Buildings, facilities, and campuses have hundreds of opportunities to reduce costs by utilizing IoT technologies. Here at en-Gauge Inc., we believe the best place to start to ensure project success is with a clearly defined life safety project. Why life safety? Life safety projects create strong organizational alignment, enabling a culture of IOT success in future projects; they offer many paths to cost savings; and they use information and skills your team members have been cultivating for years.

IoT Success From The Start

One of the hidden keys to success for IoT projects in smart buildings is creating a culture of continuous improvement — this starts with early project success. The shared interest and the seriousness of seeing life safety projects succeed can drive team members and leaders in a way that cost reduction projects alone cannot.

C-Suite executives and boards are ultimately responsible for keeping employees, customers, and team members safe in the facilities they own and manage. A popular anecdote shows how Paul O-Neill, the CEO of Alcoa, used life safety as a fulcrum to move Alcoa’s culture from that of an undisciplined, low-profit company to a profitable, conscientious business in 1987. His first speech as CEO began as follows:

“Every year, numerous Alcoa workers are injured so badly that they miss a day of work. Our safety record is better than the general workforce, especially considering that our employees work with metals that are 1500 degrees and we have machines that can rip a man’s arm off. But it’s not good enough. I intend to make Alcoa the safest company in America. I intend to go for zero injuries.”

 ‘If you want to understand how Alcoa is doing, you need to look at our workplace safety figures. If we bring our injury rates down, it won’t be because of cheerleading or the nonsense you sometimes hear from other CEOs. It will be because the individuals at this company have agreed to become part of something important: They’ve devoted themselves to creating a habit of excellence. Safety will be an indicator that we’re making progress in changing our habits across the entire institution. That’s how we should be judged.”

Paul O’Neill succeeded by building a culture of success around workplace safety. I advocate that CEOs drive IoT adoption with the same excitement and zeal by using life safety as the lever.

With layers of laws and building codes, as well as thousands of potential safety regulation violation points, IoT technologies offer a path towards automating challenges and ensuring facilities are compliant 24-7. Choosing a life safety starting point enables leaders and teams to get behind projects and build a culture of IoT success from the start.

What do life safety projects look like? IoT solutions range from food safety monitoring, emergency light monitoring, and fire extinguisher monitoring to other seemingly mundane applications that can powerfully unlock safety. Asset tracking access and asset monitoring all fit under the umbrella of life safety.

Reducing inspections through IoT life safety projects can save money while making the process easier. Team members often miss or forget inspections, whether they’re for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Americans With Disabilities Act, or any other number of regulatory laws and organizations. Sometimes they don’t know how to properly inspect equipment or certain areas, or aren’t even aware an inspection needs to be completed. IOT technology can automate many of these laborious inspections, reducing costs to the organization while at the same time making the facility safer for your customers, visitors, and team members.

Here’s an example inspection that sometimes slides under the radar of even the most watchful facility manager: The NFPA 10 requires a 30-day inspection of all fire extinguishers within a facility. These inspections are laborious and difficult to get done for many companies. en-Gauge Inc. produces a technology that remotely monitors fire extinguishers and eliminates the need for a code-required inspection. In many cases, the ROI of this technology can be as quick as 18 months. In terms of long-term IoT project success, we’ve seen our technologies succeed because people get behind life safety and understand its importance.

Another great reason to start with life safety is that your team already knows how to get it done. Team members in campuses corporations and organizations around the world already know how to execute and install sensor devices for access control, fire alarms, and security systems. Many of the skills needed to run and operate these types of systems are the same types of skills needed to run and operate IoT platforms and sensory systems. Leveraging the skills your team already has reinforces the potential for success.

Creating a culture of continuous improvement starts with succeeding on the first IoT project. If you’re a CEO or COO, ask your team to look at the life safety needs of your organization. Inspections take up valuable time. Start automating those projects today and watch them become more cost-effective and efficient.