Energy management has traditionally posed a challenge for organizations managing physical spaces. Power outages – particularly those caused by old or faulty equipment – are costly and difficult to predict. Energy waste is a vexing problem, because plant managers know they’re throwing money away on heat and air conditioning, but they can’t pinpoint the precise sources of inefficiency and take corrective action. Nor can they demonstrate adherence to sustainability guidelines.
Obviously, energy costs are a major expenditure for many industries. Hotels, for example, spend an average of $2,196 a room each year, which translates to 6 percent of operating costs. Traditional energy strategies focus on basics such as more efficient lighting, regular maintenance and training of staff. While these measures can help, innovative enterprises are exploring how the enhanced capabilities of cloud-based Energy Management Solutions (EMS) can raise the bar of energy efficiency.
An EMS deploys smart, connected assets and devices to continually collect, analyze and share data. The result is a detailed level of insight into how energy assets operate, how facilities consume energy and where sources of waste and inefficiency can be found. These insights, in turn, can dramatically improve the reliability of heating and cooling systems, reduce costs and enhance sustainability.
What’s particularly intriguing is how improved energy management can lay the groundwork for a broader Internet of Things (IoT) strategy. Specifically, by leveraging energy management solutions and multi-device integration , enterprises can expand their scope of operational improvement, as well as deliver strategic benefits such as an enhanced and personalized customer experience.
Consider the opportunities for these four industry sectors:
- For a retailer, EMS sensors that monitor temperature and movement can link to a Smart Store’s analytics around customer sentiment to adjust lighting and sound to correspond to shoppers’ moods.
- An EMS can help manufacturers understand how energy use impacts its production costs at a granular level. By connecting devices on electricity and water meters, for example, a beer maker can precisely calculate the amount and cost of water and electricity needed to produce a bottle of beer. Those metrics can then be applied to a comparative analysis across the brewer’s global operations to identify best practices.
- Smart devices that monitor temperature in a restaurant can connect to other devices that monitor kitchen equipment such as fryers and refrigerators, creating an opportunity to improve kitchen practices and management of perishables and reduce waste.
- For hotels seeking to deliver a unique guest experience, EMS sensors are essential to executing a customer-focused data analytics strategy that, for example, adjusts room temperatures and lighting to a customer’s preferred settings.
A focus on the Internet of Things and energy management can also help businesses develop a practical, results-oriented IoT strategy, one that focuses on measurable quick wins – reducing energy costs – while building momentum and buy-in for a long-term strategy.