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Virgin is on the money with smart building investment

October 03, 2017 by John Hatcher
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Virgin is on the money with smart building investment

Making the decision to invest in your building can be a tough choice. Is it to save money, cut down energy usage or improve the occupants environment? If you can manage all three, plus achieve objectives such as planned maintenance schedules then making your building smarter has to be a task worth undertaking.

This was a decision that Brian Shepherdson, manager of property and facilities management at Virgin Money had to make two years ago. Virgin Money is large campus in the north east with around 3000 employees and had operated in a very traditional way. Brian had been tasked with finding a better way to manage the maintenance of the campus and at this point began speaking to Honeywell Building Solutions about Outcome Based Services and started to trial the scheme in one of the campus' building's. Paul Mason, European digital services leaders at Honeywell Building Solutions, explained: “Traditionally, technicians physically respond to service requests and react to issues after they’ve happened, all the while having little time to understand how the building is actually performing. With this new service, we are helping deliver the outcomes customers want for their building.”
The system itself is a an easy to use and understand platform that is connected to the buildings BMS and does not involve installation of additional sensors across the estate. Its software uses algorithms to analyse the data across the BMS and extract operational data. The dashboard then becomes intuitive with time and and can predict problems in the buildings assets before they occur and then generates an automatic workflow for the facilities team. This predictability saves a lot of time and means that the team is now proactive rather than reactive.
“Outcome Based Service enables us to use real-time data and cloud-based dashboards to evaluate how our facilities are performing, predict problems and to improve maintenance activities,” Brian said. “With this service, we are already improving our building equipment, comfort and energy performance. We are seeing reduced reactive service calls and improved employee experiences in the facility.”
The Honeywell system is BMS agnostic, so can work with any existing system and Paul says that this is great for facilities managers, "Lots of people have no visibility of their system. By giving them this dashboard FM's can control costs and proactively manage their facility."
Another system that has been introduced is Pulse for Connected Buildings, an app that creates a real-time link between facility and engineering staff and their buildings, in order to boost productivity and performance. "The app works a bit like a Whatsapp group and gives us real time data on a fault and means that staff can collaborate on a job and not duplicate work. We have been able to exchange information on what's been done and it has been very effective. We also have the ability to set up pre-defined user groups so the right people have the right information," added Brian.
Virgin Money is planning to roll out booth Outcome Based Services and Pulse across the entire campus, and from the trial period, Brian knows that it will improve productivity and improve the employee experience. Maybe now is the time that you take a look at a smarter way to manage your estate.

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