As a history buff, I was thrilled to tour France this summer on vacation. As we toured the chateaus, monuments and buildings that have stood as witnesses to thousands of years of history, I couldn’t help but wonder what these buildings could tell me if they could talk.

The same questions apply when I walk into buildings today. For today’s buildings, the question has to do more with what can the building’s infrastructure share about its safety and security, energy sustainability and occupancy usage.

Contemporary software based facilities systems produce a staggering amount of data, from surveillance and video analytics to access control, building automation, wireless networking and sensors. Infrastructure data can tell you where people are in the building, temperature in multiple locations and energy consumption at a varying levels within the facility. Sensors provide traffic and usage patterns, door access, room utilization, waiting room occupancy, and bandwidth usage patterns within the facility.

If you want to know it, you most likely just have to listen carefully.

Moving beyond legacy applications

Despite technology upgrades, many systems still operate in a legacy capacity— tracking one specific point of data and operating in a silo. For example, video surveillance is most often in place to review what happened after the fact — whether it’s a breach in security or a safety concern. However, integrated with video analysis and data from sensors, the system provides a much broader picture of what is happening in real-time and can trigger protocols or alert personnel of emerging situations. This allows organizations to take a proactive approach to issues that come up within the enterprise.

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