Everything you need to know about the amazing technologies that are integrated in a typical smart building.
What is a SMART Building? A SMART Building (often referred to as ‘buildings of the future’) can be defined as a building that uses sophisticated automated processes to manage and control its operations e.g Security, lighting, WiFi, heat and various other systems. A fully integrated network of sensors, software and microchips are used in these buildings in order to generate a consistent stream of data which is convertible to key real time insights which can then be used for constant improvements in efficiency and cost. What kind of technologies are in SMART Buildings? Many of the conventional smart building technologies have tendencies to overlap with and/or can often interact with one another, meaning it is important to distinguish them and understand each layer of functionality of each smart technology. Read further for an overview of what we believe to be the most influential technologies within the smart building world and the benefits the bring.
Building Automation Building automation is the automatic centralised control of a buildings HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), it also allows for other controls for example, electric, lighting and security systems to name a few. These are controls through a Building management system and are compatible with various integrated technologies such as IoT and AI which we will discuss further later on. Building automation allows, for example, air conditioning or heating to be turned on (dependent on the temperature) when it registers that someone has turned the lights on in a specific conference room. With the integration of other technologies such as IoT and AI, building automation has the ability to learn habits, say you have a morning meeting in a specific room every day at 9am – 10am, these technologies have the ability to pick up on this and therefore can adjust the climate and lighting for this room in advance! Clever right? Having a centralised hub for these functions in place provides some amazing benefits, including reduced operating costs, energy efficiency and improved occupant comfort as a result of these carefully- aligned controls. Internet of Things (IoT) It can be said that IoT is the most important and widespread technology within smart buildings – IoT uses a common internet protocol (IP) platform to enable a connection between multiple devices, enabling you to access, control and monitor all these connected building systems from anywhere on a centralised hub. This is most commonly found now in ‘smart’ homes with functions from smart utility meters, smart camera systems to smart lighting systems, they’re all connected! IoT does the same thing and more for smart buildings. A great example of IoT in action is smart restrooms, especially for commercial buildings, sensors within the restroom can digitally notify the cleaning crew when cleanliness levels are low or restocks of towels, tissues or soap is needed – allowing a more hygienic space for employees or clients. The benefits of IoT are endless, this efficient solution eliminates the need for time-consuming management of individual systems. Smart IoT devices like IoT based water management system, thermostat, air purifier and more, drive for great efficiency to building management, this therefore helps to reduce resource and labour costs in the long run. Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also one of the most crucial pieces of the smart building puzzle. AI Is the process by which software or machinery mimic human intelligence and behaviours and allows for automation. Machine learning however, is the process by which a machine actually acquires a knowledge or skill. Using a platform with built-in AI enables integration and enhanced intelligence across a building, this significantly helps to improve building operations. AI works hand in hand with the integration of machine learning which helps to study algorithms that can improve experience using the data collected. For example, energy efficiency savings are created through automatically reducing electricity use in low-footfall areas, this is done through monitoring sensor around the building which make real-time decisions based on insights made. This not only benefits the occupants as it creates a more comfortable environment, but the building isn’t wasting resources which creates a more sustainable working environment too! Building information modelling (BIM) BIM records and displays the functional characteristics of a facility through an intelligent 3D model-based process, it has become widespread within facilities management. It permits access to asset profiles and locations for example it provides insights on light analysis, spatial awareness and the quantities and properties of building components. BIM software allows for better utilisation of space in buildings as well as increased efficiency through test scenarios. Test scenarios enable you to envision where you want to place things within the building without ever having to physically touch the spaces, this decreases labour spend and reduces downtime too! Final thoughts The power and evolution of the technology within these amazing buildings create endless benefits for not only occupants and clients but the environment too by addressing so many resource problems that normal buildings may struggle with. Integrating some of these technologies into your own business can make a massive difference. Our knowledge and experience in these technologies is of high value in the smart building sector, we offer around the clock support and security. We are able to create tailored solutions specifically to your business’ needs, book your free consultation today for more details.