Just as the country hit winter, and even Queenslanders were spotted wearing long sleeves, the prospect of power blackouts started making news. The collision between high demand and short supply led to operators asking some of the biggest energy consumers to cut back.
Supply problems, though, aren’t the only reason that households and businesses alike are trying to rein in their energy use. Much of the world has already seen a sharp rise in costs, with UK household prices increasing by a reported 54%, largely prompted by the war in Ukraine disrupting usual supply. While Australia hopes to sidestep the worst of the pain felt in Europe, businesses are already feeling the squeeze. Some, though, are turning to smart space technologies to ease cost pressures, as well as to reduce their environmental impact.
Much of the initial emphasis of smart spaces has been on welcoming employees back to healthier offices more responsive to their needs. Leading the way, connected sensors from Meraki, a Cisco company, that monitor temperature and humidity, two key factors in the spread of viruses including COVID-19, and connected smart cameras with built in motion analytics tools. In terms of security and employee wellbeing, the easily installed smart devices already pay their way but early adopters have shown that energy savings are more than just the icing on the cake.
We place a lot of value on getting to know our customer environments as well as we know our own, and this is one of the reasons why: no matter how well a vendor, even one as insightful as Meraki, develops a product, it is in intimately knowing the way a business works that the real-world magic happens. While one business might make the bulk of its savings by making cooling methods in the data centre more efficient, another might automate building lights or refrigeration needs.
What we do know is that the combination of both sensors and smart cameras seems to give the greatest gains in most cases. For example, a sensor might give real-time information about conditions in a data centre, and the data that is fed into the Meraki console will allow the administrator to identify patterns. This allows cooling needs to be better understood. The camera, though, will let the administrator see that a temperature anomaly happens because somebody props open the door while they go about their work. While that’s a simple example, the various data sources can not only be combined, but also used to trigger automated processes that improve energy efficiency in an organisation’s buildings. Since buildings represent 40% of energy use globally, that is no mean feat.
The cameras and sensors themselves are Wi-Fi connected neatly to the Meraki environment. If you’ve ever wrestled with the complex process of integrating IoT devices, you’ll know that having a system set up in minutes, and without cursing under your breath at least once or twice, is something new. The R&D team at Meraki has done most of the work for you to get started. That said, there is inevitably some advantage to investing some time in extra analysis of how your own organisation can extract the best value from these smart devices, and revisiting to fine-tune your set-up a couple of months after initial installation. They may be smart but the human element, in the form of someone who really knows your business, is still an essential ingredient.
Data#3 and Meraki have a long history together in delivering safe work and learning environments, improving connectivity and enriching the experience of your employees. Get in touch with a Data#3 Meraki specialist today to request a free demonstration.
Tags: Cisco, Cisco Meraki, Data Security, Data Strategy, Data#3, Digital Transformation, Internet of Things (IoT), Smart City