The Internet of Things – Connectivity and it’s positive impact on the built environment

Updated: Nov 23, 2018

BUENO’s Managing Director, Leon Wurfel recently featured in AIRAH’s Ecolibrium publication. Leon along with a number of other Big Data industry experts discuss the Internet of Things and how connectivity is positively impacting the built environment.


Despite its relative new-found popularity, the term “the Internet of Things” (or IoT) was actually coined in 1999 as the internet age was still in its relative infancy.


Back then, it referred to the potential global connection of devices using radio frequency identification (RFID) – the same technology still used in items such as e-passports, vehicle toll tags and public transport passes, to name just a few.


British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton saw RFID technology and the IoT as a method by which items, or people, could be identified and catalogued by computer.


Yet almost 20 years on, the modern concept of the IoT is significantly greater in scope, with the potential to impact many facets (some might argue every facet) of our lives. It does this through the internetworking, or connection, of billions of physical devices via the internet, such that they are able to communicate, share data and ultimately influence each other.

In the context of the built environment, and more specifically the commercial property sector, the prevalence of building management systems (BMS) means we’ve been using the basic principles of the IoT for many years.


“If you think about it, every BMS or any other control system is a connected set of devices that shares data and influences the behaviour of other devices in their own mini IoT ecosystem,” says BUENO managing director, Leon Wurfel, Affil.AIRAH. “But in the last few years, with the advent of open protocols and more open engineering frameworks, macro IoT layers have been added to the built environment. Firstly by converging the systems on individual sites and then by converging the systems and data flows across portfolios of buildings.”


For many in this space, the IoT offers the promise of innovation, optimization and performance management of buildings based on reliable, measured and factual evidence.

And if this sounds like the same promises being made around big data, you’re dead right. The two are inextricably linked.


“In our view, IoT is the enabler of big data,” says Sharmila Tsourdalakis, chief information officer at GPT Group.


“The challenge is to take this tsunami of data, millions of data points across our portfolio . . . and move it up the information hierarchy. We need to move from big data to big information, big knowledge and big wisdom. That’s the open challenge.”


This is an excerpt from a full article in AIRAH’s Ecolibrium publication. Click on the below link to download the full article.


Download full Internet of Things article.

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