For building owners and managers, data is the fuel behind their smart building operations. Leveraging the surplus of data that is readily available to them, owners and managers are making informed decisions for their facility that can create long-term performance enhancements and help them achieve goals such as improved efficiency and occupant comfort. Here is how to ensure your data is providing trustworthy insights.

Through the latest innovations in AI and machine learning, data is being mined in more significant volumes.

The data is allowing decisions to be made even faster. But as facility owners and managers become more dependent on this data to drive operations and make critical facility decisions, two essential questions remain:

  1. How can they ensure their data is trustworthy?
  2. How can they guarantee that the decisions they are making are backed by reliable, secure information and providing correct insights?

Fortunately, there are three steps facility owners, and managers can take to ensure the data from their smart buildings can be trusted to provide accurate insights into building and equipment operations:

Maintain a transparent pathway to data.

A critical component of achieving data trustworthiness is ensuring facility owners and managers have consistent access to raw data. Regardless of where the data is coming from – a single sensor or an entire building of integrated systems – maintaining a transparent pathway plays an integral role.

The role of the data allows owners and managers to engage in smart facility management and ensure their data’s authenticity and quality daily. This level of transparency and access to data is particularly crucial during time-sensitive events such as equipment failures or malfunctions.

To achieve this high level of transparency and access to data, facility owners and managers can invest in systems management technology that digitally transforms building operations and provides data access and control across all systems. From HVAC to water usage, this technology delivers unprecedented visibility into their facility’s processes.

Furthermore, through cloud technology, owners and managers can access their data remotely, ensuring they have visibility into operations no matter where they are and when they need it most.

Ensure context to give data meaning.

As important as it is for building owners and managers to have access to raw building data, it only provides a surface-level view of building operations. However, when coupled with context, this data can provide critical insights into processes and allow owners and managers to understand the full picture.

Once they’ve established this understanding, they can effectively leverage their data to make informed, strategic decisions regarding their smart building and equipment within.

For example, raw data from chillers at a hospital shows that the building is inexplicably requiring more energy for HVAC cooling systems between November and January. Without context, the hospital administration could safely assume that equipment might be inefficient or malfunctioning. But this data needs context for it to be truly understood.

By cross-referencing with patient traffic in those months, they can discover that patient volume was extremely high in the emergency room due to a bad flu season, thereby requiring extensive energy to cool the waiting room and surrounding spaces. With context, facility owners and managers are given data with meaning and can make intelligent decisions on behalf of their facilities. Ultimately, data can only be as smart as we are, and if we don’t connect the dots, we will never fully understand it.

Establish a strategy for data security.

The final step in the pursuit of data trustworthiness is ensuring building data is secure. When data is safe and uncompromised, facility owners and managers can trust that their data-based decisions are accurate and informed. To secure their data, owners, and managers can implement security measures such as two-factor authentication logins or back-up procedures and storage in case of data loss.

Additionally, a third-party professional can be brought in to audit the facility’s data security and search for potential gaps in the systems. Through these audits, owners and managers can better understand where their security systems need improvements and implement technologies and procedures to update their building and ensure their building data is safe and secure.

Trustworthy data powers informed decision-making.

When building data is trustworthy, the resulting decisions are credible too. By taking the necessary steps to transform their building and ensure transparent access digitally, context, and security for their data, facility owners and managers can be confident that their building’s data is trustworthy and delivering accurate insights.

With these insights, a company can continue to make informed decisions for long term performance and an improved building environment.

Sudhi Sinha

Sudhi Sinha is the vice president and general manager of Digital Solutions at Johnson Controls, focusing on bringing value to customers by reducing costs, minimizing risk and failures, and improving the comfort, health and safety of buildings and its occupants. Through his leadership, Sudhi helps create and commercialize new data-enabled and Internet of Things (IoT) offerings. He has full P&L responsibilities for the business including sales, operations, product management, marketing and technology development functions. In his more than 20 years of experience in business management and engineering, Sudhi has achieved several granted and pending patents in smart building technologies, and has published two books on big data and IoT. Sudhi lives in Milwaukee, Wis., U.S. and holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Production Engineering from Jadavpur University, India.