Getting started with IoT for Social Infrastructure


How to understand buildings using IoT (Internet of Things).

Understanding how our social infrastructure (schools, hospitals, public buildings, housing) performs in real-time will provide unprecedented opportunities to increase efficiencies and improve the wellbeing of users while reducing energy and carbon emissions. Secure IoT solutions can provide new capabilities to connect our physical buildings to digital models and analytical tools.

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

city-wide level.

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.

Paul Dodd

Head of Infrastructure Technology

Scottish Futures Trust

July 2020

Glossary - Text with an explanation in the Glossary on p18 is underlined the first time it is used


Social infrastructure and

connected technologies

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:

Public Services

• Support operational performance of our

public buildings

• Improve building user engagement and

experience of our social infrastructure to

improve educational and health outcomes.

Asset Owners

• 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

Glossary 18




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

network connection.

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,

and behaviours.

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

increased profitability


New and more effective

ways to monitor and report

compliance requirements

Wellness of buildings

Improve wellbeing of building occupants

and support wider productivity

Social infrastructure

Improve performance and the public

services they provide

IoT benefits

for social



People exposed to less

hazardous environments


Monitoring for health and

social care

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

Business intelligence

Allowing gathering of data to make better

decisions to benefit the organisation


sensor driven













and safety




flow and












and condition



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,


• Robotics

• 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

product development.

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

physical twin.”

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

Data optimisation

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

their business.

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








Visualisation and


Analysis and post


Data repository


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

cloud storage.

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.



Raw Data

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.


e) Devices/Hardware


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

different systems.

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

• Metering

• Asset tracking

• Fire safety

• Power monitoring

• Parking

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

space utilisation


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

Network (LPWAN).







NB-IoT Cat-M1

Cellular 3/4/5G









Data rate


Available technologies

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

efficient communications.

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

technological attributes:

Long range:

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.

Low power:

The communication protocol is optimised for

power consumption, meaning LPWAN transceivers have

the potential to run on batteries for 5+ years.

Low bandwidth:

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

for connectivity.


g) Applications/Software

Data repository

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

different sources.

The cloud

‘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

support available?

There are three parts to developing an IoT system.

The more bespoke a system is, the more complex and

expensive the development.

1. Hardware

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


2. Networks

Use existing networks - Wi-Fi, Cellular, LPWAN, Hardwired


Setup own network - manage network server and network


3. Software

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

CO 2

levels for the comfort of staff.

HVAC/BMS control


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

building estate.


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 navigation


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

of interest.


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

the occupants.

Could an IoT system solve this?

An IoT system could measure levels of harmful bacteria and

assess risk.


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.

Asset tracking


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













Cloud based




HVAC etc

high level IoT


system for

building level


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

the gateway.

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,

energy automation

• Asset management and optimisation

• Predictive maintenance

• Indoor air quality

• Green buildings standards

• Measurement and verification of performance

• Real time data

• Compliance

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.

Benefits are:

Public Services

• Support operational performance of our public buildings

• Improve building user engagement and experience of

our social infrastructure.

• Improve educational and health outcomes.

Asset Owners

• Improve utilisation of building assets

• Reduce costs in how we manage our assets.

• Improve resilience

• Support operational decision making with improved

data analytics

• 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

IoT devices.

• Identify IoT solutions to challenges within social

infrastructure supporting business competitiveness.











Built environment


Cloud / Cloud computing / Cloud storage

Communications network

Cyber security


Data analytics

Data / Big data

Data repository/Data storage

Development platform/Storage

Digital twin

Edge computing

Edge node / End node

End device, node, mote




IIoT / Industry 4.0 / Digital manufacturing


Network/Network server





Smart building

Social infrastructure


Wireless technologies

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

reactive maintenance.

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

research experts.

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.

Scotland is

riding the

wave of opportunity

presented by this next

’industrial revolution’.

Contact details:


The Inovo Building

121 George Street


G1 1RD

Contact details:

Tel: 0141 330 3876



The Inovo Building

121 George Street


G1 1RD

Tel: 0141 330 3876

Email: info

Twitter: @CENSIS121

Join the CENSIS mailing list at


Follow us on Twitter


Join the CENSIS mailing list at:

Scottish Futures Trust

11-15 Thistle Street



Tel: 0131 510 0800



Twitter: @SFT_Scotland

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