Smart building technology arms a building’s component systems with the ability to communicate with each other and with management. Security systems, plumbing, electricity, waste management, temperature control, and more work exchange data constantly in order to improve the comfort and safety of people living or working inside the buildings.
Smart building technology works for both residential and commercial buildings.
Smart buildings promote resident and visitor convenience and safety with a variety of services. For example, the building may offer devices to residents or guests that allow 24/7 maintenance calls. They may also allow residents or guests to set air conditioning or coffee machines to operate at a certain time of day.
These temperature controls and automatic lighting systems also keep the building’s energy footprint low.
Smart buildings also offer biometric security systems in place of simple locks. They often also have automatic alerts about, for example, intruders or fire alarms sent to emergency services.
A good smart building system uses building infrastructure data as well as up-to-date information on local or municipal services or utilities. The building’s smart systems may send alerts to these utilities in the case of issues like burst pipes; they may also cooperate with the local utilities services to bring down water or energy usage.
In order for the building’s security system to work, resident and employee data must also be included.
Essential external data includes the latest security news and local energy regulations. In the case new threats or changes to accepted policy.
It may require resident input to decide on what additional data sources may be used in a given smart building. Perhaps the local climate should be used, if the building’s residents want to further increase their green performance with xeriscaping or building gardens.
In addition, and especially in the case of commercial operations, industry news and market trends should be considered.
The cost of implementing smart building technology is one of its greatest challenges. This is especially true if building management or residents choose to upgrade their building piece-meal: when one component of the building cannot communicate with another, the convenience of the IoT system is lost.
Additionally, residents and guests often have privacy concerns, especially with biometric data collection. Solutions to this concern range from anonymizing the data collection to just not including certain data technologies.
Finally, of course, network security is an issue. The management must ensure that all the data generated by and used by the facility remains secure at all times. Restricting access to data platforms to only vetted, authorized employees is a good, basic solution, but other security controls should be considered.
Overcoming technology obsolescence means we have to take building infrastructure seriously – and treat it as the true backbone of modern intelligent buildings – not as an add-on. If we do that then we can ensure that building owners and occupiers can make better decisions on how to use their facilities, better serve occupant needs and lower maintenance costs – for the entire life of the building, however long that might be.
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