How Security Integrators Can Capitalize on Rise of IoT-Powered Smart Buildings
Security systems can be a key component of a smart building, provided integrators can communicate the benefits and integrate the Internet of Things.
IMAGINE A BUILDING where employees scan a badge or present a smartphone-based credential to gain access. When access is granted, the building’s other systems are triggered to turn on the lights, adjust the temperature and alert security that someone has accessed the building. During the day the network monitors water use, sending an alert to facilities if a restroom faucet is left running or if a normally locked door is left ajar.
At the end of the day, the access credential is used to exit the building, triggering the reverse actions of the morning – lights are dimmed, temperatures are lowered and doors are locked. Welcome to a building automated by the Internet of Things, or IoT.
While access control may be the “trigger” for all of these functions, the entire system is based on a sophisticated automation system that allows every aspect of a building’s operation to be networked, from lighting to intercoms, access control, video, fire safety and climate controls. In most cases, all of these functions have some shared equipment, even if they don’t always have a shared “customer.” You can conquer this potential divide by offering diverse services that add up to significant cost savings for the end user, as well as enhanced security.
In every building that has an integrated security and access control system, an opportunity awaits to also integrate the building’s energy use, water use, ventilation and more. Understanding where the security integrator can step into the mix may be the key to capitalizing on potential commercial opportunities as the demand for smart technologies continues to grow.
Internet of Things Becomes Key Influencer
Of all the current technology trends, perhaps the most revolutionary in terms of its ability to completely transform the way we live is IoT. Using cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors, IoT enables machine-to-machine communication and creates a mobile, instantaneous link to this interconnected system. It’s projected that by the year 2020 there will be as many as 200 billion connected devices across the globe. That translates to roughly 26 smart objects per person. IoT will ultimately enable anything with an on and off switch to be connected to the Internet.
“Until very recently, the Internet has been almost completely dependent on people and their inputs for its supply of information,” says Rob Martens, futurist and director of connectivity platforms, Allegion Security Products. “However, as tools and products evolve, these new smart devices are able to input data into the Internet themselves. When groupings of these smart devices work in unison, they can reveal previously unseen patterns and opportunities. These results generate huge opportunities.”
In a commercial facility, the result is a building that can not only respond to, but actually anticipate its occupants’ needs and activities. And the more subsystems tied together and automated, the more intelligent and efficient that building becomes.
The potential for energy savings alone is enormous. In the United States, commercial buildings account for nearly 20% of the nation’s energy usage, with more than half that figure being used simply for heating and lighting. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the typical commercial facility wastes 30% of its energy. When you consider that commercial and industrial buildings in the U.S. are responsible for $200 billion in annual energy costs, that translates to $60 billion being wasted each year.
As a result, smart buildings are on the rise around the world as companies consider not only the possible cost savings, but also their environmental impact. Customers are increasingly concerned with the sustainability practices of the companies they do business with. Fortunately, advances in technology – aided by the design and installation expertise of professional integrators – have made it possible for businesses to reduce their environmental impact while improving their bottom line.
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