A Foundation for Technology Growth
In 1965, Gordon Moore was asked to predict the future of the semiconductor components industry by Electronics Magazine. As the Director of R&D for Fairchild Semiconductor at the time, Moore surmised that the number of transistors per square inch on a densely integrated circuit would double every year. In layman’s terms, Moore predicted that computing power would increase exponentially while components would shrink without sacrificing performance or functionality. This insight became known as Moore’s Law, and it’s laid the groundwork for countless innovations in computer science and, more broadly, modern technology.
One of the underlying themes of Moore’s Law is that technology is constantly evolving, and if you are not onboard with new technology trends, you will be left behind. This sentiment applies to essentially every industry around us, not the least of which is the building automation system (BAS) space and the professionals that make it a reality. Being a professional in the building automation industry implies a certain level of tech savvy and sophistication, but knowing how to troubleshoot a damper actuator and adjust sequences of operation is not enough in an ever-evolving world.
What Got You Here May Not Get You There
As a facility manager, you are responsible for ensuring your facility operates efficiently and effectively. However, knowing that Moore’s Law still holds validity in 2018, simply executing on what you already know is not enough moving forward. Technology is constantly changing, and building owners and managers are tirelessly searching for new innovations that save them human and working capital.
While the facility manager of the past spent much of his time manually adjusting system components and surveying the building for equipment failures, today’s facility manager automates the building’s functions through a combination of software and sensors from a single workstation. Air handling units, chillers, boilers, compressors and all the components that comprise a BAS can be viewed in real time via 3D graphics. The BAS can be accessed remotely from a laptop or cellphone, and multiple systems and protocols can be integrated seamlessly for interoperability. These advancements have increased efficiency and reduced operating costs, but where do we go from here?
The Future of BAS is Right Around the Corner
While the future of the BAS industry is far from certain, there are three emerging trends that any BAS professional should be mindful of moving forward. If the future of building automation consists of cloud computing, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, among other things, facility managers will need to re-sharpen their pencils and get to work.
Cloud computing, machine learning, IoT, and a number of other technological advancements all play their respective roles in the smart workplace of the future. Owners and facility managers will need to constantly reevaluate what their building occupants want in a workspace, but occupant comfort will always be a consideration. By utilizing data and analytics, as well as the systems that convert data and analytics into working solutions, facility managers can ensure that their building occupants are as comfortable as possible while conserving energy.
According to a Business Insider article, the building automation market is poised to grow from $53 billion in 2016 to $99 billion in 2022, largely driven by the demand for energy efficiency and its subsequent cost reduction. This industry growth will open doors for a myriad of new facility managers and engineers, and these new industry professionals will have been educated in the era of smart buildings. This can create a competitive advantage for the newer workforce, so it is critical for existing facility managers to stay up-to-date on industry trends and technology changes.
The future of the building automation industry is right around the corner, and antiquated thinking will not survive in a more competitive labor pool. If you are an existing facility manager, staying on top of new technology trends not only helps you do your job better, but it creates job security in the future.