Recently there has been a lot in the press about “big data.” Big data comprises government and business servers that are collecting and analyzing massive amounts of data on everything from weather to web browsing, shopping habits to emails, on to phone calls and more. While there are some very valid concerns about data privacy in general, the use of big data has resulted in big benefits. Results include improved storm forecasts, tailored web searches and shopping, and improvements in national security. Businesses are using these tools to better understand their customers and to make decisions on products and services.
In buildings, we also have a large amount of data available. Within the BAS, we have data such as temperatures, humidity and CO2 levels, pres-sures, power usage, schedules and alarms. Other information such as energy usage and weather may also be in the BAS, but it more likely exists in spreadsheets or on websites. Just think about the “other information” that exists in a commercial building. This may include information about lease terms, recommended maintenance practices, information on the use of elevators and parking garages, and a trove of other valuable data. Today, the only place that this data comes together is with the building engineer. Their ability to find (much less process) this information is limited to their available time and energy as they deal with the many challenges of operating a large building.