Getting started with
IoT for Social
How to understand buildings using IoT (Internet of Things)
Our social infrastructure supports our communities, public services, wellbeing and
economic growth. It encompasses assets that enable the delivery of public services
including schools, hospitals, public buildings and housing.
Improving how our social infrastructure performs is a key enabler to achieve a sustainable and inclusive net
zero carbon economy.
Understanding and responding to the way our public buildings perform in real-time will provide
unprecedented opportunities to increase efficiencies and improve the wellbeing of users while reducing
energy and carbon emissions.
We need to understand more clearly how our buildings perform at an individual asset, estate and
Never before has technology offered such opportunity, and the growth of IoT (Internet of Things) provides
new capabilities to connect our physical buildings to digital models and analytics tools. New IoT applications
are appearing at pace that provide unparalleled insight, intelligence and remote interaction with our social
Today, the public sector in Scotland has an opportunity to realise the benefits of IoT and be a catalyst for
change. A key part to realising these benefits is to implement secure IoT solutions with proportionality and
purpose. Scottish Futures Trust has developed this document in partnership with CENSIS to continue this
momentum, share our learning and support this change.
Head of Infrastructure Technology
Scottish Futures Trust
Glossary - Text with an explanation in the Glossary on p18 is underlined the first time it is used
Social infrastructure and
IoT is here and it’s time for organisations
across the country to take advantage
of the transformational benefits of the
technologies and expertise available.
IoT is a game-changer, enabling the creation of new
IoT products and services or the implementation of
cost and time-saving efficiencies using data and
insights gathered in real time. Environmental, health
and social care IoT applications will have positive
impacts on our society.
This brochure will outline what IoT and sensor
technologies can achieve and explore how they can
benefit our schools, health facilities and public sector
buildings commonly referred to as social infrastructure.
Social infrastructure covers a broad range of building
types and sizes across education, health and public
sector services. The evolution of the enabling
technologies will bring transformative benefits in
managing building estates, allowing efficient operation
and reduced lifetime performance costs. Efficient
performance of these assets will support public services
and ultimately, social and economic growth.
IoT technologies enable enhanced insights in how
our social infrastructure performs, offer opportunities
to improve performance and provide better data
management insight. New connectivity and emerging
cloud software applications enable social infrastructure
estates to measure, control, and act on information
gathered within the buildings. Control systems can be
monitored remotely and instructions sent to modify the
building environment based on data driven decisions
from sensors distributed throughout the estate.
The availability and low price of sensors, coupled with
major leaps in data storage and computing capabilities,
means that the time is right for organisations to embrace
the major improvements, new opportunities and cost
savings that IoT offers.
IoT has the potential to digitally transform how many
aspects of how social infrastructure is managed.
Below are some of the benefits:
• Support operational performance of our
• Improve building user engagement and
experience of our social infrastructure to
improve educational and health outcomes.
• Improve utilisation of building assets, reduce
costs and carbon.
Social & Economy
• Support digital marketplace and opportunities
for IoT providers.
Value of IoT in social infrastructure
a) An introduction to IoT 3
b) Benefits of IoT for business, industry and society 4
c) Example application areas for IoT in buildings and facility management 4
d) Industrial IoT (IIoT) 5
e) IoT as an enabler for the Digital Twin 5
Considerations for implementation of IoT
a) How an IoT system works 6
b) Business models 6
c) Emerging business models 7
d) How the IoT system layers apply to social infrastructure building technologies 7
e) Devices/hardware 8
f) Networks for Buildings (LPWANS) 10
g) Applications/software 11
Realise the value for IoT within social infrastructure
a) Implementing IoT in social infrastructure 12
b) Examples of IoT applications within social infrastructure 13
c) Examples of building hardware and software data platforms 16
d) LoRaWAN gateway 16
e) Building management control interfaces 16
f) Direct BMS integration 17
g) Whole life performance framework and IoT 17
h) Benefits of using IoT within our social infrastructure 17
of IoT in social infrastructure
a) An introduction to Internet of Things (IoT)
Q What exactly does ‘Internet of Things’ mean?
A To simplify the vast amount of chat and hype around IoT,
think of it in its broadest sense as: ‘A system of things using
the internet or a private network to connect and
communicate with each other.’
Q What kind of ‘data’ is collected?
