US technology group Johnson Controls has created a community network of facility managers across the world by deploying a facility management service in a cloud format, enabling facility managers to compare costs and efficiencies and improve visibility of inter-national best practices.
Through the network, which was launched in the US and Australia in March, the company plans to release ‘widgets’ that contrast measurements and set points for equipment with efficiency parameters in buildings to manage the interior environment, energy efficiency and the cost of operating the facility.
“This platform enables a facility manager to use a software program, which he can also design and change, that can decide to switch off the air-conditioning units and use the air filtered from outside to cool the building if the exterior temperature is low enough,” systems and services Africa GM Neil Cameron explains.
“The continuous diagnostic function of our cloud platform will also, for example, inform the facility manager that he or she is wasting energy by running the central air conditioning too low because most offices in the building have set their air conditioning to a higher temperature,” says Cameron.
Through the Panoptix solution, the company’s customers are able to access experts in energy efficiency, renewable energy, water management, equipment and integrated systems, as well as a network of like-minded people in any part of the world at any time of day, he explains.
Further, the company distributes software devel-opment kits (programs enabling nonexpert users to design and deploy a building systems software program) that facility managers can use to set their own parameters for equipment or energy use. The managers can also post good widgets on the cloud network where others can buy and use them.
“By using the information stored in this cloud network, I can compare my building’s efficiency against a similar one next door or in the US or in Australia, for example, to determine my efficiencies. I can also speak to these managers to see how they manage their facilities,” says Cameron.
Panoptix also uses algorithms to determine the efficiency of equipment. It can inform users when the efficiency of a chiller or boiler decreases, and maintenance can then be undertaken to keep a building’s efficiency continuously high.
“Buildings often operate at peak efficiency for only a short time during their life cycles. However, by tracking the efficiency of equipment and systems in real time, users can reduce their energy consumption by improving efficiency and keeping a facility running efficiently throughout its life cycle,” he concludes.