• AI
  • Data Analytics
  • Facilities Management
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Intelligent Building Technologies

Facilities Managers Should Consider an AI Diet

Neil Strother
Nov 12, 2019

Smart Building 3

Facilities managers need to consider a new diet, and it begins with vitamin AI, as in artificial intelligence. That is the recommendation from Tango CEO Pranav Tyagi, who says so in a recent piece titled, “AI Will Eat The Fat Out Of Facilities Management if We Learn How To Feed it Quality Data.”

Selecting Quality Data

Rich datasets are crucial, and not easily managed at this early stage of market development. Alvin Ng from Johnson Controls notes that data quality and quantity are of paramount importance. He adds that, “since a significant amount of data is needed to train the algorithm, a high quality of data input into the model is essential to enable better predictive capabilities. However, obtaining sufficient quality labeled data can be costly and often depends on human experts to perform the labeling.”

Big Buildings Tasting AI Success

Some early adopting building managers have been able to harness AI for positive business outcomes. One example is the new Bee’ah headquarters in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The futuristic structure uses an array of intelligent devices and software designed to improve occupant productivity. The system also features a virtual AI persona that handles facility booking and ambient environment control. Through advanced tools, building managers expect to have enhanced visibility into operations. They can link internal and external data to create benchmarks for performance, improve equipment utilization, and ensure occupant comfort.

Another building using AI is the headquarters of Spanish banking giant BBVA in Madrid. The building, which opened in 2015, was designed to be energy efficient at the outset and have minimal environmental impact. It uses recycled and sustainable materials, extensive green areas, and a rainwater-based sprinkler system. It also has 50,000 sensors to gather data about the status of the facilities, environmental conditions, and the presence of people.

It took a while for facilities managers to uncover the data trove the company had within reach. After analyzing all the data, “we realized that it didn’t have to be limited to properly managing the facilities, it could also further improve our energy efficiency and reduce costs,” says Borja Eugui Pemán, head of facility management. Using AI-based software, “we can make appropriate decisions, stay ahead of potential glitches and disruptions and correct any inefficiencies. All of this results in energy savings and subsequent cost savings.” The facility now uses 10% less energy than it did when it first opened in 2015.

Time to Try New Things

Facilities managers who have been timid about AI investments but need to reduce costs should seriously consider this type of software. It’s a new diet their buildings and occupants might welcome. Navigant Research, a Guidehouse company, is investigating how AI is expected to shape the future of not only buildings, but smart cities and the grid itself. To see what its found, check out the latest report, AI and Advanced Analytics Overview.