A Sensors detect and measure changes, e.g., changes in
vibration, impact, heat, light, energy, colour, gases and
temperature. So, you can create a system of sensors, all
working together to measure information that is
specifically relevant to your organisation. They measure,
collect data and send it on.
Q What ‘things’?
A We say ‘things’ but really mean ‘devices’ that are
connected via the internet to each other.
Your phone is probably such a device. Some watches
are internet enabled. Often, you’ll hear ‘smart’ added
to the front of something to indicate that it can
connect to the internet and chat to other devices,
e.g., smartphone, smartwatch, smart lighting. In an
IoT network, each device has a unique identifier
and can transmit and/or receive data over a
Q Send it on where?
A Usually, the sensor will send the data to a data repository
in ‘the cloud’ or local data storage. It is stored, managed
and organised in the cloud then forwarded wherever you
want it to go. If you want to measure air quality in a city
centre street for example, the sensor system could gather
the information, send the data to the cloud for you to then
view the results on your desktop, smartphone or tablet.
IoT devices can also receive data which opens up the
possibility of controlling devices such as switching on a
light or changing a display.
Q But this is nothing new, haven’t devices been
connecting to each other for years?
A Yes, they have. But technology has advanced so
much in recent times that we now have the
capability to connect many more low cost, small,
battery-operated devices to the internet. If we
install a sensor on such a device, the sensor can
first gather data, then send the information
over the internet. This, combined with the rise of
low-cost cloud computing is enabling a vast
amount of new opportunities.
Q But aren’t we all drowning in data already? Will the
information be meaningful?
A When the system is designed, software is built in to ensure
that the data is converted to meaningful information.
The sensor system will also be designed to measure the
quality of data required to give value. What you see is a
‘dashboard’ showing exactly the information you want
to measure. You can set parameters to show only
information that will affect decision making, rather than
showing you every measurement. Data analytics can also
be performed on this data to extract trends, anomalies,
Q Do IoT devices need to connect to the internet?
A No, it’s quite common for IoT to operate in a closed
private network, especially in industrial applications
where control over a full system is required, or
where there is no internet connectivity. Everything is
contained within a private network so that no data
leaves the system.
Q Is it private or can other people see the information?
A Only you and those you authorise will be able to see it.
When setting up your system, you can specify the level
of privacy and security you require. We strongly advocate
designing with privacy and security in mind from the start
to ensure the system meets the needs of the application
without compromising the integrity of the system.
) Benefits for business, industry and society
Advances in low power electronics, communications
standards, and increased efficiencies in battery technologies
have heralded a new era for IoT. Power efficient, inexpensive
devices with a long range of communication are available off
the shelf, allowing all sizes of businesses and organisations,
in all types of sectors, to design and implement an IoT solution.
IoT enables organisations to have greater visibility into aspects
of their businesses that may have previously been hidden.
This valuable information, often available in real-time, has a
multitude of business benefits.
Better use of time speeds up processes
Identify and eliminate process errors
Cost savings and increased
productivity leads to
New and more effective
ways to monitor and report
Wellness of buildings
Improve wellbeing of building occupants
and support wider productivity
Improve performance and the public
services they provide
People exposed to less
Monitoring for health and
c) Example application areas for IoT in buildings
and facility management
Pollution levels, air quality, flooding
alerts. Reduce carbon footprint in
asset delivery and operation
New products and service
opportunities or new markets
Allowing gathering of data to make better
decisions to benefit the organisation
d) Industrial IoT (IIoT)
You will also hear Industrial IoT referred to as an important
part of Industry 4.0. IoT systems can monitor and automate
many complex processes. Manufacturers have begun to
recognise that networks of smart sensors, coupled with
real-time analytics, can act as drivers of significant
improvements in their processes, transforming profit margins
and operational efficiencies.
Other uses for IoT in manufacturing
• Integrating sensors across all machines and equipment,
• Remote management of factory units
• Employee wearables e.g., smart safety glasses or
smart hard hats.
• Monitoring production flow in real-time from start to
packaging and distribution. This highlights quality control
issues and production lags.
• Using smart packaging to manage stock control,
automating the ordering process. This can also provide
insights into how the product behaves during transit, in
various weather conditions and how customers store and
use the product.
• Connecting to suppliers to track products through the
manufacturing cycle in the supply chain
• Using data collected to analyse how customers
use products, feeding innovation for new
e) IoT as an enabler for the Digital Twin
The concept of the Smart Building or Digital Twin continues
to evolve and grow within the built environment.
