Trends in Smart Building Operations Analogous to Trends in Healthcare

The use of technology and "smart building" operating systems are transforming the business of managing medical office buildings. For decades, the traditional property management model has been reactive, much like our healthcare delivery system. Property managers address complaints and fix problems as they arise. Maintenance personnel address comfort issues and repair things that break. We are treating building "symptoms" as opposed to looking at the whole "patient."

Despite the fact that buildings are more recently monitored through building automation systems and energy management programs, the missing link has always centered-around what managers do with that data. Utilizing the latest in technology, property managers and building engineers can now use this data to derive insights that turn "smart" buildings into intelligent buildings. The latest database management programs allow building managers the ability to analyze trend data output from building mechanical and electrical systems. This performance data provides for a comprehensive analysis of a building’s operating systems, enabling managers to reprogram building systems to optimize equipment usage and energy efficiency and maintain tenant comfort.

The addition of whole-building data, synthesized and condensed for a manager to gain actionable and specific diagnoses is the key component to this new technology. The beauty of this system is objectivity and real-time data; it allows an engineer to see component-level performance, usage and output in a way that helps determine optimal performance against a baseline. Managers and technicians can then work together to integrate this data into operating plans and provide savings in the form of equipment wear, energy usage and improved performance which translates into reliable operations, happier clients and strong tenant retention.

As healthcare migrates from fee for service, a system that rewards simply treating a symptom to fix a problem, the same is true for medical office building management. In search of successful outcomes, managers and building technicians must transition to a building management model that addresses the overall well-being of a property and its clients within a managed care environment.

Stephen King
PMB Real Estate Services