Overview

Modern-day building asset management is reportedly about IoT and AI-based solutions. We are firmly in an age of predictive, intuitive and speedy solutions, where real-time operational insights are becoming the norm, where issues relating to HVAC equipment can be predicted much before they occur. Apparently, commercial property owners, facility managers and operational teams have never had it this good.

Thanks to the availability of data, they have greater transparency into the working of their buildings.

They have an intimate knowledge of the condition of the assets, and can locally or remotely capture inefficiencies much before they happen and be prepared with the tools, including automation, to tackle them.

WHERE IS BUILDING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (BMS) IN THE EQUATION?

The general consensus is that BMS, which over the years since its introduction, reportedly has not been able to capture the market to the extent it was expected to. Consultants, when questioned about the performance of building management systems in the Middle East, were unequivocal in their response: “In most buildings, BMS is one or more of the three: Not connected, not operational, not properly maintained. Which is a pity, because by consensus, it is a wonderful technological asset that can address multiple concerns, be they related to energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality or the Delta T syndrome in a District Cooling scheme.”

Today, besides issues related to connectivity and maintenance, IoT- and AI-based solutions arguably score better than BMS. They reportedly offer the prospect of digitised O&M services; work across multiple building system protocols, including BACnet and Modbus; and can be integrated with third-party software.

DO IOT- AND AI-BASED SOLUTIONS CONSTITUTE THE SILVER BULLET FOR BETTER BUILDING ASSET MANAGEMENT?

IoT- and AI-based solutions are reportedly useful in improving the energy performance of buildings, but questions abound, and they perhaps need to be answered, before the solutions can be fully accepted…

  • What is the associated cost for building asset owners?
  • What is the expertise required of the inhouse engineering teams at buildings or a portfolio of buildings?
  • The building industry is often termed as a fractured stakeholder community, where building owners, project managers, architects, general consultants, general contractors, MEP consultants, MEP contractors – to name some – often work at cross-purposes, when the acknowledged ideal approach is an integrated project delivery mechanism. How effective are the cutting-edge IoT- and AI-based solutions of today, when fault lines appear in specification of equipment (in a typically price-driven market), design and installation, as a result of which intent and execution don’t match? For instance, how can the solutions help mitigate situations arising out of overdesigning to capacity?
  • While energy and water efficiency are given their due importance, how penetrative and effective have the cuttingedge IoT- and AI-based solutions of today been in addressing the crucial indoor environmental quality (IEQ)-related concerns of buildings across the GCC region? What data have they been able to generate to iteratively improve building performance in terms of air quality, thermal comfort and acoustical comfort?

These questions form the basis of the Annual Middle East Building Asset Management Conference.