Sustaining a healthy and safe indoor environment helps you adapt to ever-changing conditions
In late March, we were struck by the number of customers calling in to establish remote access to their building-management systems. As they had to transition as many employees as possible to remote work arrangements, they wanted (and in some cases needed) to enable the same level of functionality for facility engineers and technicians.
For example, facility engineers and technicians had questions about the building: Is the system operating at optimal levels? Are there leaks? Is the equipment functioning? Do we have any dirty filters? Historically, these questions have been answered with in-person, onsite checks—but COVID-19 has changed everything about how we work.
With remote connections enabled, however, our customers understood that technicians, building engineers, or even the Siemens Digital Service Center could monitor what was happening inside the building. It would then be simple to adjust settings and schedules based on occupancy and detect and address any potential issues—all performed remotely. This approach is especially important at a time when about a third of the U.S. workforce continues to work from home, leaving many buildings less occupied but in no less need of continuous monitoring.
Whether your building remains unoccupied or is bustling with activity, the first order is always to minimize your risk exposure, and that may mean—at least for the foreseeable future—minimizing the number of nonessential people in your buildings. Yet you need to maintain situational awareness about the building itself. Unless there’s some point of remote access or connectivity for building operations, situational awareness becomes very difficult to achieve. Establishing remote connectivity to your building systems can alleviate some of the pressures on building operations staff while also minimizing the number of people who must be in the building.
Establishing remote connectivity to your building systems can alleviate some of the pressures on building operations staff while also minimizing the number of people who must be in the building.
As many organizations are creating their return-to-the-workplace playbooks, they’re also looking for new applications and technologies that may help to mitigate this virus and other airborne contaminants. Going forward, continuous monitoring will be essential; if a deviation from optimal air-system performance occurs, it must be identified and addressed in near real-time. Also, because you can do much of your routine monitoring and checks remotely and proactively, when a technician does need to go onsite, they’ll have all the information they need to get in and out as quickly and safely as possible.
And as we look toward the future, it’s easy to see just how important it will be to institutionalize new workflows and technologies, automating them to the extent that it’s possible. That will be key to sustaining a healthy and safe environment so your business can come back, or continue, with confidence.