In the context most relevant to Facilities Managers, remote monitoring refers to the management and control of a site’s devices by a remote central monitoring station. To the majority of people this will mean the management of safety and security systems including CCTV, fire & intruder alarm and access control systems.
For example, you’ll probably be familiar with a central station monitoring CCTV at a site when an alarm sounds – from there they’ll be able to move CCTV cameras to identify a threat, and also control an audio system to make an announcement directly to any intruders. And, importantly, the central station is located separately from the site – it’s ‘remote’.
But remote monitoring is not simply limited to CCTV. Nor is it just for security purposes such as the remote management of access control, or even keeping lone workers secure.
Hi-tech and skilled central stations can manage a site’s environment, provide extensive risk management and offer a whole host of out of hour’s services. All of which can make the running of a facility more efficient and cost effective not to mention the positive affects of energy consumption and sustainability.
In recent years, the rise of the IoT (Internet of Things) has led to the digitalisation of buildings and facilities management enabling the collection of digital data for physical assets and processes. The expansion of internet-connected devices has made it possible to remotely communicate, collect and analyse data without being present on site, significantly advancing the capabilities and efficiencies of Facilities Managers with remote monitoring.
Increasingly, Facilities Managers are making more of the remote facilities management solutions that central stations, like Farsight, have to offer. Each building is different and Farsight works with Facilities Managers to create solutions across a range of diverse requirements.
Here are some example scenarios where remote facilities management can be beneficial, potentially saving businesses a small fortune by proactively mitigating risks and reducing day-to-day running costs:
Stopping a risk before the damage is irreversible
We can all think of a couple of situations where the outcome would have been a lot better if we had managed to get there earlier. A typical example: the basement of your facility is flooding, but the burst pipe or torrential weather only occurred at 8pm when there’s no one there to flag up the problem.
Get round to 9am the next day and people arrive for work to find the building is a health risk (there’s the potential of structural damage, risk of electric shocks, even gas leaks if a central area of the building floods). And, of course, the cost to make repairs could be huge.
Remote monitoring for facilities management, however, could have nipped the problem in the bud. With a suitable system in place, the central station (which is in action 24/7, 365 days a year) will have been able to identify the flooding as soon as it started. This is made possible with cameras, alarm systems or environmental controls installed at your site and connected to the central station. As soon as the issue is confirmed, the central station will have a set procedure in place, which in most instances involves calling an emergency services (or emergency plumbers!), key holders and you – the facilities manager or site owner.
Remotely monitoring specific environments
Farsight works across a span of remote monitoring solutions to help Facilities Managers manage very specific requirements. For example, temperature changes can be of vital importance to high risk sites with flammable environments, such as Household Waste and Recycling Centres where we are able to proactively detect subtle changes in temperature that could quickly escalate into a risk situation.
Farsight’s ‘sensor monitoring’ and ‘thermal CCTV monitoring‘ solutions are used across many industry sectors, from utilities, refineries, substations, solar farms, airports, railways, manufacturing facilities and even data centres to not only compliment their physical security defences, but also to provide preventative maintenance and business critical analytics that play a role in their operational efficiencies and crucial decision making within a business..
These include being able to monitor HVAC systems, equipment, power lines and machinery etc. The monitoring of these via sensors can also flag up inconsistencies in operational equipment and machinery allowing notifications of early maintenance intervention to be sent automatically. This can contribute to reducing down time, increasing productivity and asset lifespans.
There are a lot of sites that depend on very specific equipment and environmental factors to keep them working at the optimum rate. Whether it’s an office looking to maintain a great working environment or a refrigerated area of a warehouse, it’s possible for a central station to monitor any changes and automatically alert (in real time) relevant parties able to make the necessary changes. Find out more about systems control.
Of course, every facility is unique and in order to provide quality remote facilities management solutions, we will never provide a one-size-fits-all solution , instead we develop bespoke and relevant remote monitoring solutions to solve specific issues.
Remotely monitoring unmanned Sites
There are so many examples of unmanned sites in today’s times, such as 24-hour petrol forecourts without staff in attendance overnight, self storage facilities, car parks, solar farms or inactive construction sites. Each of these pose unique risks and remote facilities management combined with security could provide a great solution.
Let’s look at unmanned forecourts for example. Clearly there’s a high risk of fire if pumps are improperly used – so not only does CCTV need to be active to identify the improper use along with video analytics, but the central station needs to have control of the petrol pumps to cut off the petrol supply immediately as necessary. This combination provides a hybrid use of security and site management to, again, stop a risk becoming a disaster and ensure the efficiency operation of the site on a day to day basis.
If a site is unmanned for only a particular period during a day, or night, then remote monitoring can help there too. For example, they can offer out-of-hours call handling services.
When a threat to a facility is moving
When an incident occurs, whether it’s a fire, a flood or an intruder, it’s essential that proactive steps be taken to prevent the threat from progressing through a facility. With the combination of CCTV video analytics, which actually predicts the course of a threat, and remote facilities management, the central station will be able to put a stop the threat’s progress by taking actions such as notifying the emergency services, activating sprinklers in specific areas, locking certain rooms and so on.
The list of situations where remote facilities management could come in to play really does go on, especially when put into action in combination with CCTV. But really, it’s about identifying the unique problem your facility faces and imagining how remote monitoring could provide a solution.
Connecting multiple sites & creating safe zones
Increasingly the demand on modern FM’s to find solutions for connecting multiple sites has brought remote monitoring solutions into their own. IoT along the evolvement of technology, software and the tools to do so, forward thinking central stations are delivering real-time coordination and response solutions to safety, security and emergency response to help keep large estates with multiple sites connected through a ‘single pane of glass’.
Whether the objective is managing the smooth running operational continuity of an estate, environmental efficiencies or safeguarding staff and personnel across multiple sites in a connected ‘safe zone’ to manage resources and ensure crime, personal duress and risk incidents are management effectively – modern remote monitoring central stations like Farsight could provide the right solutions – contact us to find the right solution for your estate.
Multiple site connectivity and safe zones are scalable across many estate shapes and sizes across a wide range of industry and public sectors from universities, railway stations, data centres, industrial and commercial as well as healthcare, enterprise and critical infrastructure facilities. However, smaller applications can also take advantage of this connectivity through remote monitoring too…
An example of how multiple sites on an estate can be connected as a safe zone can be scaled up or down can be demonstrated with a recent FM driven remote monitoring solution developed by Farsight to enhance Industrial Estate security in Cambridgeshire, an initiative supported by both by Cambridgeshire Police Constabulary and Neighbourhood Watch.
Most industrial estates are made up of multiple business units with multiple tenants operating their own surveillance and alarm systems independently of each other. Farsight, leveraging our experience and latest technology has unified all of the surveillance feeds into one – including perimeter security, PIR detectors, access control, CCTV cameras and alarms – so that the whole estate can be remotely monitored as a single entity delivering a remotely monitored safe zone across the entire estate at specific times or 24 hours a day.
How can Remote Facilities Management work for you?
By getting in touch with Farsight to discuss your requirements, you may be surprised by the remote facilities management solutions that we can deliver – to make your role as a modern Facilities’ Manager more scalable and able to meet the demands of an evolving sector.