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Smart Building Technology and Innovation for Re-opening Education


After many months of virtual learning, re-opening schools for face-to-face education has obvious benefits for students, teachers, and staff; it also brings uncertainty and risk, however. With indoor spaces essential to teaching and learning, how can smart building, smart equipment and IoT technology help schools reopen and stay open? The U.S. Congress has passed legislation that will provide billions of dollars of funding for educational institutions to help support them. This support could be used to address and improve the infrastructure of learning environments - from cleanliness to air quality.

As experts in smart buildings and smart automation, J2 Innovations has plenty of knowledge, technology, and experience to help a range of educational environments to be healthy and comfortable in both the short and long term.

How could our know-how help?

The latest CDC recommendations mention air ventilation considerations such as system upgrades or improvements. One of the things we know about the spread of the COVID-19 virus is that it is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and contact routes, therefore there are factors that need to be considered with regards the HVAC system.

Preventing the recirculation of air from HVAC systems is critical. Recirculating extracted air into fresh air is a normal practice for HVAC systems to reduce energy consumption, however during a pandemic, there is risk of recirculating infected air. Checking the ventilation levels and potentially increasing them from low to high will ensure the air is being replaced with fresh air at a faster rate.
ASHRAE has released a thorough set of resources for COVID-19 that can help answer questions. The EPA also has a resource page that addresses indoor air concerns.

Facility managers and technicians should also be considered with regards to safety. Technology like J2 Innovations’ latest Edge2Cloud would allow for safe and remote building management, without the need to go onsite.

Another valid concern with regards to stopping the spread is how we interact in spaces. There are several instances in which contact with commonly used surfaces has to be made in common areas. By leveraging technology, educational facilities can empower occupants (staff, students and teachers) to interact with the building via a mobile device rather than touching surfaces. For example, operating blinds, controlling the lights, and setting the room temperature from a mobile device are already options for a building management system.

How can J2 Innovations’ technology support?

FIN Framework (FIN) is our innovative open software framework that makes the most out of an existing or new building automation system by optimizing and improving HVAC to be Covid-safe. FIN can seamlessly connect to a wide range of devices and sensors, meaning additional control over a range of safety measures.

FIN is easily customizable to a building’s exact requirements:

  • It has ready-made apps for data management, integration, and visualization - perfect for optimizing comfort and safety levels
  • The microBMS application suite is ideal for school buildings, providing built-in templating. Configuration wizard creation tools enable rapid customization for a wide range of device types, offering de-skilled installation - ideal for delivering safety- focused solutions cost-effectively
  • It has Edge2Cloud technology for safe remote and secure access to site data

Next steps..

If you work with or at an educational facility, get in touch with one of our North American distributors who can help you install and utilize our FIN Framework technology.

If you are an OEM or outside North America, we’d love to talk to you about our open framework  - contact us via this form

In the U.S, federal funds can be used for projects to test, repair and upgrade school buildings to improve air quality and ventilation. The process varies by state, but usually requires a LEA (Local Education Agency) to submit a budget for approval to their SEA (State Education Agency). Federal funds must be allocated by specific dates, so the time to act to improve your educational facility is now!

B. Scott Muench

Scott joined J2 Innovations as a partner in 2011, and is now Vice President of Customer Experience. He has a wide range of responsibilities including evangelism, business development, training, and operational excellence. Scott is well known as an industry expert in smarthomes and smart buildings. He is a past president of ASHRAE, and is currently a board member for Project Haystack. Scott attended Clarkson University for Mechanical Engineering and graduated with a BS/Business in Organizational Innovation.

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Topics from this blog: End User Systems Integrator FIN microBMS Smart Buildings

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