Smart Buildings : Modern Trends in Building Automation


In the last couple of years, and for various reasons, society hurtled into the digital era. As we know, innovation is now the key to success in any business. The internet of things (IoT) is becoming the norm for homes. For instance, millions now own at least one intelligent product, such as televisions and personal digital assistants like Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod and Google Home. So, as more people become comfortable with smart technology at home, more will want the same convenience in their workplaces. Meanwhile, the more comfortable the office building, the higher the energy consumption.


The Rise of The Smart Buildings

Smart buildings are an important tool in reducing energy consumption. To deal with problems like increased population and climate change, we will need smart infrastructure that operates efficiently and saves energy. In the European Union, for example, 40% of energy consumption is attributable to existing buildings.

A smart building uses automated processes to control operations such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, and security. Today, smart buildings utilise integrated networks, wireless, Internet of Things (IoT) devices to minimise energy use and environmental impact. The demand for this building type will increase significantly in the coming years. According to recent studies, the global smart building market is forecasted to grow to $127.09 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate of 12.5%.


Smart Buildings Challenge

1. Space Utilization

Space utilisation is a major problem for smart building owners. In a 2015 study by CBRE, 40% of office space worldwide sat empty. In the U.S., true vacancy rates currently sit at more than 18%. Coming out of the pandemic and facing increased work-from-home scenarios, smart building owners are competing to create strategies to increase space utilisation.

Some technology suggestions to improve space utilisation include:

  • Occupancy detectors and people counters
  • Electronic access control and video surveillance
  • Building systems software overlay

It is projected that deploying these technologies can result in annual savings of over $325,000 per floor.

2. Energy Management

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 19% of the nation’s total energy consumption is attributable to buildings, of which 44% is used for HVAC-related operations like space heating, cooling, and ventilation. Increased space utilisation technologies, combined with smart BMS and enhanced energy management systems, can provide significant cost reductions.

3. Cybercrime Prevention

As buildings transition to IP and cloud-based solutions, the need for broad cyber protections must be a significant part of any strategy. This is another opportunity for integrators. Buildings magazine says, “A new trade is migrating into facilities management from the security system industry. Master systems integrators specialize in building and maintaining data plumbing, or the way Cloud computing systems are connected. The job is part IT, part facilities, and is the natural result of facilities management strategies that increasingly rely on networked devices.”

This means technology proliferation cannot be ignored in building management. The market will demand integrators offer these technologies and, in some cases, regulations will mandate it as well. Savvy integrators should recognise these trends and work with technology partners to develop solutions for this market ahead of the curve.

In addition to meeting customer demand, these solutions bring a strong ROI and better user experiences for the end user and managed services revenue for the integrator. Our industry, as well as most others, has hit a tipping point with Cloud-based, IoT and managed service offerings — they are no longer an option, but rather a requirement.


Technology in Smart Buildings

Many buildings have older cable plants that are being converted to IP networks, including full-scale wireless, creating building-wide networks that can be utilized for many different systems. Older, hardwired BMS systems are being replaced with smart IoT devices and Cloud-based control software. These new platforms give customers a single pane of glass to see security, fire, BMS and other integrated systems.

Buildings are all about increased efficiency and as they expand their IT and wireless infrastructure, smart devices can now be deployed virtually anywhere, creating more flexibility while reducing installation costs. The new platforms gather data from all systems allowing for better predictive maintenance and increased efficiencies.


Take The Leap Now

Smart homes, smart offices, smart buildings, smart cities, etc., are slowly becoming the norm. Either as a smart building owner or facilities manager, you must take a leap in this direction by good research and implementation. You can find companies specialising in this work to help bring your vision to life.

Blue IoT is a disruptive and innovative smart cities vendor and integrator renowned for ‘Encompass Blue‘ – the world’s first IoT platform suite for smart cities management. Together, with Encompass Blue, we can be a part of a carbon net-zero world. Let’s work towards a better future for our planet and the people on it.

Every thought matters! We’ll be pleased to discuss smart buildings with you.

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