The principle of these concepts is that through the better use
of technology and information management, we can create
intelligent digital models of our built assets.
The University of Cambridge Centre for Digital Built Britain
defines a Digital Twin as:
“A realistic digital representation of
something physical. What distinguishes
a digital twin from any other digital
model is its connection to the
enabler in the move towards smarter social infrastructure or
creating intelligent digital twins of our schools, hospitals, or
other social infrastructure. The approach to implementation
should be the adoption of complementary and secure IoT
solutions with purpose.
The opportunity exists to connect these digital twins of our
social infrastructure across estates, sectors or geographies
and derive enhanced insight and knowledge and ultimately
the improved benefits this will bring.
The key aspect is the connection to the physical twin
where real time data capture is required to enable insight,
support decision making and action. IoT technology is a key
for implementation of IoT
a) How an IoT system works
Cloud based high level architecture for IoT data gathering system
for building level systems
b) Business models
The evolution of IoT has led to the emergence of
new business models. The rise of the data driven economy
is enabling new revenue streams to evolve and IoT
businesses are well placed to capitalise on these new
trends. As with the internet around 25 years ago, the most
significant business opportunities have not yet been
scaled or even identified.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is a common business model where a software
provider hosts applications and customers access these
using a web browser or application. Payment is made
through a monthly or annual subscription fee and can be
based on the number of users or number of transactions.
Cloud based BMS systems. BMS Interface systems
Hardware as a Service (HaaS)
This is one of the most common business models for
companies selling IoT services. It enables companies to
generate recurring revenue for their product through a
subscription/leasing based model. The package they pay for
is often by monthly fee and can include the item (hardware),
all software, updates, maintenance and often a Service
Level Agreement (SLA). Upfront costs are recovered over the
product lifetime. The hardware is often sold at a reduced cost
(or at a loss). The value is in the ongoing capability provided.
An advantage of this model is that it allows the business to
have a closer relationship with customers and understand
their usage of the product and potential future needs.
Water safety compliance where a company supplies and
installs sensors communication infrastructure and operates
cloud-based software as a service. When hardware needs
replaced, this will be conducted as part of the service deal.
c) Emerging business models
In this model, businesses deploy devices to their customers,
generally at low/no cost to the user, to gather additional
data around another service they provide. The data gathered
is valuable to both the user and the company and can help
companies retain users by understanding how their product
is used. It can also help the company drive more efficiency in
Examples: Smart meters with home readout units for the
customers. Customers understand their energy usage and
utility providers benefit from better data about usage patterns
to create efficiencies in supply and customer relations.
(customer value service).
Efficiency of operation
This is based around a company deploying IoT applications
that will result in efficiency savings within a customer’s
current business. The company deploying the service will
generally provide it at no cost to the customer but take their
revenue from any reduction in the price of the service.
This benefits the customer as they would generally pay
less than they currently pay and it also generates additional
information from the IoT data.
Examples: There are examples of this type of model in the
smart city and facility management space where a company
will use IoT to make a service more efficient and agree to a
form of reduction in current costs, with the company keeping
the savings generated.
d) How the IoT system layers apply to social
infrastructure building technologies
Devices / Hardware Applications / Software
Analysis and post
networking and wireless
edge and embedded
Final step – the dashboard. At this stage, the end data
will be transformed into a visual format for you to easily
interpret the results.
Converting the data. Software companies will create
programmes and applications to convert the measured
data into meaningful information. Data Science, Artificial
Intelligence and Machine Learning can be used at this stage to
provide deeper insights into the data generated.
Where does the data go? Companies in this area have expertise
in how to store, manage and organise data. This is known as
From device to destination. Companies who specialise
in transporting the data to a designated storage
This is the brain of the sensor. It does all the onboard processing
of the data, carries out the initial configuration then packages
and sends it. This also controls power consumption. Edge
computing is an emerging trend where more information is
processed on the device, which enables technologies such as
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to be used at this
stage in the stack.
The starting point. At the very bottom of the stack is where you
will find the companies designing and manufacturing the actual
sensors that can detect and measure change. This can be in
vibration, impacts, heat, light, energy, colour, temperature etc.
There’s a huge range of light, motion, and temperature sensors
etc. already available off the shelf at low cost.
