Jixing Shen, Smart Panel Technical Expert at

Schneider Electric, discusses remote monitoring and advanced cloud based analycs as a means of managing energy use and monitoring operaons around the clock.

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ADOPTING AN ALLSEEING EYE The benefits of remote monitoring

oday’s facility managers are pulled in infinite different directions. Technological progress and the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) have made their position more manageable but have also given them fresh challenges and responsibilities.

Not only are they responsible for keeping their facility operational, they are now under increased pressure to improve maintenance efficiency while bringing energy costs under control, while facing one of the coldest winters in years alongside reduced teams and budgets. In the new energy age, standard solutions can do little to tackle these new problems. Buildings are becoming smarter – but with more power-hungry connected devices, this increases the demand on their power systems. It is, therefore, clear that there is a need to proactively manage energy use effectively. In facilities where uninterrupted operation is vital, standard reactive approaches to maintenance will inevitably fail. The status quo must not be accepted. Negating highly disruptive interruptions requires prevention – it is always better than cure. It is also the responsibility of building owners and managers to ensure healthy maintenance and management is prioritised.

To overcome such challenges, facility managers must have full visibility over their electrical assets at all times. While it is physically impossible to be in more than one place at a time, remote monitoring offers complete oversight and direct operation of all disciplines in the building.

‘ Facility managers

must have full visibility over their electrical assets at all mes. While it is physically impossible to be in more than one place at a me, remote monitoring oers complete oversight and direct operaon of all disciplines in the building.

Facility managers should consider the benefits of an integrated approach to energy and asset management, one that leverages the latest technologies to encompass cost-effective modular solutions to comprehensive networked systems for complete oversight and control that reduces energy consumption, maintenance costs and facility downtime.

energy management

As their roles and working practices evolve, facility managers may find they are spending more time off-site or working between different sites as their responsibilities increase and the number of sites they are given control over grows.

This can mean the maintenance and management of numerous buildings, each with its own occupancy classifications, unique requirements and provisions. While there is no need for a manager to maintain close proximity to their assets, the reform of familiar yet inefficient practices is needed to cut costs and deliver optimal efficiency. Fortunately, today’s managers have begun to appreciate the benefits of the IoT. Connected building systems and devices, installed on critical assets throughout the facility ensure constant and secure data flow whilst keeping the cost of building management systems (BMS) down. This allows energy usage to


be tracked down to the second with fluctuations in consumption accurately traced to individual assets and parts of the facility.

Remote monitoring and advanced cloud-based analytics can take this to the next level of efficiency. They permit the facility manager to keep track of usage patterns at any time and any place, from the convenience of a mobile device such as a phone or tablet even when they are outside of the facility.

With a centralised Building Management System and control capabilities, managers can adjust environmental settings in an instant with nothing more than a smartphone. Crucial interventions to save power can be made faster, such as monitoring and powering down a facility’s heating system when climactic conditions no longer need it, can result in lower energy costs.

This is especially true in commercial buildings, which generate an immense amount of consumption data. This information is collected through various sensors – including power meters, breakers, temperature monitors – and communicated on a real-time basis on an individual building, portfolio, and even urbane level.

Simple IoT-based solutions such as Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Facility Expert, can enhance user experience by making building management systems much more efficient. EcoStruxure enables customers to aggregate usage information load by load and allows the provision of descriptive and predictive insights for increased automation and the recommendation of human intervention where needed. Ultimately, this can have a large-scale impact on operations whereby growing margins are distinguished by building types that offer more value creation and profitability.

Maintaining mobility and eciency

in site maintenance

The electrical and physical infrastructure of a facility needs constant monitoring and efficient, well-planned maintenance. The failure of a single asset or piece of equipment can shut down operations or an entire facility, potentially costing the owner millions in lost work and repairs. To prevent this, favourable environmental conditions need to be maintained and services performed on the distribution network on a regular basis.

Facilities follow a wide range of day- to-day maintenance practices. Traditionally, this involved relying on regular, scheduled check-ups or corrective repairs once a breakdown had occurred. Recently, however, more effective ‘predictive’ approaches have emerged. These utilise connected sensors to detect faults, and use environmental data to predict when an asset will likely fail. Corrective action is then organised automatically before, and not after, the damage is done. This prevents asset and facility downtime and can result in considerable savings and efficiency increases.

Real-time, full visibility over a facility’s electrical assets is fast becoming the only sustainable way to perform maintenance in a modern facility. Yet even in this scenario there are potential gaps. In small teams of building engineers, or in facilities with multiple, disparate sites, problems can still go unaddressed for periods of time when personnel are offsite or under heavy loads. When a time-sensitive, potentially critical failure is identified, time is precious. Facility managers must be able to access all the data they need to resolve an issue, but it is not always immediately accessible if they are outside of the facility network. Remote monitoring software, such as Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Facility Expert, eliminates this challenge. Mobile applications ensure that when an alert is recorded it is sent straight to the devices of the facility manager and their team. If a team member is off-site then they can easily share any information, coordinate with their on-site colleagues or even seek further insight from another expert through the app.

When the asset management system is integrated with the cloud, it also ensures that all facility data they may need is at their fingertips, ready to be deployed. With a few swipes on their phone, they can quickly see the systems affected as well as the previous maintenance actions that resolved a similar issue in the past. When maintenance is predictive and integrated, it helps teams resolve issues quickly and reduce downtime. Remote monitoring provides facility managers a clear window into operations. Full 24-hour visibility and convenient access to the data they need enables them to take a more proactive role, both in saving energy and in coordinating the critical maintenance that keeps the facility up and running. At the same time, it enables them and their teams to work at a high standard while accommodating the increasingly mobile nature of their roles. VISIT OUR WEBSITE:

uRemote monitoring gives facility managers a clear window into operaons, 24/7.

Recently, more

eecve ‘predicve’ approaches have emerged. These ulise connected sensors to detect faults, and use environmental data to predict when an asset will likely fail. Correcve acon is then organised automacally before, and not aer, the damage is done.

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