Smart buildings and AI automation are the future of our built environments, processing oceans of data for better decisions.

Cleaner, faster, more responsive, a vision and constant demand for innovation through technology. Advancements in all areas take place every year at a rapid rate. AI came out of the woodwork to take the world by storm, still in the infancy stage. 

This technology empowers businesses with insights and control over their building portfolio. Smart buildings are connected systems on an IoT network automated to optimize performance and utilization based on sensors. 

These networks often include: 

  • HVAC 
  • Lighting 
  • Air conditioning  
  • Energy & emissions 
  • Occupancy  
  • Elevators 
  • Key card systems  

Smart buildings are becoming more popular as property managers and facilities teams see the value in these efficiency upgrades and related cost savings. While many smart buildings are new buildings, older buildings with smart networks are not uncommon. 

Sustainability is often a core draw of businesses to smart buildings. And with these IoT-connected networks supporting sustainability efforts, companies are integrating these networks more and more.  

Not only are they green, but the data from automation sensors on building metrics like occupancy or energy usage give business leaders and property managers the big picture of their workplace. 

Often, the data that fuels these sustainability adjustments and that comes from workplace sensors can drive cost-saving initiatives over time. Changes to heating or lighting schedules based on workplace occupancy sensors, energy bills and emissions will drop accordingly.  


Greener emissions, more sustainable operations, energy-efficient lightbulbs, energy efficiency.  

All these areas are standard sustainability goals for organizations and businesses trying to achieve green certification.  

Buildings and real estate account for a third of emissions, and mitigation often starts with the facilities and systems inside the buildings.  

Tying together systems and assets across a portfolio through an intelligent IoT network for more efficient energy use and automation can make a significant impact on emissions. Sometimes, up to 25% improvements with smart technologies. 

Initiatives to guarantee smart building success are underway in Canada, with Government action to integrate smart buildings into energy management and systems control in Federal Government buildings.  

Proactive decisions like the smart building initiative can see managers benefit from decreases in energy consumption while providing data benchmarks on whether emissions and energy use are trending in the right direction. 

Mandates like the Greening Government Mandate from the Federal Government receive significant support from smart buildings, aiming to have a net-zero portfolio by 2050. Smart building networks can help accelerate these plans with data tracking and automation for relevant systems. 

Data Collection 

Portfolio-wide IoT networks have immense benefits when it comes to collecting data. Data on systems and facilities operations drives adjustments in smart building automation.  

Horizant has seen partners like the Government of Saskatchewan use energy bills as benchmarks to lower emissions and energy use. With smart building technologies, they could take it a step further.  

Smart building technologies can adjust energy utilization and turn off systems based on data from accompanying systems like badge scans & sensors that track occupancy. With data from these areas, knowing when spaces are in use or vacant, automation handles turning them on/off and the proper energy levels.  

Using time of day to adjust lighting and air conditioning levels is a commonly cited benefit, ultimately saving businesses on energy expenses over the long run. 

Cloud analytics behind automation makes these adjustments with accessible data to avoid data siloes and inefficient decisions. Data silos are the most cited roadblock in real property decision-making. Integrating smart building networks with platforms like Archibus that house data on space occupancy and maintenance can help smart buildings make the proper adjustments. 

Efficiency Upgrades  

“Efficiency upgrades” will grab the attention of facilities managers everywhere. Smart buildings allow systems and facilities outputs, energy use, and maintenance schedules to be automated. Automating this leaves more time for staff to focus on more pressing matters and work on the systems themselves to prevent downtime.  

If things can run smoother, operate longer, and avoid downtime or expensive repairs, you will likely take that upgrade. With constant surveillance of systems and machine learning, smart buildings can adjust areas based on real-time demand and alert facilities managers when conditions drop below a pre-defined point.  

Run for longer, smoother, and without downtime, thanks to automation. 

Automation as the future  

We’re in the age of automation. AI & machine learning are beginning to solidify their place in every industry in some capacity. Advancements in automation have brought efficiency upgrades to every business, and facilities management can benefit from these tools while decreasing expenses. 

With the vast amounts of data collected on areas like asset and facilities management, impactful decision-making can be complex. AI can integrate with existing IWMS tools that contain the data and use it to self-regulate outputs and inform management on maintenance requirements. 

Automation galvanizes our capacity to analyze and leverage data in the workplace. Organizations often need help with siloed or too much data, resulting in decision-making bottlenecks. AI and automation, like IoT networks, can shoulder the weight of data analysis for organizations to implement efficiency upgrades.  

Automation can take data history on facilities’ maintenance and repairs to predict when maintenance is needed to prevent repairs or damage. When fed into smart buildings, as mentioned, this transforms processes, so the only work left is the actual maintenance work. 

Streamlining the ocean of data that comes with smart buildings, IoT, and IWMS platforms with AI transforms the job of facilities management. Automation takes it one step further past what IWMS tools do with reporting and data collection, scheduling maintenance or readying reports/tasks based on previous data.  

Interesting uses and innovations for the application of AI in facilities management are emerging, with articles like this from Forbes on AI and digital transformation in FM

We’re still away from entirely autonomous building analytics and self-repairing systems. As smart buildings become the standard for new buildings and their associated technology improves and innovates using AI, we can see incredible leaps in what we can do with data.  

Physical workplaces and asset management could look different than it does today. Much like entering a room with motion-activated lighting, the experience with a workplace or facilities management could become just as hands-off.  

About Horizant

Data is at the core of workplace innovation and asset management. An IWMS that captures and presents data in customizable dashboards and reporting makes data a core part of decision-making. Horizant helps take that data and turn it into actionable steps to create a better workplace for your team.  

We are working with over 30 Government of Canada departments, Universities and private sector firms to bring agile, people-first solutions to the workplace.  

Contact Us for a free consultation or to learn more about IWMS.