Building Automation Systems: Become an Expert and Win Customers With These 5 Benefits
As technologies continue to converge, integrators are increasingly fınding opportunities at the intersection of security and building automation systems.
Traditionally, security and building control systems have been separated physically and often managed by different teams. A modern building automation system (BAS), often called a building management system (BMS), can make it easier and more efficient to integrate these two realms.
As a security systems integrator, it’s important to educate customers on the benefits of integrating traditional security systems with a BMS. It not only makes sense to integrate these systems that support occupant needs but it can also unlock synergies throughout the facility that support sustainability — by reducing energy use and carbon emissions — while also enhancing operational efficiencies.
When explaining the advantages of a fully integrated solution to potential customers — one that incorporates a BMS to monitor and manage both security systems and building controls — there are five key benefits to emphasize: seamless security, enhanced occupant well-being, unified situational awareness, greater productivity and improved sustainability.
How a BMS Benefits the Security Integrator
Because technical labor is tough to find in today’s tight job market, many integrators are finding it challenging to keep up with servicing their customers. With its predictive maintenance and self-calibrating features, a building management system (BMS) can help integrators do more with less.
In the coming years, buildings will continue to become more digitally connected and an integrated BMS will be critical to maintaining occupant comfort and safety, as well as optimizing building efficiencies and energy consumption.
To stay competitive, security integrators need to look beyond traditional solutions toward a holistic view of security that maximizes savings and optimizes energy use as it helps protect occupants and assets.
1. Seamless Security
A BMS can maximize the performance of a facility’s security systems. When integrated with video systems and sensors situated throughout a building, a BMS can provide insight into how and when occupants use spaces, how they engage with each other and where they tend to congregate.
Foot traffic patterns revealed by video analytics and data from the access control system can inform BMS load patterns and help settings for ventilation and temperature controls, help update social distancing guidelines and other pandemic restrictions, and reduce energy consumption.
Ideally, the elements of a security system work together seamlessly to cover all the bases — from parking and access control to visitor management, occupant tracking and video surveillance. In many facilities though, access control systems keep track of occupants entering the building but not of those exiting.
Leveraging a BMS, operators can access the people-counting function of their video analytics to check exiting numbers against those who entered the building earlier in the day. As another backup, they can check data from sensors installed to monitor carbon dioxide and lighting to track how many employees remain in each space after closing time.
In potentially hazardous workplaces such as manufacturing or warehousing facilities, a BMS that has been integrated with the facility’s security system can be used to create automatic workflows that initiate lockouts, turn on emergency lighting or open doors in case of an emergency.
These automated responses can potentially avert life-threatening situations as well as help reassure workers that safety systems are working behind the scenes to protect them. It can also help first responders know the exact people count in a specific space or zone so that they can take appropriate action.
2. Enhanced Occupant Well-Being
While HVAC and lighting systems are essential to occupant well-being and comfort, security systems play a role in creating and maintaining safe, healthy buildings. When integrated with a BMS, security and HVAC systems can work together to enhance the performance of both.
For example, video systems and connected sensors situated throughout a building can provide insight into how spaces have historically been used to predict where and when occupants are likely to engage with one another. At a more tactical level, they can alert staff to an unidentified object left in the building or an occupant who has slipped and fallen.
Foot traffic patterns, tracked by video surveillance and analytics, can inform the BMS allowing settings for ventilation, temperature and humidity controls to adjust to improve occupant comfort and well-being. Video and access control systems can also show facility managers where and when crowds tend to form.
In corporate office buildings, for example, there’s often a rush at building exits or turnstiles at the end of the workday. Using a BMS, operators can command the access control system to temporarily open exit doors and unlock turnstiles to ease the flow of exiting employees.
3. Unified Situational Awareness
The ability to monitor and control the performance of all building systems on a single BMS dashboard using real-time data provides facility managers with numerous advantages. Facility managers can, for example, track key performance indicators for security, occupant well-being, air quality, energy efficiency and space utilization and fine-tune settings when and where needed.
The BMS dashboard can also allow facility managers to achieve integrated outcomes by combining the functions of individual systems. A BMS can enlist the access control system to track how many people enter and exit a space.
Let’s use the example of office building workers who often must badge in but not out again. Video analytics can automatically track people exiting as well as entering a given space.
More critically, if a smoke detector alerts the BMS to a possible fire in the building, it can signal the access control system to lock elevators, unlock all emergency exits and open turnstiles to expedite safe building evacuation.
By providing big-picture visibility into occupant well-being and safety KPIs, a BMS helps building owners and managers use all available assets — security systems included — to improve occupant experience.
4. Greater Productivity
As more employees move to a hybrid work-style, splitting their week between the office and home, other integrated outcomes are possible that can help boost employee productivity. Aggregated data from security, HVAC and lighting systems can be used to analyze space utilization and reconfigure workspaces to accommodate new use patterns and protocols.
When integrated with video analytics, a BMS can be used to collect occupancy data to assess which office spaces are getting used more or less. Such information can help managers reconfigure access controls and reprogram ventilation and lighting controls to optimize energy use.
5. Improved Sustainability
Commercial real estate firms and large corporations are under increasing pressure to adopt and implement sustainability programs that aim to reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint across their holdings and facilities. By providing real-time visibility into the energy performance of HVACs, lighting systems and “plug loads,” a BMS can help pinpoint areas where efficiencies can be enhanced to help meet energy conservation and net zero goals.
Studies such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s “About the Commercial Buildings Integration Program” report have shown that, on average, 30% of energy consumed by commercial buildings is wasted.
By using video analytics and access control systems to augment data from a smart HVAC, facility managers can track and analyze trends in energy consumption against evolving occupancy levels in spaces throughout the building and use this data to adjust lighting, comfort and ventilation setpoints.
Leveraging BMS technology, building owners and enterprises can collect data, set energy performance baselines and track progress toward their sustainability goals. A BMS can also be used to collect additional data from both building controls and security systems to identify operational changes that not only support overall ESG initiatives but enhance occupant experience.
Bhavesh Gupta is Director of Engineering for Honeywell Building Technologies.
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