How Internet of Things Can Transform Building Management

The modern large-scale building is a maze of different technologies and systems that can be aligned through the Internet of Things (IoT). In his blog, Bryn Jones discusses the growing interest in IoT and how it can transform buildings and the urban environment.

Internet of ThingsThe modern large-scale building is a maze of different technologies and systems. From HVAC, power management and lighting, to security and surveillance systems, so many different systems create complexity and inefficiency.

This can make achieving business goals − such as cost reduction, energy efficiency, flexibility and future proofing − far more difficult. Building managers often end up being pulled in opposing directions. Dealing with a problem in one area often increases challenges in other areas.

That's why there's so much interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) and how this could transform not just buildings but the entire urban environment.

The goal of IoT is to make individual technologies smarter, more connected and able to work in combination with other systems. It promises to make provisioning and managing buildings simpler and more efficient, with more informed and continuous insight as to how resources are being utilized.

How can intelligent buildings and IoT deliver all of this?

IoT is about two emerging trends brought together to work in combination. The first is a shift in Internet technologies embracing objects and embedded technologies. The second is the development of cloud data repositories and analytics specifically designed to work with data produced by 'things'.

With the advent of IPv6, this protocol greatly expands the number of Internet addresses available. That means embedded systems, and all their subsystems, and even individual sensors and components, can each have their own unique globally identifiable IP address.

The second component is the cloud. For the IoT, the cloud adds the ability to collect and store massive amounts of sensor and embedded data continuously in special IoT repositories. The cloud also makes it possible to cross-reference IoT data with other datasets; both from within a building and from across the Internet. This could be weather or energy grid datasets, pricing information, security alerts, news or transportation datasets.

The cloud also allows for predictive analytics, and 'smart' fine-tuning of building systems. It then becomes possible to create sophisticated algorithms in the cloud that continuously analyze in real-time both internal and external datasets, and manage building systems.

An intelligent building can use data analytics to reduce costs and improve energy efficiency. Weather datasets allows algorithms to pre-empt changes and forward plan energy requirements. Real-time energy price forecasts and predictions can allow building systems to take advantage of low price periods for energy and thermal storage.

A building intelligence platform, such as CommScope’s Redwood platform, and HVAC can be connected to room scheduling systems, while occupancy sensors can provide real-time information on actual room use, dimming lights and HVAC in areas in case of postponed or cancelled meetings without calendar systems being updated.

Does this help future proof investment?

IoT-enabling a building also future proofs it and brings down long term costs, both capital expenditures and operation expenditures. Intelligent buildings can monitor equipment continuously and detect when a system is close to failure. This helps extend equipment life, while reducing replacement and operational costs.

Adopting IoT and intelligent building technologies is not restricted to new buildings. Old buildings can become intelligent as well. The Empire State Building, which dates back to 1929, was converted into an intelligent building. Nor does converting to an intelligent building mean replacing your entire existing technology infrastructure. Much of the installed building equipment can be readily adapted to work with IoT technologies.

IoT makes it possible for a single, advanced building network infrastructure to integrate all building technology systems while cutting complexity and expense.

For more information on the connected and efficient building, you can register here to download the ultimate guide.