CYBER SECURITY BY DESIGN
A company can be a user of IoT technology, or a supplier.
An IoT system is made up of lots of different technology
layers that collect, send, store, analyse and display data.
In smart building systems each layer works to operate system
to give actionable insights to the end user.
The end user of the technology may only see the
outcomes of the processed data – this is because
many of the technology layers of the stack are i
ntegrated into the end application, and therefore are
invisible to the user.
As the data gatherers, sensors are the starting point of
any IoT solution. The sensor must measure an accurate
representation of the conditions, otherwise the data is
unreliable and unusable. The better quality the data gathered
through an IoT system the better value and insight that will
result from the analysis. A sensor collects information from
a defined source and converts this into a signal that can be
measured. In the smart building space new power efficient
sensors can operate off battery power for 5+ years dependent
on the application. These technologies drastically reduce
the deployment cost into buildings. Typical commercial
sensors will range between 30-200 pounds depending on
There’s a vast range of sensors already on the market
that can be integrated into IoT systems. Open communication
standards help these operate with many software
Common sensors readily available for building estate:
• Indoor environmental (temperature, humidity, light, noise)
• Room occupancy
• People counting
• Carbon dioxide monitoring
• Boiler monitoring
• Pipe flow controls
• Water temperature/level monitoring
• Radiator valves control
• Window/door opening
• Asset tracking
• Fire safety
• Power monitoring
Examples of commercial devices
Sensors that can measure indoor
environmental conditions that can
last for around 5 years with battery
An occupancy sensor to detect
Communications, networking and wireless technologies
Connectivity and networking describe the (often) wireless
technology used to transfer information from the sensors/
end nodes to the cloud. To connect and talk to each other,
all IoT devices need connectivity. There is a wide range of
wireless technologies that enable this connectivity, each
with their own strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right
technology will ensure the IoT application runs smoothly, at
the lowest cost, and with the best power efficiency. They can
be broadly split into short-and long-range communications.
In buildings, many of the sensor devices will use a mix of
these technologies and the choice of one is based on
what fits the application use case. The choice of radio will
make a difference to how the solution is architected but all
these will allow a form of interoperability at the data layer.
Many different communications methods can be used
to gather data round the building estate. A key enabler of
building level sensor networks is a Low Power Wide Area
This list is by no means comprehensive but details some of
the most popular wireless standards for IoT within building
Short range wireless - NFC and RFID
These are a class of ultra-low range, low-power, and low
bandwidth technologies. Their function is to exchange very
small amounts of data between two devices in extremely
close proximity to one another. They are most commonly
used in card contactless payment systems and as an asset
tagging technology but are also used in asset tracking
with systems commonly used in hospitals. RFID tags can
operate with or without a power source, with range and cost
increasing with powered versions.
Bluetooth low energy (BLE)
BLE is a version of Bluetooth designed for lower-powered
devices that use less data. The Bluetooth standard
continuously develops further functionality and is gaining
traction in smart building applications, where it is getting
increasingly integrated into smart lighting systems. It is one
of the cheapest modules out of the wireless standards so
is a popular choice in devices requiring short range, power
ZigBee and Z-Wave
These are primary used in building automation and control
applications with low data rates. For example, wireless
thermostats, lighting systems, appliance control. These are
the dominant devices used in smart home applications and
there are many devices that support these standards that can
be used in building automation.
Wi-Fi offers a high data rate throughput but to achieve
this, it has a higher power consumption than other shortrange
standards. It is therefore suitable for high data rate
applications, e.g., video streaming and less suitable for remote
locations or battery-operated devices.
f) Networks for buildings (LPWANS)
The rise of IoT has driven the development of new wireless
technologies that are designed specifically to meet the needs
of IoT applications. Commonly used LPWAN standards are the
unlicensed LoRaWAN and Sigfox and the emerging cellular
standards NB-IoT and CAT-M. The decision on what standard
to use will depend on the number of sensors, availability of
connectivity, hardware availability and cost.
They all have three main
The operating range of LPWAN technology varies from
a few kilometres in urban areas, to over 10km in rural
settings. The low frequency enables good building
penetration of the radio signal which helps enable full
building or estate coverage.
The communication protocol is optimised for
power consumption, meaning LPWAN transceivers have
the potential to run on batteries for 5+ years.
