Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about how much time, energy, and resources it takes to keep an office building running. These days many of us don’t spend any time thinking of office buildings, period.
As businesses look to automate and simplify day-to-day operations, digital transformation becomes a means to that end. Honeywell is taking a leading role in applying digital transformation to next-generation building management.
Honeywell’s “coffee shop” vision
Today I can sit in a coffee shop and manage my home from my smartphone, including security cameras, heating and cooling, garage doors, lighting, and even my sprinkler system.
Honeywell’s vision is one in which a facilities manager could perform all the work that goes into keeping a building functioning and safe - from HVAC systems to lighting to security – all from a coffee shop. But to also add scale to envision a single facilities manager who could perform the same functions as hundreds of people on-site across multiple buildings.
Honeywell Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)
Honeywell, perhaps known best for its residential thermostats, is a leading player in Enterprise Performance Management for Operations Technology, software that will allow companies to collect, analyze and act on data from building operations.
Honeywell Forge converts data from equipment, processes, and people into intuitive, actionable insights that enable monitoring of enterprise operations from a single screen. It has value for operators of buildings, airlines, and industrial facilities.
Honeywell builds hardware like fire panels, smoke detectors, building controllers, and security systems that manage access control and intrusion. Honeywell Forge takes data from these devices and connects them for smart maintenance, security, and management of a building. Additionally, Forge can utilize this data using predictive analytics to improve building performance and care and protect against incoming security threats.
The Honeywell and SAP partnership
Honeywell’s Forge autonomous buildings solution, SAP ERP, and the SAP Cloud for Real Estate solution will provide building operators and facility managers with aggregated financial and operational intelligence across real estate portfolios.
The new solution, Honeywell Forge Real Estate Operations, is a cloud-based SaaS solution that aggregates the financial, employee, and real estate data of SAP with Honeywell’s buildings data and IoT sensor data. It provides new visibility into the performance of real estate portfolios with a dashboard powered by both companies’ cloud platforms with real-time key performance indicators.
The solution provides information about the availability of critical assets, the number of open services cases, and corresponding capital and operational costs. The solution provides visibility into the compliance of safety practices, including indoor air quality and capacity limits and energy consumption metrics to help companies track sustainability goals.
Combined operational technology (OT) and IT data result in a comprehensive picture of the overall financial health of the entire building portfolio to understand underperforming locations and detect trends. The solution also closely monitors the economic impact of operational investments.
Early customer feedback is positive
The new solution, Honeywell Forge Real Estate Operations, is now generally available (GA).
Jasvir Gill, CEO of AlertEnterprise, Inc., commented, “We’ve seen what SAP and Honeywell are doing, combining financial, real estate, & HR data from SAP with building data from Honeywell systems. It is truly innovative. The two companies are looking at the real estate portfolio in a multi-dimensional way conceptually similar to the way we look at security in a multi-dimensional way.”
Today, facility managers are grappling with bringing employees and occupants back to office buildings and how the post-pandemic work schedule will look. It will vary on the industry and type of work, but there are different schools of thought on this, ranging from getting returning the entire workforce back to the office to maintaining a remote workforce to adopting a model somewhere in the middle. To make these critical decisions, facility managers need the data and insights into the occupant experience and financial impact.
Companies must be able to utilize space more efficiently. For example, suppose half of an organization’s workforce works from home while the other half are willing to get back to the offices. In that case, companies can achieve more efficient use of office space with shared desks and huddle rooms. Real estate might decline, but the software required to make the assets more efficient will increase.
The data needed to guide these decisions resides in many different places. Relevant data include energy data from sensors, contract information, and occupant data on who is coming and going and the experience in the workplace—all situated in different silos. And, of course, the locations where this data lives may vary from facility to facility, making matters all that much more difficult. Honeywell is making strides to unify this data into one central location that would allow organizations to make the informed decisions needed to navigate the post-Covid world.
I already believed that Honeywell was a leader in OT. Honeywell’s work with Forge is valuable, as is the company’s efforts to drive a larger conversation around EPM. EPM should be an essential part of any company’s complete digital transformation, and frankly, and quite possibly the most impactful.
Honeywell’s decision to partner with SAP to gain access to a broader range of pertinent real estate data, including energy performance, security, maintenance, rent, taxes, location, regulations, lease terms, and other costs, is a brilliant move.
You can rig the building with sensors, but unless you have a way to synthesize that information into something valuable with actionable insights for decision-makers, the exercise is fruitless. EPM is a great option for businesses to stay competitive in the digitally transformed future. Honeywell, for that matter, seems to be the provider to beat right now.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.