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.
However, these smart buildings didn’t just pop up out of nowhere! The technologies that make up an intelligent building have been in development over time, we want to give insight into the evolution of these buildings, where it all began and what the future holds!
The start of building intelligence
30 years ago, intelligent buildings had building management systems which consisted of disconnected subsystems that were automated at the level of individual functioning. These different systems were not interconnected and were unable to communicate with each other this meant that building managers had to accumulate data from each system individually to be able to analyse the operations.
The present of smart buildings
We have come a long way in the past years with BMS users progressively adopting a digitised infrastructure of smart devices, energy assets, and integrated applications, all connected – locally, remotely, and to the cloud through wireless communication technologies. Implementing wireless communication protocols has helped to mitigate the limitations of traditional hardwire circuits that have previously caused challenges for infrastructure and the running of building management.
This wireless communication has led to the development of other useful technologies used in smart buildings, for example Internet of Things (IoT) – 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.
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.
Building automation is another smart technology now implemented by building managers - 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 controlled through a Building management system and are compatible with various integrated technologies such as IoT as well as AI. 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.
All of these smart sensors and technologies can be monitored and analysed with big data analytics! Building managers can use Cloud storage to store a massive amount of data created by all this tech. Big data analytics can examine the data to uncover trends, relationships and correlations. This is an automated process which provides the user with never-before-seen levels of visibility and control over a building’s devices, systems, and facilities, and sets the stage for intelligent decision-making.
What does the future hold?
According to a study conducted by Deloitte (;Commercial real estate outlook 2020) In 2020, 75% of real estate executives anticipated that smart buildings would become the norm within 5 years.
The modern workforce has completely altered from what we once knew, with the rise of these smart technologies as well as the global pandemic we have gone through, we are bound to see some changes in the workplace! The pandemic has heightened the need for efficient communications and employee safety, both of which can be improved by the development of smart technologies! Sensors, automation, and AI are only becoming smarter!
With the rise of awareness surrounding sustainability, energy efficiency will also become a focal point for the future of smart buildings. We are already seeing improvements, with smart technologies being able to learn habits and control HVAC e.g. 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, therefore can adjust the climate and lighting for this room in advance!
In the future, buildings should be operating self-sufficiently and using efficient management systems to control the flow of energy by using regenerative energy hopefully from their own solar panel systems, thus reducing buildings carbon footprint!
With AI and the IoT consistently evolving, the possibilities for smart buildings in the future are limitless! Future proofing your building and business has never been more important in the constant changing climate we are in.
Our specialist team currently look after over 500 smart buildings across the UK and our knowledge and experience is of high value in the smart building sector.
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