Typical data rates are very low. The only real constraint for
developers with LPWANs is the low bandwidth, although
this trade-off allows battery operated devices a long-life,
while maintaining long range communication.
The choice of these will depend on the application in buildings
and number of devices required. LoRaWAN is gaining lots
of traction in the smart building market as it is an open
standard in unregulated spectrum which mean anyone can
buy a low-cost gateway device and have a building level
network able to collect data from thousands of sensors in an
estate. LoRaWAN is designed with the aim of achieving long
battery life whilst being capable of communicating over long
distances. The gateways can be configured to send data from
sensors directly into building managed systems. There are
also network operators deploying LoRa networks where the
deployment is managed by the operator and users charged
on a monthly basis for connection.
Of the cellular standards, NB-IoT is targeted at smart
building connectivity. Being a lighter protocol to CAT-M1,
they currently operate through 4G cellular infrastructure
and longer term will run through 5G. Coverage for these is
currently being rolled out with good UK coverage expected
by the end of 2020. One of the advantages of using existing
networks is that less communications infrastructure would
be required in building, however, ensure that the buildings
have network coverage. With cellular data, each device would
have a monthly cost for connection, typically sub pound
level. If monitoring a few devices per building then using a
managed network would be the most cost effective method
The IoT sensor and control nodes of a network are limited in
storage size and processing constraints. In an IoT application,
you may have hundreds, thousands, or even millions of
nodes collecting data. The solution is to move this data on
to a database storage either locally (privately) hosted or on
a cloud storage platform where it can be processed from a
centralised location. Traditionally, most IoT devices will push
all data up to the data repository, but with the emergence
of edge computing, only data of interest may be sent. This
data repository allows different data streams to be combined
and gives a level of interoperability for collecting data from
‘The cloud’ is a term used to describe a global network of
powerful servers which are designed to store and manage
data, run applications and deliver content or a service.
The largest providers of these cloud services are Amazon,
Microsoft, IBM and Google. The cloud has replaced the need
for companies to run expensive physical servers on-site and
offers server-like services, with users paying when the services
are used. Large amounts of data can be stored inexpensively
in the cloud. Many building management software providers
are providing cloud hosted applications that can allow
different input data sources such as sensors.
Analysis and post processing
Analysis of the data is where real value is unlocked, and many
applications build their value proposition around this. For
example, a business manufactures and sells hardware for
sensing the movement of people or traffic through an area.
Analytics are performed on the captured data. These analytics
can be used to detect trends or anomalies in the movement
of people or traffic, which becomes a “service” they can sell to
improve the efficiency of other systems.
When data arrives at the cloud, a typical task would be
for a software application to
IoT devices normally send data to the cloud for processing.
Its huge processing power enables the execution of complex
algorithms, machine learning and artificial intelligence to
extract maximum value from the data. This is where the
values of smart buildings and digital twins will be unlocked.
Benefits of cloud processing
• Huge processing power can perform complex tasks
• Data analytics can be performed on incoming data to
detect trends or abnormalities
Visualisation and presentation
The last stage of the process is to present the information
in a meaningful way. Depending on the requirements of
the project, this could be as simple an action as ringing a
buzzer or alerting a user by text that there is an abnormality.
More frequently, it is a web page, or dashboard, with a series
of graphs showing real-time information from the network.
Many cloud platforms now include tools to visualise data.
Instead of creating a separate traditional web page to display
the data, applications within the cloud ecosystem plot data
using different software tools. This may also include twoway
communication - the user may wish to input into the
system to control the sensors or “an actuator” based on the
information they have received.
Common software in building management that could
integrate data from IoT sensors includes:
• Building management systems
• Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
• Energy performance systems
• Computer-aided facility management (CAFM)
• Building information modelling (BIM)
• Unpack the data
• Extract the values of each sensor (for example,
temperature, humidity) and
• Check that these values are within acceptable ranges.
the value for IoT within Social Infrastructure
Within Scotland, the opportunity exists to realise the value of IoT within our educational or health
estate. This section considers the architecture and approach.
a) Implementing IoT in social infrastructure
The most successful solutions begin by focusing on the
problem to be solved rather than on the technology.
Look for areas in an organisation where an IoT solution
will have a benefit over an existing process.
Perhaps manual monitoring could be automated?
If maintenance needs could be predicted, costly down
time could be prevented.
Could more information in a specific area of a business
improve a process or service? With the right information,
processes can often be improved, efficiencies
implemented, and business decisions made easier.
