Comfort management at work.
KnowNow Information and PCSG’s innovative new app is helping organisations to cut their energy bills while improving the comfort and productivity of their staff. The following is the background story behind how our new app Entelligently evolved, including how it works, its benefits and a call to action.
Key drivers for change
The key driver for a ‘smarter’ form of building management is the huge discrepancy between ‘as-designed’ and ‘in-use’ energy consumption. According to a survey from the National Energy Foundation, which was targeted at facility managers, 75 per cent of respondents stated that improving a building’s energy consumption was a top five organisation priority.
Corporate reputation and attracting and retaining talent are other key drivers for change. The millennials want to work for an organisation that cares both for the people and for the environment. Allied with upcoming changes in building regulation, all demanding a more sustainable building.
Coupled with these drivers are advances in technology at a price point that makes sense. Finally, it is possible to have lots of data, lots of compute resource and useful outcomes, without costing the earth.
Entelligently: How it works
Supported by Innovate UK’s Energy Game Changer fund KnowNow Information embarked on a joint project with PCSG the building sustainability experts. We developed via a trial ‘Entelligently’ (Registered Trade Mark) our app which seeks to optimise energy usage in buildings and minimise power bills. While also maximising the comfort of occupiers and handing them the power to control their environment and wellbeing at work.
Entelligently blends the user generated comfort data, along with realtime weather and sensor data to then predict what the optimum comfort should be. Using this information, over time, and using an appropriate prompt Entelligently interacts with the occupant.
Entelligently, is Building Management System (BMS) agnostic and can be used as an external decision support service, providing either information direct to a facilities manager or the BMS itself. Data collection is secure and uses MQTT & NodeRed to bring all the connections together into a Cloudant NoSQL database. The prediction engine is delivered via IBM Watson Analytics. The webapp uses polymer and is hosted on IBM Cloud. Realtime weather data is from the Weather Company.
For the trial, so as to benchmark the BMS data as well as capture CO2 levels a further data feed from a Netatmo suite of sensors was also used. This involved subscribing to the API and bringing this data in via NodeRed into the database.
Office workers feed information into an easy-to-use app about their comfort levels – whether they feel hot, cold, sleepy etc. To encourage this feedback, they receive what we term ‘smart nudges’ or ‘snudges’.
The snudge provides them with information about how they might feel, depending on the combination of environmental conditions, both now and in the future. It also suggests actions to take to avoid discomfort.
Entelligently: Engaging and influencing
Entelligently provides a ‘snapshot’ of summary information on the app homepage with an instant insight into how the building is performing and the user’s level of comfort compared to others who sit nearby.
This can also engage and influence individuals who are outliers (i.e. expressing views contra to the prevailing trend) to take responsibility for their own comfort and wellbeing, rather than blaming someone else and complaining.
The more data fed into Entelligently, the more ‘intelligent’ it becomes.
The outcome: A more energy efficient building, lower energy bills. Plus happier staff, because they can influence and improve their own comfort and wellbeing (and are doing their bit for the environment). Productivity and job satisfaction also improve.
The wider ambition around this exciting project is to create a step-change in people’s perception of and behaviour towards energy.
“The productivity potential of a workplace is directly affected by its ability to support the wellbeing of its users.” Dr Susie Tomson, PCSG
From a KnowNow perspective, it is important to respect citizens privacy and it is essential that informed consent is captured and data anonymisation is standard. To that end Entelligently uses Consentua for consent management.
The scalability of Entelligently is underpinned by the use of the IBM Cloud. The way the web server is designed means that each new customer has a common portal but tailored to their location. Future versions will allow Entelligently to be used as an API and be embedded in employee & HR platforms.
The reasons for adopting Entelligently are compelling.
On energy alone, research from PCSG shows savings of up to 20 per cent on total energy bills.
Not forgetting the wider benefits – financial and social – to be gained from
improved employee productivity and feelings of satisfaction. In a recent British Council for Offices (BCO) report, Defining and measuring productivity in offices, the value of lost productivity due to poor buildings is said to be on average between £1900 and £2200 per individual
We are now preparing to expand Entelligently into wider markets including shopping centres, hotels and universities.
If you would like your building to be smarter and more productive, we are looking for our next set of early-adopters to enjoy the energy and performance benefits we believe are possible to be realised.
To learn more about this exciting new app, please contact:
Chris.Cooper@kn-i.com – 07967 275 469
David.Patterson@kn-i.com – 023 92 160 640