What is Integrated Operational Technology? Cameron Exley from GEG to talk about how integrating technology into the facility can be a long-term cost-effective solution.
Often confused with Information Technology, OT is the focus on behaviours and outcomes. Most control systems employed across industrial and manufacturing installations in the past weren’t networked. The result? Siloed specialised devices, each electronic, but lacking the ability to communicate or share information with one another. This results in human operators to bridge these gaps.
Traditionally the OT environment has been sold as individual products. This includes CCTV systems, air conditioning and purifying, lighting, the list goes on. It was individual things that helped the operations of the building. But, with the tech advances, it’s turning into an interesting space. The whole concept of Master Systems Integrator (MSI) was born and is starting to mature.
As an example, building managers and facility managers have been looking at air quality sensors a lot recently. With the pandemic and less bodies in the office, air quality has become so important, in addition to temperature. Integrating operational technology will help with this: air quality sensors will talk to the air conditioner and improve comfort and efficiency, it will then measure the air quality, including particulate matter that includes VOCs and CO2 levels in the air and report back on the air quality. Customers are looking for things to operate holistically, and this is where we can assist. The newly appointed roles are to make sure that a single environment of technology ecosystem is created.
At GEG, there is a focus on four outcomes for building’s tenants. These are:
There has always been some hesitation when it comes to adopting new technology. However, Exley sees this hesitation changing. The technology is coming down to an affordable price point now – tenants are able to see this as an affordable and worthwhile investment. There used to be no data to prove that there were savings to be had, but now there’s ways to prove that retroactively fitting things can (and will) be cost effective.
The industry is becoming more technology forward, and this is the way of the future.
Cameron Exley is the Head of Technology Commercialisation at Grosvenor Engineering Group.