Defining the purpose and value of:
• What information would be useful to measure?
• Is there a business case for the application?
• Are there existing systems to integrate with?
• Who does it solve a problem for?
• Is data already being measured in this application?
• What would make an effective proof of concept trial?
• Is senior and cross functional organisational
There are three parts to developing an IoT system.
The more bespoke a system is, the more complex and
expensive the development.
Off the shelf hardware - dedicated solutions. Buy it, install it
Development boards - this is a half-way house. Kit form
solutions with multiple interfaces
Custom design - tailored solutions requiring engineering
Use existing networks - Wi-Fi, Cellular, LPWAN, Hardwired
Setup own network - manage network server and network
Database storage - can be as simple as viewing data collected
in a spreadsheet
Dashboard information - web app to display data. This could
be existing building management system or software like
building management control interfaces.
Custom dashboard development – customised web
application or software interface to gather information from
multiple buildings into one centralised location.
) Examples of IoT applications within social
Indoor environmental monitoring
To maintain healthy indoor building conditions and comfort
levels. High carbon dioxide levels in buildings have been
shown to affect concentration levels and productivity.
Could an IoT system solve this?
An IoT system could gather room level environmental data
to determine indoor air quality.
Sensors that can operate for 5+ years from batteries
can measure air particulate matter, carbon dioxide level,
temperatures, humidity etc.
Building owners/managers can understand real time
conditions and quality of the environment within a building.
Room conditions may be adjusted automatically to reduce
levels for the comfort of staff.
Heating systems are often not optimally set, heating rooms
above the required level or heating empty spaces.
Could an IoT system solve this?
An IoT system could ensure temperature and occupancy
data can be collected.
Inexpensive battery-operated sensors with 5+ year battery
life can be distributed around a estate enabling live data
collection to be fed back into the HVAC or BMS system.
From the cloud-based dashboard, the building manager (who
may be based remotely) can see the building performance
and modify heating programs to provide optimum energy
usage and comfort in the building.
“The worldwide smart HVAC control market is expected to
grow to $28.3 billion by 2025 as compared to $8.3 billion
in 2018 (Zion Market Research). The combination of IoT
with HVAC control leads to better performance and can
enable the remote control and programming of heating
systems remotely. Over time, performance characteristics of
building performance could lead to predictive control and
optimisation of the learning estate buildings.” 1
Energy efficient buildings enhance building management intelligence
Estate managers, building owners and building occupants
often have little control over the heating, lighting and
occupancy of large buildings.
Could an IoT system solve this?
An IoT system could help them better manage their buildings.
Sensors placed in rooms assess when rooms are empty or in
use. At the same time, they monitor temperature conditions,
humidity and carbon dioxide, noise and light levels.
Building managers adjust room comfort levels, save on
energy used for lights and heating and make better use of
their facilities. In social housing, this could identify potential
health issues for residents from damp.
Cold chain monitoring
A cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain. Within
large estates, compliance reporting needs to be conducted
on cold chain management.
Could an IoT system solve this?
IoT systems can help to automatically record compliance
measurements by measuring real time data.
IoT sensors to monitor temperatures.
The connected sensor systems can alert estate management
and maintenance teams to problems as soon as they happen,
potentially reducing wastage from equipment breakdown and
ensuring compliance of stored items.
People flow and occupancy counting
To count and understand the flow of people through
transport networks and building infrastructure.
Could an IoT system solve this?
Low cost distributed sensors could be deployed across a
There are multiple sensor methods to choose from to count
people and flow through a facility.
An understanding of demand/capacity around a building.
Making better use of building space.
Indoor location sensors could track visitor behaviour around
social infrastructure facilities.
Could an IoT system solve this?
Indoor location tracking could guide people round tourist
attractions and cities and give relevant information at places
Small beacon sensors can be placed around attractions to
give people relevant information at set locations through
smartphones or other devices.
Better visitor experience and understanding of people
flow throughout attractions.
Water monitoring in an estate
Bacteria in a building’s water system could cause harm to
Could an IoT system solve this?
An IoT system could measure levels of harmful bacteria and
Water temperatures are recorded around the building
enabling the building owner to reduce risk and report health
and safety compliance.
Sensors are deployed throughout the water system reporting
at regular intervals or on adverse events.
