During the last couple of years our lives have been filled with more and more devices that are connected through the internet. Fitness monitors, lightbulbs, door locks and many more things in our homes can now be controlled using the internet. The research company Gartner forecasts that there will be 6,4 billion connected things in the world during 2016 and that the number will increase to 20,8 billion in 2020. We have discussed Internet of Things and smart buildings as a mega trend in an earlier post, but this time we'll go a bit deeper.
Remote control systems are not new, why this hype?
Systems for controlling different functions of a building (locally or remotely) are not new. They traditionally go by the name Building Management Systems (BMS) or Building Automation Systems (BAS). The differences between the traditional systems and systems harnessing Internet of Things are mainly two – cost and usage of data.
As broadband, sensors and smartphones get cheaper only your imagination limits what can be connected. Today it’s possible for almost anyone to automate parts of their living environment. It’s obviously a bit more complex when it comes to automating an entire building or city compared to a one family home, but the same mechanic is in motion. And it has already started, read about South Korean city Songdo that was built from the ground up to be an intelligent city.
When it comes to data, BMS and BAS systems generate a lot of data but they don’t really utilise that data to the same effect as a cloud based system have the ability to do. A system based on IoT can collect data from many different sources and act upon that data to optimise indoor climate, lighting and energy use without the need for big integration projects or for system operators to maintain the system.
From smart homes to intelligent cities
In the report The Internet of Things: Mapping The Value Beyond the Hype by McKinsey & Company it is stated that while consumer applications like fitness monitors and self-driving cars get the most attention, there is actually a bigger potential in B2B applications with a potential economic impact between $4 trillion and $11 trillion. McKinsey estimates that as much as 70 % of the potential value enabled through IoT will be generated from B2B.
How will IoT change HVAC?
As with all shifts in technology, changes will happen in the ways we live and do business. With the actions being taken for more energy efficiency in construction and managing of buildings there is a big potential through Internet of Things. HVAC systems that can make their own intelligent decisions based on presence, weather and lots of other indicators have a great potential to cut energy use and cost.
We are also certain that new business models will emerge. HVAC systems using IoT will be able to predict situations from collected data and have automated alarms for service and maintenance that can facilitate new services.
So will there be a revolution in HVAC? Yes and it is already on-going!