Modern Trends in Building Automation

Coming out of the pandemic and facing increased work-from-home scenarios, smart building owners are creating strategies to increase space utilization.

Modern Trends in Building Automation

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Over the past few years, several important trends have emerged in the building automation systems (BAS) and building management systems (BMS) sectors, providing new opportunities for systems integrators.

Today’s smart buildings are utilizing integrated networks, wireless, IoT devices and increased energy efficiencies to reduce costs, ease use and provide a better customer experience for both building owners and tenants.

John Nemerofsky, COO of SAGE Integration and member of SSI’s Editorial Advisory Board, explains how integrators can monetize these trends.

“Many buildings have older cable plants that are being converted to IP networks, including full-scale wireless, creating building-wide networks that can be utilized for many different systems. Older, hardwired BMS systems are being replaced with smart IoT devices and Cloud-based control software. These new platforms give customers a single pane of glass to see security, fire, BMS and other integrated systems.”

Buildings are all about increased efficiency and as they expand their IT and wireless infrastructure, smart devices can now be deployed virtually anywhere, creating more flexibility while reducing installation costs. “The new platforms gather data from all systems allowing for better predictive maintenance and increased efficiencies,” Nemerofsky says.

Building owners face the significant challenge of space utilization. In a 2015 study by CBRE, 40% of office space worldwide sat empty. In the U.S., true vacancy rates currently sit at more than 18%. Coming out of the pandemic and facing increased work-from-home scenarios, smart building owners are creating strategies to increase space utilization.

KODE labs, a real estate technology company with energy and building management software solutions, suggests the deployment of three technologies to capture important data to improve space utilization:

  • Occupancy detectors and people counters
  • Electronic access control and video surveillance
  • Building systems software overlay

It is projected that deploying these technologies can result in annual savings of more than $325,000 per floor.

Energy management is also critical. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 19% of the nation’s total energy consumption is attributable to buildings, of which 44% is used for HVAC-related operation like space heating, cooling and ventilation. Increased space utilization technologies, combined with smart BMS and enhanced energy management systems, can provide significant cost reductions.

Lastly, as buildings transition to IP and Cloud-based solutions, the need for broad cyber protections must be a significant part of any strategy. This is another opportunity for integrators. From Buildings magazine: “A new trade is migrating into facilities management from the security system industry. Master systems integrators specialize in building and maintaining data plumbing, or the way Cloud computing systems are connected. The job is part IT, part facilities, and is the natural result of facilities management strategies that increasingly rely on networked devices.”

Technology proliferation cannot be ignored in building management. The market will demand integrators offer these technologies and, in some cases, regulations will mandate it as well.

Savvy integrators should recognize these trends and work with technology partners to develop solutions for this market ahead of the curve.

In addition to meeting customer demand, these solutions bring a strong ROI and better user experiences for the end user and managed services revenue for the integrator. Our industry, as well as most others, has hit a tipping point with Cloud-based, IoT and managed service offerings — they are no longer an option, but rather a requirement.

Tim Brooks is Vice President of Sales and Vendor Management for PSA.

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