Predictive maintenance and condition monitoring
Downtime isn’t only expensive, it can also be a health and
safety risk in some industries. For example, how do you
ensure that equipment is running optimally and how to
predict when equipment needs maintenance work?
Could an IoT system solve this?
An IoT system can measure operating conditions such as
temperature and vibration around equipment and detect
when the equipment deviates from its prescribed parameters
– detecting failure before it happens.
Small battery sensors can be fitted to machinery sending back
regular data to report real-time condition of equipment.
With real time views of conditions across the factory floor,
maintenance can be scheduled at convenient times.
Managing the location and maintenance schedule of physical
assets can be expensive and time consuming.
Could an IoT system solve this?
An IoT system can track assets in real time.
Asset locations can be identified, and maintenance scheduled
efficiently. This reduces administrative costs and ensures
accountability and accuracy. Some industries require asset
tracking for regulatory compliance.
Low cost battery operated sensor tags can be attached to
equipment to report location at regular intervals.
c) Examples of building hardware and
software data platforms
high level IoT
d) LPWAN gateway
A small LPWAN gateway can provide LPWAN coverage
throughout a building. The device doesn’t need to be
connected to the building network as it can send the data to
the cloud through a cellular connection. Where this device
has an advantage is that it can operate a network server on
This means that the system can be operated without an
internet connection. It can interface into BMS and integration
platforms building management control interfaces allowing
IoT data to be supported in these software systems. These
gateways can gather data from thousands of sensors so various
applications can be built upon this communications platform.
e) Building management control interfaces
Building management interface platforms enables a direct
interface into building control systems. It is designed to allow
additional sensors or systems to be mapped and controlled
through a building management system. The hardware
controller acts as a physical interface between the different
systems. They have many compatible drivers and applications
that can be used to control various building systems. They
have open interface and allow customisation depending on
the building type the technology is being deployed in.
It can allow multiple different sensors to be connected and
controlled remotely through a cloud-based application.
These systems allow easier BMS integration and control
allowing scalable applications across multiple buildings.
It can also be used to pull data from existing BMS systems and
push them to cloud for further analysis or control. A typical
architecture is shown above.
f) Direct BMS integration
Many buildings are fitted with management systems,
sometimes running state-of-the-art technologies alongside
legacy equipment that may be outdated or no longer in
production. One of the major challenges of building automation
is to integrate these different systems to ensure they can
communication with each other. BMS systems are increasingly
starting to open-up application programming interfaces (API)
which allows developers and estate managers to connect
various systems. Data from an IoT gateway can be integrated
directly to a BMS through a data transfer protocol - or data may
be able to be integrated through software integration. There has
also been an evolution of the BMS communication standards
such as such as BACnet that now includes new web standards
to interface into systems and increase interoperability.
g) Whole life performance framework and IoT
Improving how our social infrastructure performs across
the asset lifecycle is a key enabler to support Scottish
Government achieving its ambition of a sustainable and
inclusive net zero carbon economy. This ambition is relevant
to both our new and existing infrastructure as highlighted
by the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland in its
30-year infrastructure strategy report, ‘Key Findings Report -
A blueprint for Scotland’ published in January 2020:
“Most of the underlying infrastructure that will be used in
30-years’ time already exists today. It is therefore essential
that these assets are most effectively and efficiently utilised,
maintained and enhanced to net zero carbon readiness.”
How we measure the performance of our assets across the
lifecycle is a complex and sometimes siloed approach where
data and methodologies differ across regions, sectors and
disciplines. Scottish Futures Trust has led in the development
of research to look at best practice across industry in how
the performance of social infrastructure is measured across
areas such as commercial performance, design performance,
environmental, social & economic performance.
The ability to measure performance in a consistent way where
real time data is generated and analysed offers significant
potential. IoT technology will help realise the potential sooner
and in a more consistent and informed way.
Areas where IoT and cloud-based control systems could
have an impact on whole life performance:
• Energy efficiency – HVAC, temperature control,
• Asset management and optimisation
• Predictive maintenance
• Indoor air quality
• Green buildings standards
• Measurement and verification of performance
• Real time data
h) Benefits of using IoT within our social infrastructure
IoT has the potential to digitally transform how many
aspects of how social building estates are managed.
• Support operational performance of our public buildings
• Improve building user engagement and experience of
our social infrastructure.
• Improve educational and health outcomes.
