Detect Signs of Problems and Quickly Support Recovery
“Building maintenance” means keeping buildings safe for use for a long period of time by inspecting and managing the buildings and equipment installed inside. It covers a wide range of tasks. Maintaining lifelines, such as elevators, water systems and security equipment, and cleaning and maintaining aesthetic and hygiene environments are just a few examples. The objective is to preserve buildings as valuable assets by maintaining their safe and reliable environments.
In building maintenance, quickly detecting and reliably recovering equipment problems are important. Many IoT-enabled building equipment monitoring systems currently in place, however, are not capable of supporting prompt recovery; they only detect signs of equipment problems and send automatic notifications concerning these problems.
Another issue regarding building maintenance is the shortage of experienced, knowledgeable workers. Therefore, there is a growing need for systems that can quickly restore equipment functions regardless of workers’ skill levels.
Technical Partnership between Fujitsu, Taisei and Studist
Under these circumstances, Fujitsu, Taisei Co,.Ltd and Studist Corporation have combined their technologies and expertise to create a new, IoT-enabled building equipment monitoring system for improving the efficiency of building maintenance tasks. They then jointly tested its effectiveness (*). Fujitsu and Studist had previously explored opportunities to work together for the Fujitsu Accelerator Program (**), and this experience led them to jointly test the monitoring system.
Roles of each company in the joint testing were as follows. Fujitsu supplied the K5 IoT Platform (***). This cloud service platform provides various capabilities that allow real-time and efficient handling of a huge volume of sensor data from people and objects. Taisei contributed its building maintenance expertise. Studist provided Teachme Biz, which is a cloud platform for creating and sharing image-based or video-based manuals. To collect data from people and objects, Choi Logger (****) was installed. It measured the temperature, vibration, etc. of the target air conditioning equipment.
By combining technologies, products, and expertise as described above, these companies created a building equipment monitoring system. The system was designed to detect abnormalities in building equipment and automatically send out an instruction manual to address the abnormalities. Of special note in this process is Teachme Biz. Its document creation feature enables easy production of a manual or procedure matching the situation on a smartphone or tablet. This feature has reduced the time needed to create procedures to 20% of that normally needed. Currently, 1,600 companies across Japan are using Teachme Biz as a platform for creating and sharing business operation manuals/procedures.
*: The system was tested at Yusen Building from October 13, 2016 to March 31, 2017 with the cooperation of Yusen Real Estate Corporation.
**: A program created by combining techniques and products by an innovative startup and products, solutions and services by the Fujitsu Group. The aim of the program is to offer new value to society through open innovation.
***: The official product name is FUJITSU Cloud Service K5 IoT Platform.
****: A multi-functional compact sensor developed jointly by Fujitsu Advanced Engineering Limited and FDK. The sensor can measure acceleration, orientation, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure and illuminance.
With the Proven Effectiveness of the IoT, the System Increases Work Efficiency and Expands Coverage Area per Worker by 1.5 Times
The test demonstrated that the building equipment monitoring system allowed real-time monitoring of the air conditioner operational state in the Yusen Building for a long period of time, which was approximately six months.
The three companies also tested the Teachme Biz features. First, they set the monitoring system to detect a normal operational state as an abnormal state. Then, they observed whether a simplified manual prepared for this test was appropriately sent out. As a result, a manual that matched the equipment problem was successfully transmitted. While there have already been systems that detect abnormalities, the characteristics of this monitoring system are detection of abnormalities and quick transmission of a suitable manual for addressing them.
The automatic manual transmission feature will allow even inexperienced workers to address problems in wider areas. To estimate the effectiveness of this feature, Fujitsu, Taisei and Studist calculated the building area which a single worker could cover. According to the estimate, this feature would increase the area that a worker could cover by 50%. As a result, it will not only improve onsite work efficiency but also allow the provision of services to prevent equipment failure and restore equipment operation quickly in the case of such a failure.
Based on the test results, the three companies will procced with commercializing the building equipment monitoring system with the aim of improving building maintenance efficiency and service quality. To generate IoT-enabled services, Fujitsu believes it is important to build an ecosystem by collaborating with companies with distinctive strengths. The joint test was meaningful for Fujitsu because it led to the accumulation of system collaboration know-how.
Going forward, it is anticipated that advancing building maintenance work achieved with IoT-enabled building equipment monitoring systems will improve building asset quality levels and expand their areas of use.