Increasingly sophisticated levels of connectivity are transforming buildings from largely static structures into reactive, responsive environments. Burgeoning technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), are accelerating this process across a wide variety of sectors, including higher education.
The buildings on a university campus are a critical part of the educational infrastructure but they also serve a range of other uses including student accommodation, as well as workspace for teaching staff, researchers and maintenance personnel. Many of these occupants, however, will be unaware of the emerging issues that campus buildings are increasingly expected to address, including:
- Reducing the impact of rising energy and operating costs
- Optimising usage of available space
- Improving student experience and educational outcomes
- Connecting multiple campus sites
- Ensuring safety concerns are minimised
- Protecting against potential security risks
Meeting these targets is complicated by a number of issues, most significantly tightening budgets and aging infrastructure. Fortunately, help is to hand. With the right connectivity in place, based in large part on IoT infrastructure, educational institutions can not only maintain effective learning environments, they can also put their buildings to work.
Building management technologies
The basic ingredients for bringing campus buildings to life include integrated building management technologies that incorporate data analytics and IoT sensors to monitor the performance of equipment and services. This type of arrangement can help keep systems running at an optimal level that will help maintain both comfort and security. IoT connectivity can also derive additional value from buildings; it’s often simply a matter of knowing where and how to apply the technology.
The use of connected technologies can shape the building user experience:
- Students, faculty and campus visitors. Buildings should operate at all times as comfortable and productive learning environments.
- Service providers, including building operators and service technicians. Universities should use integrated systems and interfaces to help make management and maintenance more efficient and streamlined.
- Facility managers. Connected campus buildings can provide data that helps facility managers to better understand and oversee space constraints and potential expansion opportunities.
Melbourne’s Monash University, for example, sought to automate its building environment to match the needs of its students, staff and other key stakeholders. The university is now using connected technology to more efficiently manage the buildings on its Clayton campus in Victoria. This transformation has centred on adding technology that helps enhance learning environments for optimal educational outcomes. This connectivity is expected to help the university reach its goal of zero net emissions by 2030.
To help turn campus buildings into ‘intelligent contributors’ it is essential to first establish desired outcomes. This will not only determine the most appropriate technological foundation, it will also reveal what layered, scalable applications are needed to fully bring a building to life. Armed with this information, universities can create spaces that better match expectations and usage patterns, helping to make them more comfortable for those who use them, and often more energy efficient to help save on operating costs.
This data-driven approach can also improve security management and building equipment performance. It may be appropriate to implement app-based technology, so students and staff can have control over their surroundings, directly from their smartphones.
The future learning environment
The pressure is on universities to make capital improvements to attract top students and faculty. Limited budgets and ageing infrastructure are creating obstacles, which are compounded by a growth in student numbers. However, as educational institutions around the world are discovering, intelligent building management systems, including the use of IoT connectivity, can help overcome these problems. A smarter built environment for a smarter learning experience is increasingly part of student life.
Article provided by Honeywell. Honeywell is a global Fortune 100 software-industrial company with technologies that helps institutions become more connected to make them smarter, safer, and more sustainable.