You are invited to join the SFTA and ASHRAE for a not-to-be-missed revealing and illuminating deep-dive panel discussion into “The Internet of Things”
We will uncover exactly what it is and how it will affect you and your business in the near future.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The “Internet of things” (IoT) is becoming an increasingly growing topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. It’s a concept that not only has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work and the facilities in which we work. But what exactly is the “Internet of things” and what impact is it going to have on you, the buildings you design, manage, own or occupy? Simply put, this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from your facilities doors, lighting, air conditioning, cellphones, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. By 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices. That’s a lot of connections (some even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion). The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people). The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.
Broadband Internet is become more widely available, the cost of connecting is decreasing, more devices are being created with Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors built into them, technology costs are going down, and smartphone penetration is sky-rocketing. All of these things are creating a “perfect storm” for the IoT.
How Does This Impact You?
The new rule for the future is going to be, “Anything that can be connected, will be connected.” But why on earth would you want so many connected devices talking to each other? There are many examples for what this might look like or what the potential value might be. Say for example you are on your way to a meeting; your car could have access to your calendar and already know the best route to take. If the traffic is heavy your car might send a text to the other party notifying them that you will be late. As you walk up to the facilities front door, the security guard already knew you were near by using geotracking, and has you registered as a guest. Your iPhone now acts as your access card and allows you to unlock doors via an app. The wayfinding app on your phone now shows you an interactive map of the facility showing you your destination and current position. Once inside your meeting room this same phone can let you either send the building management a message that you are warm or too cool or in some instances let you adjust the environmental conditions yourself. What if your environment control system detects an equipment failure using cloud based software analytics in advance of the building becoming uncomfortable and notifies your staff or service provide to effect repairs? What if the wearable device you used in the workplace could tell you when and where you were most active and productive and shared that information with other devices that you used while working?
The reality is that the IoT allows for virtually endless opportunities and connections to take place, many of which we can’t even think of or fully understand the impact of today. It’s not hard to see how and why the IoT is such a hot topic today; it certainly opens the door to a lot of opportunities but also to many challenges. Security is a big issue that is oftentimes brought up. With billions of devices being connected together, what can people do to make sure that their information stays secure? Will someone be able to hack into your coffee maker and thereby get access to your entire network? The IoT also opens up companies all over the world to more security threats. Then we have the issue of privacy and data sharing. Another issue that many companies specifically are going to be faced with is around the massive amounts of data that all of these devices are going to produce. Companies need to figure out a way to store, track, analyze and make sense of the vast amounts of data that will be generated.