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Nick CooperEMAIL INTERVIEWNick Cooper and Ken Sinclair

Nick Cooper, Field Services Director UK & I EcoBuildings Business, Schneider Electric

Nick Cooper brings over 25 years of experience leading sales and operations within the M&E, FM and building services sectors. He has managed system sales businesses with successful year on year growth, specialising in analytical software and all aspects of demand side management that focus the end user on energy savings and ROI across their sites.

Nick earned a Master’s Degree in Business Management at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers (CIBSE). Married with three children, he enjoys yoga, playing the drums and watching football and junior athletics.

Currently, Nick is seeking a new and exciting opportunity with prospective employees who will benefit from his sales and operational experience in the ELV sector.

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Expert Advice for Facility Managers Seeking Building Analytics in their Facilities

Seek a managed software as a service (MSaaS) vendor to combine the power of SaaS solutions with the oversight of remote engineering experts.

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SinclairLet’s start with the basics: What is a modern or intelligent building management system (BMS)?

Cooper:  A BMS enables facility managers to monitor and control its installed mechanical and electrical equipment, things like HVAC, lighting, power, fire or security, etc. What makes a BMS modern is its ability to integrate all of these disparate systems to provide a holistic view of the facility leveraging features like connected services plug-ins and analytics software. In today’s progressively digitised and interconnected world, these features are able to harness the mass amount of building data generated by a BMS to provide meaningful, actionable information

SinclairTell me more about building analytics software… what does it allow a facility manager to do?
Cooper:  As I mentioned before, building analytics software complements the BMS because it takes the critical next step of interpreting the data – showing not just where by why inefficiencies occur. Best-in-class building analytics software automatically trends energy and equipment use, identifies faults, provides root-cause analysis and prioritises opportunities for improvement based on cost, comfort and maintenance impact. This resulting “actionable information” informs troubleshooting, preventative maintenance and even some more complex operational challenges.

When it comes to the benefits that building analytics software can deliver to a facility manager, the sky is the limit. Even with huge budgets and a full engineering team covering the building 24/7, it is not humanly possible to gather, analyse and interpret all of the data generated by a facility. And why would you want to? This would leave little to no time to do anything about the data collected. The analytics software enhances facility management teams, helping to fill knowledge and resource gaps. More importantly, it provides clear prioritised recommendations for optimising building assets. The recommendations are based on statistical analysis, performance trending and automated diagnostics. This approach drives results that are designed to maximise building performance and comfort while lowering costs – enabling facility management teams and their buildings to perform at optimum levels.

SinclairWhat kinds of building analytics options are available on the market today?

Cooper:  Even though analytics are fairly new to the industry, there are several choices currently available. Knowing priorities, budget and staffing levels in advance will help ease the selection process. To give you a quick bird’s eye view, I’ll focus on the pros and cons of four fundamental options to consider when incorporating building analytics into a facility:

  1. Building a customised solution specifically for, and integrated with, the building system. While this affords complete flexibility, it can also be costlier.
  2. Embed analytics within the BMS’ existing hardware and software. This is a great option for new construction, but it can become challenging during retrofits or upgrades.
  3. Pay for software as a service (SaaS) building analytics as a cost-effective way to customise a solution to meet specific building needs. However, the downside is that they require resources to manage, interpret, analyze and act on the data. This can be a real barrier for bare bones facility management teams.
  4. Seek a managed software as a service (MSaaS) vendor to combine the power of SaaS solutions with the oversight of remote engineering experts.

SinclairMSaaS seems like it could be the best of both worlds, tell me more.

Cooper:  MSaaS combines SaaS analytics solutions with the oversight of remote engineering experts. In this type of solution, remote engineers would work with facility managers to understand their financial and performance goals. Then engineering analysts use the insights from the analytics to remotely troubleshoot issues and identify energy savings opportunities, enabling them to deliver recommendations for upgrade/repair/maintenance based on previously stated priorities.

This combination of analytics software and engineering expertise can really drive significant results. Facility managers have all the information they need, and their staff is completely focused on doing the right thing at the right time. The MSaaS analytics solution can be made accessible to all building vendors, saving time and making building services more effective. And the data can be leveraged to improve vendor management by ensuring issues are fully resolved by utilising analytic findings and monitoring capabilities to ensure issues do not reappear.

SinclairWhat does a facility manager need to consider before seeking an MSaaS vendor?

Cooper:  I suggest considering the following five building analytics solution features a requirement for your next MSaaS vendor:

  1. An advanced fault detection and diagnosis (aFDD) library that can be quickly adapted to the building through mass customisation
  2. Regular detailed reports that prioritise fault findings based on comfort, energy savings and maintenance impact
  3. A scalable, flexible software platform that can handle the consumption of billions of data points for a single building or an entire enterprise
  4. Open software protocols that allow integration with all third-party building automation systems to maximize efficiency and ease of installation
  5. A global presence and history of industry expertise in building management

To learn more about the implications of missing one of these features, read my blog post that goes into further detail.

SinclairGiven advances like MSaaS analytic solutions and intelligent BMS, what does this mean for the future of building services?

Cooper:  The industry is acknowledging that a shift is needed from reactive to predictive service models, encouraged by the digitisation of BMS and services. This is something that every facility manager, service organization and building owner needs to be aware of. The shift should be guided by future-minded service professionals at all levels. This is something that I have personal experience in delivering to the industry and am currently seeking to offer to companies and organisations interested in benefitting from my experience in this space.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to optimize your building using analytics and engineering expertise, this white paper is a great resource.


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