Monitoring, predicting and correcting building issues in real time.
Remote command centres (RCCs) have become increasingly common in several industries as part of a strategy to automate and improve the efficiency of operations and to provide a more reliable, safer and secure working environment for employees. For the facilities management industry, the cost of running a 24/7 manned operation and the growing focus of clients on both safety and production growth are some of the reasons RCCs are proving an attractive model of operation.
BGIS provides full-service integrated facilities management at approximately 350 Australian retail sites for one of its major oil and gas clients. In 2020, BGIS commenced a three-month RCC pilot program to visualise and analyse the energy and operational efficiencies of ten of those sites.
“The state of play before the pilot program began was limited visibility and transparency of site energy consumption, efficiency opportunities, equipment performance, operations and reporting functions,” explained Richard Gee, Chief Commercial Officer at BGIS. “In collaboration with our software solutions partner Envizi, we are looking to enable optimisation and efficiencies for our client by using wireless Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to send data on their lighting, common areas, fridges, freezers and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) to our RCC in Adelaide.”
While BGIS’ North American RCC has been servicing clients since 2017, the pilot program with the oil and gas client in Australia marks the expansion of this service to its Asia-Pacific clients.
“RCCs are collaborative environments that are used for more than just managing the day-to-day operations of equipment,” explained Richard. “Our technical specialists and energy engineers can triage any situation remotely and dispatch qualified resources when clients experience issues at their facilities. They can also analyse operational performance, better predict an asset’s life expectancy and quantify the utility consumption and usage data, allowing us to present solutions to our clients that will help them save on operating expenses.”
The pilot program is intended to address several key objectives for BGIS’ client, including energy wastage, equipment maintenance, business risk and staff and customer experience, including store layout, comfort conditions and restroom experience.
“In commercial spaces, issues like faulty HVAC equipment, inefficient start-up and shutdown procedures, as well as overlooked weekend and holiday scheduling issues, can often go unnoticed or unaddressed,” said Richard. “Our solution of low-cost, IoT sensors to access real-time equipment performance, energy consumption and building environmental data, is ideal for portfolios that span multiple regions, with large teams and non-uniform HVAC and lighting control systems, as it provides a means to not only view and modify performance data remotely, but also consolidate existing building automation systems platforms into a common portal.”
While the pilot program is still underway, early results have been encouraging. “We envision a future state of unified benchmarking and analytical tools to measure the impact of maintenance and efficiency practices across the portfolio, and inform best-practice strategies and reduced operating costs,” said Richard.
“In many ways, the RCC is the nerve centre of an operation, and has been evolving in capability to handle an increasing number of tasks. BGIS’ RCC offering is a comprehensive approach to not only improve energy efficiency, but also reduce operational, maintenance, and capital expenses for our customers – all while minimising disruption at the site level.”
“Additionally, the RCC is capable of monitoring Business Continuity Planning (BCP) issues that could impact basic operations, such as critical infrastructure malfunctions, logistics interruptions due to national and local security complications, and weather.”
Given the potential for value creation, BGIS believes the RCC will become an increasingly important service to all its clients. Indeed, benefits are maximised through integrating the RCC with BGIS’ FM and trade services. In this sense, the technology will inevitably lead to significant and industry-wide change to the way in which facilities management and maintenance services are delivered across all assets and portfolio types.