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Can You Trust Your Data? Three Factors for Enhanced Data Reliability and Decision-making in the Era of Digital Transformation

In the era of digital transformation, data is everything to a building manager or owner driven by long-term equipment performance. Building data acts as the fuel to your business operations, allowing you to make informed decisions that can help you reach your goals – whether that includes enhanced equipment output, improved efficiency or occupant comfort. And through the latest innovations in AI and machine learning, data can be mined in greater volumes, meaning these decisions can be made even faster. We now have more data at our fingertips than ever. But while this boom in information is absolutely an example of positive progress, it makes data security and reliability more crucial than ever. With so much depending on this data, how can you ensure it’s trustworthy? How can you guarantee that the decisions you are making are based on dependable and secure information?

Ensuring your data can be trusted and properly implemented for decision-making purposes doesn’t have to be difficult. When auditing your data for this sought-after trustworthiness, there are three factors to keep in mind for reliable decision-making:

Consistent and transparent access

Having consistent access to raw data – whether from a single sensor or from an entire building of integrated systems – is critical to achieving trust. This ability to maintain a transparent pathway to your data allows you to ensure its authenticity and quality every day, especially when time is of the essence, such as during equipment failure or malfunction. Investing in systems management technology that provides this data access and control across all building operations, from HVAC to water usage, gives you unprecedented visibility into your facility’s processes. And through cloud technology, that data can be accessed remotely, ensuring team members have visibility into operations no matter where they are. The right technology means you can access your data when you need it most.

Context that gives data meaning

As important as access to this raw building data is, it is ultimately meaningless in a vacuum. On its own, it provides no insight without context around it to give it value and drive understanding. When presented with the proper context, the full picture can be understood, and the data can be effectively leveraged to make effective decisions.

For instance, raw data from chillers at an office building can show that the facility is inexplicably requiring more energy for HVAC cooling systems on weekends. Without context, managers could safely assume that equipment might be inefficient or malfunctioning. But this data needs context to truly understand it; by cross-referencing with the company’s schedule, they can discover a sales team meets in the building for additional trainings on weekends, thereby requiring additional energy to cool the office. Context gives data meaning and drives intelligent decision making. Ultimately, data can only be as smart as we are; we have to connect the dots to properly understand and it.

A security strategy for reliability

Finally, security must always be a priority in the pursuit of data trustworthiness. When your data is safe and uncompromised, you can trust that the resulting decisions being made are accurate and will contribute to your success. Security implementations can range from two-factor authentication of logins to back-up procedures and storage in case of data loss. What matters is that you have a security strategy in place, and that all team members are unified in this pursuit. Consider bringing in a third-party professional to audit your data’s security and search for potential gaps in your system. They can make recommendations on technology and procedure implementations to ensure you can truly trust that your building data is safe.

Intelligent data powers intelligent decision-making

When these three factors are represented in your data management and analysis strategy – access, context and security – the resulting database is robust and reliable, providing an accurate and holistic view into your building operations. You can trust the data delivered by your facility’s equipment and systems, and therefore can make informed decisions for long-term performance and an improved smart building environment. Because when your data is trustworthy, your resulting decisions are trustworthy too.

About the Author

Sudhi Sinha is Vice President and GM of Digital Solutions at Johnson Controls, focusing on bringing value to customers by reducing costs, minimizing risk and failures, and improving the comfort, health and safety of buildings and its occupants. Through his leadership, Sudhi helps create and commercialize new data-enabled and Internet of Things (IoT) offerings. He has full P&L responsibilities for the business including sales, operations, product management, marketing and technology development functions. In his more than 20 years of experience in business management and engineering, Sudhi has achieved several granted and pending patents in smart building technologies, and has published two books on big data and IoT. Sudhi lives in Milwaukee, Wis., U.S. and holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Production Engineering from Jadavpur University, India.

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