Decades ago, futurists recognized that computers were going to change the world, but there was no way they could have known just how wide ranging that impact would be. Regardless, they made predictions, and many that seemed like science fiction at the time have actually materialized today.
One great example of these predictions-come-true was how computer technology would become integrated into the systems and appliances operating our homes and commercial buildings. And, while most existing homes and buildings still don’t incorporate all of the automated and computer-controlled elements futurists predicted, many incredible features do exist, and they’re becoming more common every day.
The role of automation, big data, and artificial intelligence
Take the technological evolution that’s affected the HVAC system that heats, cools, and ventilates the average commercial building, for example.
Commercial HVAC historically consisted of essentially the same equipment that our homes use, (thermostats, heaters and air conditioners) just on a larger scale. Today, however, technological advancement is changing commercial HVAC dramatically:
- There’s been an explosion in computing power and speed
- Electronic components are shrinking even as they become more powerful
- Sensor technology has become far more affordable
- More data is being collected, stored, and analyzed, than ever before
More sophistication for a lower cost
The result? Today’s commercial HVAC systems are more like computer networks, comprised of sensors, hardware, and software that can be calibrated to offer maximum comfort and optimal energy efficiency under a host of different operating conditions.
Even standard hardware (boilers, fans, chillers, etc.) can be upgraded and improved through quick and simple software updates instead of demanding an expensive and time-consuming replacement or repair. Because of this, the lifespan of commercial HVAC equipment has grown right along with all the other benefits of tech improvements.
Automate for convenience and performance
Another powerful advancement is the addition of automation. Advances in automation technology have allowed for more convenient — and more effective — smart building automation such as calibrating and optimizing the HVAC system.
The increasingly autonomous HVAC system now relies on embedded machine learning algorithms to continually review and analyze all the data it collects so the system can be optimized in real time. This greatly improves energy efficiency, lowers operating costs, and extends the lifespan of the entire system.
What does this mean for Seattle commercial buildings?
While comparing reality with what was predicted decades ago can be fun, there’s a much more important reason to think about the impact of Big Data, AI, and evolving technologies on your commercial building:
If you’re responsible for a commercial facility — whether you’re the owner, facility manager, or an HVAC technician charged with caring for the building’s mechanical systems — you need to consider how much of this technology you’re already using.
In nearly every commercial building, improvements can be made. For instance, experts believe that, at this point, human beings never even look at 90% of the data they collect. If your building has control sensors and analytics software, what’s happening to the data those sensors are collecting? Getting more out of that data, or finally equipping your building to start collecting and analyzing it in the first place, is well worth the investment.
Now is the time analyze your commercial Seattle HVAC system and optimize it for performance and efficiency, using the power of Big Data, AI, and smart building automation technology. If you need any help making this happen, our professionals at PSR Mechanical is here to help.