• Improve utilisation of building assets
• Reduce costs in how we manage our assets.
• Improve resilience
• Support operational decision making with improved
• Support carbon performance and support Scottish
Government net-zero carbon ambition.
Social & Economy
• Create marketplace and opportunities for IoT providers.
• Support digital marketplace, innovation and
• Support international competitiveness of SMEs developing
• Identify IoT solutions to challenges within social
infrastructure supporting business competitiveness.
Cloud / Cloud computing / Cloud storage
Data / Big data
Data repository/Data storage
Edge node / End node
End device, node, mote
IIoT / Industry 4.0 / Digital manufacturing
A component of a machine responsible for moving or controlling a mechanism or system.
Application Programming Interface. Software to allow applications to talk to each other.
A piece of software running on a server or on a device such as a tablet.
This is a data communication protocol for BAC (Building Automation and Control) networks.
Building Information Modelling. A virtual representation of a built structure to simulate the effects of
real-life events and conditions.
Building Management System. A control system to manage the electrical, mechanical services in a facility.
The physical make up of structures and the spaces between them where we live and work. Eg homes, offices,
hospitals, parks, streets, etc.
Computer-Aided Facility Management. Enables planning, monitoring and execution of planned and
A network of remote servers hosted online that can store, manage and process data and that can host applications.
Enables devices connected to the network to communicate with each other. For example, to transfer information
from sensors to the cloud.
Protecting hardware, software and data from unauthorised access or attack.
Also known as a User Interface or UI, this allows a person to interact with the computer system,
e.g., a computer screen, tablet, mobile phone.
Analysis of captured data to detect trends or anomalies. Once patterns have been detected, this can allow
better decisions to be made.
Large amounts of data that are gathered through many IoT devices. By applying analytical techniques to
this data, it is possible to determine trends and make decisions.
Individual IoT sensor nodes usually have limited storage space, so the data they collect is moved to remote
database storage where it can be processed from a centralised location.
Standard commercial electronic boards that allow engineers to build prototypes of systems before they go on to
design custom hardware. Development platforms often include various sensors integrated directly on to the board.
A realistic digital representation of something physical.
Edge computing refers to computing services located at the logical edge of a network.
The sensor which resides at the edge of an IoT system is often referred to as an edge node or end node.
An object with an embedded low-power communication chipset.
A device which connects end devices to the internet. It provides a connection point from one network (or protocol)
to another. For example, some gateways receive LoRaWAN transmissions from sensors and forward these over
the Internet to be processed in the cloud.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems.
Internet of Things. A system of devices using a network to connect and communicate with each other.
Industrial Internet of Things. Manufacturers use sensor networks and real-time analytics to monitor and automate
complex processes in an industrial environment.
Low Powered Wide Area Network. A key enabler of IoT allowing data transfer from sensors.
Servers that route messages from end devices to the correct application, and back.
Near Field Communication. Enabling short-range communication between devices.
The brain of the IoT device – can read and forward sensor data or can perform processing tasks.
Radio Frequency Identification. The use of radio frequency waves to transfer data.
A device which detects or measures a physical property.
A building that uses integrated technology to automatically control all its systems from lighting to heating,
security to ventilation.
Covering a broad range of building types and sizes across education, health and public sector services.
Presenting the data gathered in a meaningful way.
Any form of communications between devices that doesn’t require a wired connection. Some wireless
technologies existed pre-IoT, some have been designed specifically for it.
CENSIS is the centre of excellence for sensor and imaging
systems (SIS) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
We help organisations of all sizes explore innovation
and overcome technology barriers to achieve business
As one of Scotland’s Innovation Centres, our focus is not
only creating sustainable economic value in the Scottish
economy, but also generating social benefit. Our industryexperienced
engineering and project management teams
work with companies or in collaborative teams with university
We act as independent trusted advisers, allowing organisations
to implement quality, efficiency and performance
improvements and fast-track the development of new
products and services for global markets.
wave of opportunity
presented by this next
The Inovo Building
121 George Street
Tel: 0141 330 3876
The Inovo Building
121 George Street
Tel: 0141 330 3876
Email: info @censis.org.uk
Join the CENSIS mailing list at www.censis.org.uk
Follow us on Twitter
Join the CENSIS mailing list at:
Scottish Futures Trust
11-15 Thistle Street
Tel: 0131 510 0800