Internet of Things

As we discussed in our last blog post, about half of all commercial buildings in the United States were constructed nearly 40 years ago—meaning they’re old and in fairly poor shape. While services like retro-commissioning are incredibly useful in helping these buildings become more energy-efficient and comfortable for occupants, Internet of Things (IoT) technology should also be considered as a major player in transforming your building automation system (BAS) to ultimately work for your building, employees and bottom line.

Why your Facilities Manager may be hesitant to make the switch to IoT

Even if a facility may be old, your facilities manager can argue that it is still (mostly) fully functional, and would not require a total upgrade to IoT technology to manage its operations. If a building’s HVAC, lighting, fire protection, and other systems operate just fine without connecting to an external network (aka IoT), then why mess with a system that isn’t broken?

There is also a misconception that IoT is designed to replace BAS rather than support it, which simply isn’t true. As Dave Fisher of Polarsoft puts it in this article,

“[Buildings] have expensive, energy-using equipment, and lots of it. That equipment contains many individual microcomputer-based control devices that control and manage all kinds of different physical, mechanical equipment, lighting, security, life-safety, laboratories, etc… What we would like to do is to allow programs outside of the facility to have access to information, and possibly even provide high-level goals, to controllers within the facility. In other words, to allow external programs to make use of our treasure of information [for purposes like] data mining, maintenance, optimization, planning, etc. "

How IoT can improve employee satisfaction, retention and productivity

Even if a building seems to be doing “just fine” at a surface level (comfort, maintenance, energy usage, etc.), it’s probably failing to meet goals of providing a healthy, safe, sustainable, and pleasant working and/or living environment for its occupants. By implementing IoT technology into your BAS, you can improve all of these aspects of your building and then some.

Comfort Levels

By integrating IoT software into your BAS, you can more easily (and remotely) control temperature and humidity in your facility to coordinate with the schedule, preferences, and other needs of occupants—setting the stage for a consistent work environment for optimal productivity.


There will be times when your mechanical or electrical equipment fails. With IoT, facilities managers are made aware of these malfunctions early on so that your maintenance team can get on the issue right away, leaving little-to-no downtime for your facility. This will save you time, money and resources in the long run.

Energy Consumption

Believe it or not, buildings account for 40% of global GHG emissions []. But, according to a study conducted by Texas Instruments, as reported by Telit, advanced HVAC and lighting IoT solutions helped cut energy use by 40%—just from sensor controls alone. This proves that integrating IoT into your BAS can make a significant impact on energy consumption.

IoT Product Spotlight: Ascent Compass by Alerton

Alerton is an industry leader in building automation, with solutions for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment, as well as integrating fire, life safety, lighting, and access management, among others. 

Ascent Compass

Ascent Compass allows users to monitor and control facilities on- or off-site at any time. It incorporates the latest browser technology and is truly the marriage of current technology and building automation. Ascent offers users an unparalleled user experience with its powerful, user-friendly interface which is advanced yet intuitive, saving you time for employee training and troubleshooting.

Features & Benefits:

  • OmniZoom makes data easier to view and manage functions on any size display screen
  • Ability to fully manage schedules from web user interface allows easy access to manage building’s upcoming activity
  • Embedded DataViewer reduces time spent viewing system data and troubleshooting
  • Enables drop-in apps to keep up with your facility’s continuous upgrades and operational improvements

Interested in integrating IoT into your BAS?

Control Solutions is a proud distributor of the Alerton Ascent Product Line, including Ascent Compass, Ascent Microset4, and Ascent Control Module. Our team is highly knowledgeable and experienced in IoT and all things related to building automation systems. Contact us today to set up an appointment!


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