What’s a baker to do? He or she runs a small business, which relies on dependable electrical service. So, the baker needs to know about any electrical problem as quickly as possible. Then he can react, minimizing any disruption and maximizing efficiency.
The situation is the same for the butcher and candlestick maker, to complete the trio found in the nursery rhyme. In that same boat are small supermarkets and schools, which along with other similarly sized concerns make up the majority of commercial buildings.
What the owners and tenants of these buildings want – and need – are such capabilities as
- Monitoring of the electrical installation
- Alarming, say when equipment is abnormally switched off
- Tracking energy consumption for better energy efficiency, for example
- Scheduling to cycle lights on or off or to run heating/air conditioning as desired
All of this has to happen even though the business owner is away, either while working or taking a well-deserved holiday. They need to stay connected to their electrical installation to run a business more efficiently and for total peace of mind.
This can be done with a full blown commercial Building Management System, a BMS. Unfortunately, the buildings we’re talking about here are too small to be practical for a BMS.
That’s a problem.
So, what’s the solution? Well, ideally it would be something simple. For one thing, business owners don’t have time for a complicated system.
A solution should also be comprehensive. By that, I mean it should monitor every piece of electrical gear – compressors, fans, heaters, lighting, and so on. Then you can monitor, set alarms and create schedules as needed. Say a circuit breaker trips for a freezer in the middle of the night. Who wouldn’t want to know that immediately? Or say that you’ve been away and now want to turn ovens and lights back on for a quicker startup. That would be useful.
By gathering and presenting that kind of information, a solution would save money through energy management and by helping reduce unexpected downtime. It also would make operations more efficient.
A solution has to be affordable. Small buildings house small businesses, which means any system can’t cost too much to purchase, install, or use.
An optimum solution would go in the electrical panel. It’s a central location that ties all the electrical assets in a building together.
And it should be accessible with an app on a smartphone. Then you can get alarms and notifications remotely.
Remote access and visibility into what’s going on would provide peace-of-mind, something of value that’s hard to put a price tag on. To see why, consider a business owner at the beach on vacation. How does she know that a circuit breaker hasn’t tripped while she’s sitting by the sea, spoiling her dough and costing money? She doesn’t now but could, with the right solution.
And if that solution also enabled control, then she could do more than just know about a problem. She could take steps to solve it by, for instance, contacting an electrician to check into the problem and fix it. She would end up running her business more efficiently.
For an example of one such solution, look at our EcoStruxure Facility Expert for Small Business solution. It reads status and energy values of critical electrical parameters, communicating this data to a secure server in the cloud where it can be accessed by end users on a smartphone through the app, Facility Expert SB. It’s downloadable from the most popular app stores. It’s a solution tailored to small buildings like the ones we’ve been talking about. Click here to read more about our customer success stories.