Is Your Facility Data Ready to Work? The Benefits of Asset Tagging

Jamie Daubenspeck

In every industry and every channel, modern businesses are using data to drive action in amazing ways. From new “smart buildings” to the Internet of Things to increasingly sophisticated analytic tools, we’re finding opportunities to leverage data’s ability to provide us with unprecedented insight into our facilities and operations.

When it comes to data-driven services, however, the output is only as good as the information fueling it. You may have sophisticated systems in place generating large amounts of data, but is it truly usable? How does the data from a store in Detroit align with the data from a similar store in rural Florida? With many of Ecova’s clients generating millions of data points every day, normalizing all of this data is a critical prerequisite to actually putting it to work.

This challenge becomes more pronounced when managing multiple sites with similar assets and, in many cases, hundreds of pieces of equipment at each facility. The naming convention used during commissioning varies based on the methodology of the individual who performed the work, creating inconsistency. For example, Return Air Temperature Sensor data points received by Ecova are named “AHU1-RAT” at one site but “Return_Air” at another. They refer to the same asset, but in order for them to be used in portfolio-wide analytics, the system needs a way to understand these data points are comparable. The variation can be managed when working with a handful of sites, but when providing services for thousands of sites, it becomes a significant issue.

To address this common problem, Ecova analysts can implement a standardized naming convention and manually rename each data point, touching every asset—a massive time commitment that can be complicated by modified or replaced assets. Asset tagging offers a more efficient and effective solution. Tagging preserves the data point label as established on the controller, but supplements it with a standardized label or additional information. For the example described above, this could mean tagging the data with descriptive information such as Sensor, Return, Air and Temp. The data can also be associated with a device; in this case, the data points would be linked to an air handler unit (AHU).

Utilizing tagging creates a metadata structure that makes data usable regardless of the system or individual who commissioned it. Tagging allows analytical specialists to see the same data from similar assets across different facilities, identifying broader trends in system performance and informing recommendations for more efficient operations.

For clients who deal with telemetry data, tagging is an essential service. The foundational process of asset tagging turns data into immediate insight, enabling facilities teams to employ a more proactive approach to managing their facilities portfolio.

Tagging is only one piece of Ecova’s comprehensive Continuous Monitoring and Maintenance Service. Click here to learn how a more proactive approach to facility management can save your business energy and money or register for our upcoming webinar, Uncover the True Value of Your EMS, on Thursday, April 13th.

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