In a time of change for commercial buildings, ABB leads the way with smart tech

by FM Media
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ABB smart building

There has never been a more exciting time to be working in the smart buildings industry.

Every day we discover new opportunities and hear inspiring success stories on how smart technology is being used to improve people’s lives and ways of working in commercial buildings, offices and other spaces.

But smart buildings are not exactly a new concept. Architects and developers have been installing separate systems to control lighting, heating and ventilation (HVAC) for decades. Later systems have helped building managers control access to different areas of a site, mitigate fire risk and protect against power surges.

What’s new is the addition of web-based platforms that allow these verticals to integrate seamlessly with each other. They can deliver a single view of how efficiently and effectively a building operates. Armed with this data, managers can take proactive steps to avoid waste and improve use, resulting in reduced emissions and potential cost savings.

Comparing energy savings to the falling cost of installing a basic smart management system, smart buildings immediately prove their worth. More effective and efficient use of power can save money, quickly repaying initial technology expenditure. HVAC and lighting alone can account for about 50 percent of energy use in an average commercial building. By incorporating smart automation, managers may see decreased energy costs by between 30 percent and 50 percent.

Small digital experiments and quick wins are what help you discover what your facility’s digital future looks like. Even the most impressive buildings start small. Take the tallest building in the world, for example, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The Burj Khalifa team decided to begin with the relatively small step of retrofitting existing air circuit breakers with digitally upgraded ABB Ekip UP plug and play devices, so that their existing equipment could start collecting and communicating operational data. 

Now the building is maintained 24/7 by the ABB Ability™ Energy and Asset Manager. The state-of-the-art cloud solution helps reduce operational costs by up to 30 percent, using smart equipment to conduct continuous condition monitoring, deliver real-time insights, and continually optimise operations, instead of waiting for scheduled manual inspections and tests.

Your infrastructure is already capable of producing more data than you may realise. The key is getting assets to communicate. That’s why installing digitalised assets and retrofitting with upgrades like digital sensors is so important – it unlocks the data you didn’t know you had.

Another crucial piece of the puzzle is a software solution like ABB’s Energy and Asset Manager, which displays operational data, alerts and analytics from all your connected assets. Powerful diagnostic and prognostic analytics offer clear intelligence, from overall KPIs to data analysis charts. It’s all intelligently managed to allow you to focus on asset management and enable better, faster decisions.

But it’s also important that you get the most out of your data access by enlisting specialist support to create your digitalisation roadmap. This is where ABB’s expertise really adds value, enabling you to set up small-scale pilots and work flexibly, so you can identify opportunities for improvement and get the quick wins you need.

By placing data at the foundation of your strategy, an asset management solution brings tangible benefits to operations. Its functionality actively extends your insight, acting as your eyes and ears across your entire facility. With access to data across asset health, events and alerts, maintenance prescription and documentation, it’s truly never been easier to unlock your site’s potential and power a more sustainable future.

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