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What to Present

Dashboards can provide relevant and timely information to several organizational levels or groups involved with a building's performance. These different users can be facility technicians, managers, C-level executives, tenants, occupants or visitors through kiosks or a web page. The information provided may cover the specifics of particular building systems such as HVAC, electrical or specialty systems, but. they tend to focus on energy usage, costs, KPIs, trends, alarm management, and comparisons with similar buildings. So the first and most important step ise determining the right information for the intended viewer of the dashboard.

Facility technicians have different information needs than C-level executives or the general public. For example, a facility engineer may be interested in subsystem alarms and alarm management. In this case the dashboard needs to display alarm priority, escalation status, alarm acknowledgment, repetitive alarms, out-of-service alarms and subsystem communications or component failure. C-level executives, such as directors of facilities, sustainability, or procurement may want information on energy usage and cost. In this case the dashboard should display the usage and costs of a building's comprehensive and individual utilities, budgeted versus actual utility costs, budget deviations, comparisons with other similar buildings, and meter output for alternative energy sources such as photovoltaic and wind energy.

In developing a series of dashboards, you need to identify what insight each user or group hopes to gain by using the dashboard, and what information at what time interval is needed to support their decision process.

Dashboards will be fed from data and that data will probably need to be collected from several sources: building automation systems, specialty systems, and business systems. For example, if you're creating energy dashboard, energy usage may be generated in a BAS, whereas the cost of the energy may be in a database in the company's accounts payable system, or real-time data from the local utility. If you're a healthcare organization you may be interested in metrics such as energy use of an MRI machine per patient, and need patient counts from business systems. If you are a retail company it may be energy use per customer or per sale and you need customer and sale data from the business systems.

To gather all the information needed for a dashboard you may need a middleware platform to normalize and standardize data generated from several sources in different database formats. This would allow a flexible and consistent platform for the dashboard, but, could potentially trigger additional data management with large amounts of data. Dashboards are typically used for high-level performance summaries. Some dashboards such as analytical dashboards need to drill down to specific data, so data management can depend on the specific use of the dashboards.

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