The four pillars of connected building technology

Connected building technology

The Internet of Things is quickly making the future a reality by revolutionising the way people and things – including buildings – operate. Spending on connected buildings is expected to more than triple from 2013 to 2018 according to IDC Energy Insights, representing a 28 percent compound annual growth rate.

Buildings around the world contain numerous devices that all require management and control. Connected building technology allows those in-building devices, like heating and security systems, to be monitored and controlled remotely. Further, property managers can analyse data produced by these devices to optimise operations. The lights not only get turned off at 5pm, energy usage is measured in real-time to determine current requirements across the estate and optimise the entire property asset base accordingly. If usage or circumstances change, the intelligent conversation between machines adjusts accordingly. For example, instead of maintaining a conference room’s temperature at 20 degrees Celsius, a connected building would be able to detect an increased occupancy in the room during a meeting and adjust the temperature accordingly.

Commercial real estate developers and investors are under increased pressure to more tightly manage costs while promoting a sustainable business model. For example, Xchanging’s office building in Koramangala is now recording savings of 12% on their energy bill thanks to connected building technology. This is exciting news as the benefits of connected buildings can be seen across four core areas of operations: IT, safety and security, energy management and property management.

IT operations

Connected building technology converges IT and OT infrastructure, allowing for greater visibility into a building’s infrastructure and avoiding siloing data across different systems. Connected building technology also uses preventative and predictive analysis to forecast actionable events that will impact a building’s efficiency.

Safety and security

With connected building technology, data from video surveillance can be analysed in real-time remotely to determine potential threats, including intrusion, vandalism or environmental issues such as fires and gas leaks. Immediate action can then be taken to prevent a potential security breach.

Energy management

Programmable algorithms ensure building utility systems run as efficiently as possible. Real-time monitoring of a building’s energy consumption and performance creates a complete picture of power usage, providing a proactive solution for managing energy use.

Property management

Connected building technology automates maintenance services, meaning building faults can be diagnosed remotely and resolutions tracked in real-time. Additionally, property managers gain insight into which sites are performing more efficiently.

Subramanian Gopalaratna head of innovation at Xchanging

Over the next few years, connected building technology will become increasingly common in newly constructed offices and commercial spaces. It is projected that spending on this technology will rise to more than $21 billion in 2018. Advancements in software applications, network management and digital analytics will continue to improve connected building energy efficiency.

Tools like the Honeywell Command Wall, an 80-inch screen that displays the physical systems within a building along with the data produced in real-time, allow users to quickly view, analyse and make insight-driven decisions. More examples of this technology will likely follow as demand for seamless user-interfaces and flow of information increases.

By Subramanian Gopalaratna

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