What A Smart Building Looks Like
Smart building technology can cut maintenance costs, streamline operations, and offer a better experience for residents and workers — but only with the right network.
Individual IoT devices have been transforming the tech landscape for the last several years. But as this technology scales in a meaningful way, stakeholders across industries are beginning to understand the value of connecting these individual devices to create intelligent systems for the benefit of multiple players.
Smart buildings are a prime example of an intelligent system and represent an exciting way forward for integrated IoT devices and networks. By deploying IoT tech to measure key metrics and linking that tech to self-regulating networks, it’s possible to drive value for building owners, pass on savings to tenants, and deliver a better overall experience for workers, residents, and other building occupants.
Navigant Research projects that the global market for smart buildings will grow from $3.7 billion in 2017 to $10.2 billion in 2026. While the transition to truly smart buildings will take time, it’s important for decision-makers to understand what they stand to gain from investing in the next generation of IoT tech — and what needs to happen if they want to reap those benefits.
What Makes a Building Smart?
There’s no hard-and-fast answer for what makes a smart building smart. Stakeholders from one building to the next will inevitably have different goals in place for smart building initiatives depending on their specific needs. For instance, a data center will likely place a premium on smart temperature control and cooling infrastructure, while a school or college campus might prioritize smart security systems.
Whatever a building’s decision-makers decide to prioritize, smart buildings rely on a connected network of IoT devices which can be monitored and controlled via intelligent software systems.
What are the Benefits of Smart Buildings?
While there is an upfront investment in the technology necessary to make a building smart, the short- and long-term benefits can be dramatic. Many of these benefits are linked back to the way IoT devices can measure building usage and communicate to adjust resources accordingly. For example, HVAC systems can be adjusted to accommodate changing conditions, WiFi bandwidth can be increased for areas that have become user-dense, and lighting can be turned on and off depending on which rooms are occupied.
These may seem like small victories on their own, but taken together, they can save enterprises and organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run. Additionally, the strategic distribution of these resources can not only help the bottom line, but also boost office morale, align organizations with sustainability initiatives, and position companies as tech-savvy and forward-thinking. If workers feel like their comfort is a top priority and view their employers as industry leaders, organizations stand a better chance of retaining top talent.
Finally, smart building technology can help with predictive maintenance. By streamlining this otherwise time-consuming process, facilities personnel can devote their attention to big-picture projects rather than having to put out small fires.
Where are Smart Buildings Today?
Smart buildings are no longer a futuristic technology predicted in industry journals. They’re here, now, for stakeholders who are willing to invest in them. From schools and colleges to office buildings and factories, IoT-enabled platforms are helping facilities cut expenses and provide better experiences.
The hospitality industry is taking advantage of smart building technologies — and with rave results. MGM Resorts has invested in analytics platforms and monitoring devices that have enabled savings of over 2.5 billion gallons of water and 420 million kWh of energy in the past five years.
Urban developers and city leaders are looking even further ahead by grappling with the possibility of achieving smart cities. While they deal with questions surrounding what defines a smart city and what combination of sensors and beacons will improve urban quality of life, one thing is clear — smart buildings will provide a scalable foundation on which to build the smart cities of the future. The strategic deployment of smart building capabilities will allow stakeholders to affect meaningful savings, reduce costs across their facilities, and contribute to a wide range of objectives.
How to Build a Smart Building?
Whether you’re designing a smart building from the ground up or you’re considering how you can equip an existing building with smart technology, it’s crucial that you and your team consider every step that’s needed to achieve your goal. To adequately support large IoT networks, and manage complex software platforms, stakeholders must ensure that they have a strong foundation of wired and wireless connectivity.
With nearly three decades of experience in the networking space, Turn-key Technologies (TTI) has the expertise you need to lay the foundation for smart building technology. From access point installation to the latest in wired network cabling, our team understands what infrastructural improvements are necessary to make the most of IoT capabilities. If you’re ready to launch your smart building initiative or if you’re looking for a network expert to work with you as build your initiative from the ground up, consider how TTI can help.
By Craig Badrick