Note: This is the first in a series of blogs about the functionality and potential of custom end user apps for nontechnical owners or managers of commercial buildings.
With the increased prevalence of the IoT – the merging of physical assets (OT) with services (IT) via the web – our everyday lives have become more connected, convenient and simplified. The prolific tools connecting us to all that information are mobile apps.
While earlier concerns about lack of wireless communication standards and privacy issues are becoming less of a mystery, mobile apps are rapidly putting convenience and efficiency at our fingertips. In fact, Nielson found that among the nearly 4 billion mobile users worldwide, 89% spend their time using mobile apps versus just 11% using their mobile devices to access the web. In its IoT 2020 Business Report, Schneider Electric found 2 out of 3 organizations plan to implement IoT solutions via mobile applications in 2016.
50 billion connected devices by 2020 – and counting*
Most often, we think of using apps to monitor and control the independent systems for connected devices in our homes, such as smart thermostats, lighting systems or door locks. Apps are now also commonplace for all types of businesses – from large corporations to small ‘mom & pop’ shops, as well as in commercial and institutional buildings.
Usually individual apps have their own identities, but if they are created by different vendors, it’s difficult to maintain consistency in the look, feel and functionality. You may need several functions performed within a single app for buildings with multiple functions, such as in commercial offices, multi-unit dwellings, hotels or healthcare facilities. Finding app resources to manage a few services – let alone all services – in a single app has been a challenge – until now. Learn more about an app solution that permits building occupants to gain access to all available services from their mobile devices, called AdaptiApps, in this video.
One app, multiple services
Let’s take an example of a high-end apartment complex with dozens of units targeting an active and affluent demographic. One way to differentiate the building in this competitive (and high margin, might I add) market is to offer a customized and unique experience to each resident. This experience takes the form of a custom end user app that allows access to all connected equipment and services available in the occupants’ environment from a single branded app.
This app becomes a simple, straightforward point of contact directly with each resident 24/7 via his or her mobile device. It includes not only the obvious and expected remote functions of room temperature, lighting and multimedia control, but also all others types of services that ease daily life, such as scheduling laundry, cleaning or maintenance services, ordering groceries or restaurant meals, calling transportation, and more. And the app functions can be customized further depending on the occupants’ needs and preferences.
Because apps for commercial buildings now can be designed and built by a single resource, it has a consistent look, feel and delivery. It is also created with the company’s relevant branding aesthetics (logo, colors, images, and more). So in addition to increasing occupant satisfaction, the app helps the building owner or management company differentiate itself while increasing customer loyalty and enhancing brand recognition.
Until now, there has not been an affordable solution that could accommodate the complexity or versatility of a single app with multiple functions. Now that we looked at accessing and aggregating IoT data, in my next blogs I’ll address how nontechnical professionals can create apps for their customers’ end users, and explain what actually goes into app development. In the meantime, let us know how mobile apps have affected your business for the better! You can also read about adaptable mobile apps for healthcare facilities in this blog.