Living in high-rise apartments or working in an office building is part of the urban environment. Aside from housing people and businesses, these structures are home to complex raceways of wires and labyrinths of ductwork for air conditioning systems. Keeping the buildings habitable requires a maintenance effort to stay on top of things. Building technicians do everything from making sure elevator compliance certificates are current to repairing appliances.
One aspect of building maintenance that has undergone significant change is in the capability to remotely monitor structures and identify problems as they occur. The internet of things (IoT) leverages wireless technologies and computer networks to keep a constant watch on equipment. Small wireless devices can measure almost every aspect of equipment operation. New advanced degrees of control and automation are also being enabled.
Motorized Equipment Remote Monitoring
Fans and pumps that provide air conditioning and plumbing are based on rotating machines. Wireless sensors are now available that measure rotational speed, bearing temperatures and water pressures. These sensors, commonly called transducers, are combinations of electronic circuits and many now include wireless networking capability. Regular readings are transmitted to a computer that allows access by maintenance personnel.
Electrical Equipment Remote Monitoring
Lighting systems and even the motors already discussed are typically powered electrically. Key variables such as voltage, current flow and frequency are sampled numerous times per minute. These are values are generally averaged over 10 or 15-minute intervals with software and reported to the monitoring system. Technicians can then keep logs that allow them to spot trends that may indicate a problem.
Systems and Equipment Remote Control
The ability to monitor many operating variables is helpful to spot problems before they become costly repairs. Added functionality of starting and stopping equipment remotely is another feature being utilized in advanced systems today. So-called “smart” devices enable advanced programming of routines for things like thermostats and lighting in a building. These help to increase the efficiency of building operations and reduce energy waste.
The advent of modern wireless technology has brought a new dimension to building maintenance. Being able to keep a constant watch on critical operational parameters is giving maintenance personnel useful insights and enabling prompt action when needed.