Remote monitoring: Increasing BMS & HVACR efficiency 

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Opinion

Remote monitoring is an essential tool to optimise a building’s infrastructure. Here, Resource Data Management discusses how integrating a comprehensive remote monitoring strategy for HVACR assets into the management of any facility can increase its efficiency and reduce operating costs. 

It can provide insight into the operating data of each asset, which allows users to identify not just issues but also opportunities for improvement. 

When utilised to its full potential, a Forbes study has found that asset management software can lead to a 22% reduction in operation and maintenance cost as well as a 15% reduction in working capital.

There are many challenges in regards to managing a facility or estate, and they vary greatly depending on the type of business. 

Remote monitoring software can help address these, and there are certain features to look out for to ensure the right kind of solution is implemented. Additionally, the Internet of Things (IoT) can help utilise remote monitoring software to its full capacity.

Challenges for facility managers

The following represent some of the most pertinent challenges that are faced when managing large estates or multiple sites, which remote monitoring software can solve.

  • Which work is each asset doing?
  • Are the assets under or over-utilised?
  • What is their lifetime value?
  • When will they need to be replaced?
  • How are staff alerted to problems?
  • How can problems be foreseen and prevented?

Increasing efficiency and saving costs

In essence, remote monitoring software works by processing data it receives via cloud technology from a front-end control system that is in place at a facility. This system, in turn, receives data from the control solutions installed throughout the facility. The following features of remote monitoring software can increase efficiency and save operating costs.

Worldwide access

With remote monitoring software in place, facility managers do not need to physically visit a site, to understand how assets are performing. All the information they require will be at their fingertips, simply by logging into the program from their desk. 

Streamlined processes

An efficient remote monitoring solution will consolidate maintenance, energy and incident management into a single dashboard. This will streamline processes and remove the need for time-consuming manual tracking and monitoring.

Proactive maintenance

Daily reports about the functioning of the equipment can be created, which enables facility managers to identify issues before they become serious. As a result, proactive rather than reactive maintenance is possible, which can save costs and time.

Automated workflows

Pre-set workflows and intelligently connected devices enable equipment to function automatically. More specifically, they streamline energy efficiency and simplify reporting, while also minimising costs and labour requirements. 

Advantages of IoT for remote monitoring

The IoT facilitates managing physical assets by enabling device connectivity. Multiple devices can be monitored remotely, and sensors can determine asset performance and trigger notifications according to pre-set conditions. Additionally, cameras can ensure that assets are protected.

Where records were previously kept in the form of handwritten notes or manually coordinated excel sheets, they can now all be easily coordinated between different sites using the IoT – reducing the risk of error.

Another main advantage the IoT provides is the ability to monitor sites at any time from anywhere. Whether it’s from a desktop or mobile device, reports will be available when needed, even on the go.

Effective remote monitoring software for HVACR 

Effective remote monitoring systems will analyse and interpret data for businesses using HVACR equipment, all of which will benefit from streamlined incident filtering, energy management and predictive maintenance.

Notification filtering

Using customisable pre-defined filters such as site, event type, date and time, remote monitoring software can analyse incident notifications. 

Determining their urgency, it can decide whether human intervention is required. Store managers can be alerted if any incidents outwith pre-set ranges occur. This type of incident notification filtering reduces maintenance call-outs as it ensures that only critical incidents are acted upon.

Energy management

Statistics compiled by British Gas show that in 2018 46% of business energy was consumed outside of regular business hours: between 6pm and 8am. Stricter controls are needed during that time to curb unnecessary energy consumption. 

Remote monitoring software offers a solution, as it provides complete visibility of operating data. Energy trends can be analysed and measures implemented to streamline performance to reduce energy consumption.

Predictive maintenance

According to studies, HVACR plants waste up to 40% of their capacity. Stops, speed losses, interruptions and defects all contribute to this. Additionally, 60% of maintenance costs are unnecessary and preventable.

With an efficient remote monitoring software in place, energy baselines can be generated and benchmarked to predict potential failures, to ensure systems are operating effectively and that assets are protected. 

As a result, costs associated with energy inefficiency and downtime are reduced and there are fewer demands for labour and data analysis.