Sensor Networks Extend Digital Connectivity: 3 Factors to Consider Before You Buy

As the deployment of digital sensors extends digitization and connectivity to previously analog tasks, processes, and machine and service operations; low-cost, scalable, wireless sensor networks are necessary to bring order to the chaos created by an increasing amount of data. When GE realized that connecting their products through a common system would allow increased opportunities for optimization and analytics it started to transform their business model and deliver higher value to the organization.

So what does that mean for you?

If it hasn’t already started digitization of your physical assets and facilities is coming. Smart meters connect your power and water usage, connected lighting and HVAC units feed your Building Management System (BMS), and air quality sensors monitor the health off your indoor environment. As more connected building systems come online and more smart buildings become the standard, more granular data will be necessary to continuously optimize building performance and increase value.

So where do you start?

Many buildings either currently lack the infrastructure to support energy management systems (EMS) and building efficiency initiatives or you are locked into disparate proprietary systems that do not have the functionality to speak to one another in an efficient way. So whether you are starting from scratch or looking for a way to streamline your data consider the following features:

Universal Connectivity

Metcalfe’s Law states that “the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of compatibly communicating devices.” More simply, the more things your network can connect to the more valuable the network. Even if all you need is to connect a few meters to your EMS, installing a network which can expand in the future will save the costs of switching systems and allow you the flexibility to add different data points as your needs change.

Wireless Scalability

Wires are dead, the age of wireless connections have taken over. Installing a wired system is expensive, time consuming, and increases the costs of expanding in the future. With a wireless sensor network, your system can be installed quicker and be easily augmented should your future needs ever change saving you labor hours and getting payback faster.

Security and Reliability

Security is not just guarding your data against theft. Security is the peace of mind gained by knowing that your data is accurate and being reliably delivered to you. Look for systems that can still function in the event of power and internet outages so your data is never lost.

With a wide variety of technologies available, you can likely find something to fit your budget while still optimizing your facility performance. If you would like some guidance about the process, please feel free to contact us. We help building owners and managers every day to find smart solutions that work.

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