Upgrading your Facility Management to the 21st Century
The Digital Transformation of power and cooling infrastructure management
September 13, 2018 in
Sorry for the use of the marketing cliché “Digital Transformation”, like most of these terms it means something different to every reader, and what I gained in brevity by using it I have now lost by having to excuse and explain its use. However, it does sum up the journey that many organisations are on. It’s a slow process. Mechanical and Electrical equipment has a longer lifecycle then IT and is not subject to Moore’s Law. Successful FM teams are usually comprised of some of the most risk averse people on the planet. Caution and aversion to risk are necessary attributes of the job. Change, in the form of new technologies that automate and manage technical is being rolled out across all sectors. If you are already on this journey, or considering your first steps, there are some important considerations to make, but first of all you need to choose where to focus your efforts. Here are a few ideas:
The biggest FM cost for most organisations technical estate will be cooling. There are several cooling technologies that can help you cut costs as part of an FM Digital Transformation Strategy. Installing free cooling and using SMART software to automate control and manage DX back up is a great place to start.
Using remote monitoring tools to predict and pre-empt equipment failure in remote equipment rooms and cabins can also provide a demonstrable return on investment.
You can leverage your legacy BMS and export data to a digital IoT platform, as part of an Energy Management strategy, at a fraction of the cost of upgrading your BMS.
For the more ambitious, you can go down the AI route and gain some spectacular savings on cooling costs in data centres by automating the power cycling of cooling units based on room environmental conditions.
If compliance is what keeps you awake at night, then improving your remote monitoring may bring more peace of mind. Digital Transformation can provide improved practices to comply with L8 (Legionnaires disease regulations), CO2 regulations and many other areas of compliance.
Whatever project you choose to begin, your Digital Transformation journey you will need to secure a budget. This is probably the hardest part of the process but remembering some basic guidelines may improve your chance of success.
- Understand the end goal and align your goals with the vision of the business
Have clear objectives of what you want to achieve. Technology for its own sake is a luxury few organisations can afford and you are unlikely to secure a budget with a clear ROI.
- Build alliances with other departments.
Effective management of power and cooling will result in greater uptime, more capacity, lower energy costs, lower carbon emissions and lower support costs. This will benefit the IT, Finance and Marketing departments as well as FM.
- Build a detailed case based on tangible results and proven ROI
It is much easier to sell something with palpable results, and a lot easier for the other party to sign it off.
- Work with partners who understand both your legacy estate and new technologies.
You will need expertise in legacy protocols and systems as well as the emerging IT and IoT protocols if you are to transform. Getting data out of an old proprietary BMS into an open user friendly IoT platform can be tricky.
- “Don’t boil the ocean” and remember “perfect is the enemy of good”
Perfection is admirable, but often not achievable. Don’t set yourself up to fail by making unrealistic expectations.
- This is a process so don’t try to do it all in day.
A Proof of Concept project and the lessons learnt from it will be invaluable as you progress.
For more information or advice on how to succeed with a Digital Transformation strategy please contact AIT.