in providing relevant and useful information to their customers. Carbon usage and reporting is on its way. IoT makes that quick and easy.


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