What is the Building Internet of Things (BIoT)?

The Building Internet of Things (BIoT) promises cost reductions, efficiency gains, and transformational capabilities, but enterprises will need top-tier network infrastructure to capture these benefits.

The underlying belief of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that there’s inherent value in connecting the unconnected.  Thus, it’s no surprise that the IoT market is growing rapidly. Global investment in the IoT reached $656 billion in 2014 and it’s expected to top $1.7 trillion by 2020.

The Building Internet of Things (BIoT) takes the concept of the IoT and applies it to commercial buildings. For those familiar with the space, BIoT can be thought of as an “enhanced” building automation system (BAS). The difference? BAS automates simple functions, while IoT systems allow for complex, objective-oriented decisioning that outstrips human capabilities. A BAS can say “turn off the lights at 9PM”, while an IoT-enabled system can say “turn off the lights in all the empty rooms,” or even “allocate HVAC resources according to the number of occupants in each room.”

The traditional BAS market is predicted to grow from $75.0 billion in 2019 to $121.5 billion by 2024, marking a CAGR of 10.12%. Experts credit much of this predicted growth to continuous BIoT developments and implementation.

Enterprises should consider investing in their own buildings if they haven’t begun doing so already. A great way to start is to learn where and how IoT devices are making their way into buildings.

Smart Security

Smart security is one of the most prominent sub-markets in the BIoT. In fact, the global smart security market is anticipated to grow at a 15.79% CAGR between 2018 and 2026. One of the leading products in this arena is smart locks: electromechanical locks which control physical access to buildings and send alerts to users during critical events.

Smart locks can help enterprises manage authentication and access needs throughout their buildings. An administrator can use a computer or phone applications to grant specific users access to offices, elevators, garages, IT closets. etc. Administrators can even set high-level guardrails to intelligently grant specific classes of personnel with predefined access levels. These capabilities represent a substantial improvement over the previous system of distributing keys and changing locks — a costly, time-consuming, and notoriously error-prone endeavor.

Alongside smart locks, biometric authentication systems are gaining significant traction in the space. These systems utilize tools like fingerprint readers, retinal eye scanners, facial recognition, and hand geometry readers to improve physical security. Moreover, employers and employees alike tend to prefer the convenience and security of biometric authentication as compared with legacy systems like passwords and key cards.

Smart Safety

The BIoT is also tackling safety protocols in industrial-sized buildings. Traditionally, fire safety experts recommend replacing smoke detectors at least every 10 years. Buildings nearing the end of these device lifecycles should be investing in smart smoke detectors, which are a significant step-up from their non-connected predecessors. The smoke detector market is expected to reach more than $7 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of close to 7%, and experts attribute this projected growth to technological advancements.

Unlike legacy hardware, smart detectors are designed to send notifications directly to users’ phones when an alarm is triggered. They also incorporate self-testing features that notify users when their batteries are low or if there are any sensor issues that need repairing. Likewise, since smart detectors are paired with multiple communication technologies, users can wirelessly disable them during a false alarm. In case of WiFi outages, many detectors will use mesh networks like Bluetooth to stay connected to one another. What’s more, most will be installed with battery work-arounds in case of electrical outages in the building.

Smart Energy Efficiency

From a cost perspective, the BIoT’s greatest impact will likely be seen in the area of energy efficiency. At the forefront of this effort is smart lighting. Enterprises are bringing LED lights online to harness energy savings and expand centralized control over their workspaces. Some IT teams have begun utilizing Power over Ethernet (PoE) practices to enhance these efforts even further. While PoE has traditionally been used to power cameras and similar devices in remote areas, it’s now being used to manage lighting systems.

Using ethernet to power smart lighting can give users increased control over their lighting, not just via remote access, but also for configuring dynamic workspaces or updating exhausted light fixtures. The global market for smart lighting is projected to reach $47 billion by 2020.

Smart Parking

Another big piece of the BIoT pie is smart parking systems. Smart parking combines technology and human behavior to make parking in dense areas easier. It requires aggregating data in real time with low-cost sensors. This data is distributed to mobile phones so employees can be notified of where there are open parking spots in enterprise lots. Although a relatively new development, it’s already gaining significant momentum — the market is expected to exceed more than $5.51 billion by 2024 with a CAGR of 19.01%.

It may seem like a small time saver with minimal impact, but smart parking actually has a tremendous impact on resource management, particularly by saving fuel and space, but also with employee time. This can improve workflows while also setting a positive environmental precedent. According to some reports, smart parking could result in 220,000 gallons of fuel saved by 2030 if implemented successfully.

Smart Buildings Need Smart IT

Connected topologies demand tremendous resources. Not only do many IoT devices crowd bandwidth, they also require computational resources, large volumes of data storage, and can destabilize networks. Of course, the many benefits that enterprises stand to gain by developing BIoT environments in their workplaces make these problems worth solving. However, enterprise IT departments should think twice about launching these digital transformation projects on their own. They’ll need top-tier infrastructure as a backbone, and a trusted partner to help them along the way. And that’s where Turn-key Technologies (TTI) comes in.

With over 30 years of industry experience, TTI can help enterprises adhere to best practices in BIoT — from upgrading to WiFi 6 to installing a high-performance structured cabling system capable of managing the increased network traffic.

The award-winning IT professionals at TTI hold expertise across a wide range of technical support issues. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do to bring your building infrastructure up to speed.

By Craig Badrick


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