Nov 24, 2021

Notifications & alert services for advanced facility management solutions

Alexis Leibbrandt

This article describes how custom notification and alert services can help facility managers improve their processes, reduce response time, and increase the overall user satisfaction of modern facilities.

Suppose you are currently sitting at your work desk in a corporate building with centralized heating, clean toilets, stable internet, fire extinguishers on each floor, and an RFID door access system. In that case, the chances are that there is a pretty efficient facility management company behind all these services.

Facility managers (FM) are the modern orchestra conductor of today's smart buildings. They take care of the maintenance of facilities, ensuring that all building assets are up and running and that requirements in terms of safety and health are followed.

However, with the constant evolution of the technological landscape, the push towards a greener society, and the recent shift towards remote and flexible working, the responsibilities of facility managers have increased significantly.

Facility managers of smart buildings face numerous challenges

To ensure facilities are operating as they should, facility managers need to collect information about the various assets in the buildings and promptly act based on this information.

Yet, facility managers and building owners often have very little real-time information about building health & usage (energy consumption, water distribution, critical assets) and therefore miss actionable insights.

Facility managers solve this by organizing frequent inspections to monitor the premises and coordinate maintenance. The immediate drawback is that it requires significant investment in terms of human resources, and it limits the number of buildings one can monitor in parallel on any given day. Consequently, incidents tend to get identified too late, causing downtimes often at the worst moment.

This situation gets even more severe when facility managers oversee several buildings, on separate sites, possibly in different cities. Imagine the number of assets these companies need to monitor in parallel and how difficult it can become to keep a good overview of each individual building.

Helping facility managers with real-time notifications and alerts

Numerous building owners have decided to add a remote monitoring layer into their building infrastructure to improve and automate their monitoring capabilities and implement novel facility services such as predictive maintenance of building equipment.

As connected sensors become a commodity, new constructions generally include a swarm of sensors in their premises (such as the headquarter of Zurich Insurance), and an increasing number of old buildings are digitally retrofitted at low cost.

Quai Zurich Campus (copyright Zurich Insurance)

By placing sensors in their buildings, facility managers can now monitor their facilities, floors, and visualize critical assets from a centralized dashboard. This allows a direct overview of buildings' operations and is an essential tool for proper maintenance planning.

However, the real added value of smart buildings lies in the potential of real-time alerts and automated reactions based on the collected IoT data. By defining a set of custom rules and notifications for different cases in a building, one can generate contextual alerts to the right person instantaneously, without the need for any human supervision.

Custom notification and alert services can radically reduce coordination efforts, maintenance costs, and ultimately downtimes by enabling quick reaction times and improved communication, keeping your asset fleet healthy 24/7.

Application use cases for alert & notification services in smart buildings

  • CO2 alert

  • Temperature alert

  • Oil tank level alert

  • Weather alerts

  • Critical asset alert

  • Staff notifications

  • Incident reporting

  • Anomaly alert

How to configure smart building alerts with akenza

With the Rule Engine from akenza, facility managers can set individual business logic to their FM case for quick, clear communication in minutes. The configuration of a new rule is done in a few simple steps, thanks to predefined logic blocks. No coding skills are required.

akenza Rule Engine

Once the device fleet is registered on the platform, one can easily configure a set of rules that will prompt custom alert notifications based on the sensor data. One simply needs to select the data source, implement the desired logic, and finally select the output channel.

Each rule can trigger actions on the following output connectors:

  • SMS to one or multiple recipients

  • Mail to one or multiple recipients

  • AkenzaDB to store data based on a rule logic

  • Webhook for further data processing and alerting on 3rd party applications

  • Downlink to trigger an action on one or multiple devices

  • Data processing to various cloud services for further alert solutions such as

If you want to know more about how to set up your alert services on akenza, you can check our tutorial, How to create SMS alerts, which gives a clear overview of the process.

Additional reference on the roles and challenges of facility managers: What Are The Roles And Responsibilities Of A Facilities Manager

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