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What is a Smart Building?

Learn how to use automation to collect data, control processes and manage the usage of a facility and its assets. See how IoT technology is transforming the smart buildings industry with open, wireless devices.

What is a Smart Building?

Making a building smart means using automation to collect data, control processes and manage the usage of a facility and its assets. These buildings serve to help facility and property managers gain insight into the detailed workings of their locations and gather useful data to improve building performance and efficiency. In general, smart buildings are optimized for energy efficiency, comfort and safety.

In the energy management space, lighting and HVAC integration are the two most common systems integrated in a smart building strategy in order to reduce the energy footprint, but the IoT industry has opened the door to more sensors for added intelligence. Some of the most common IoT sensors have applications for smart metering, occupancy sensors, water detection, humidity sensors, contact sensors and carbon monoxide detection among many others.

Based on the client, the best effect for their smart building solution will be driven by their needs. For example, a bank’s main concern may be ensuring lighting and security systems remain on 24/7 to ensure customer safety. A restaurant may be concerned with temperature of the dining area as more people open and close doors and crowd the space to make sure customers are comfortable while eating. A retail store’s top priority may be automating the HVAC to to pre-cool or pre-heat the store before it opens to maximize energy savings. Regardless of the need, incorporating any of the above technologies and being able to tie them together into one ecosystem provides the best smart building program.

IoT Technology and Smart Buildings: The Next Five Years

One of the most important elements of IoT technology and smart buildings in the next 3-5 years stems from being open. Customers will not only want to connect various devices, but they will want to be able to bring it all in one interface.

The latest IoT devices use wireless protocols such as Zigbee, Z-Wave, Enocean, WiFi and Bluetooth. With this in mind, it is important to have a web appliance that will be able to communicate to multiple technologies and have the ability to be expanded to accommodate new standards as they emerge.

In addition to anticipating the newest IoT offerings, companies must also anticipate working with customers who need to tie legacy systems, such as Modbus and BACnet, into their smart building technology. Many large buildings that have expensive, legacy systems will need to work with a company who can integrate their existing equipment with IoT sensors and devices to provide a complete package.

As IoT products continue to evolve, the smart building market will inevitably evolve outside of its current realms. While current applications generally tie into energy-specific systems, such as lighting and HVAC, the next step in the evolution is to expand the automation of the building with integrations of POS systems, scheduling software, beacon technology, and artificial intelligence to name a few.

The speed at which new IoT products and services are being offered means that companies in the smart building space must be able to provide web appliances that can communicate with multiple protocols, as well as partner with device makers, software vendors, and hardware vendors in order to make custom solutions for clients.

FSG Smart Buildings is equipped to bring disparate technologies together to provide custom smart building solutions suited to meet your energy management and building automation needs. For more information about how our Chariot platform can be integrated in your company’s locations, please contact us at fsgemarketing@fsgi.com.

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