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How IoT is helping create the ‘smart buildings’ of the future

There are few environments as complex as commercial buildings, which must support hundreds or even thousands of users and which have many subsystems dedicated to keeping them comfortable, safe and efficient.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices have improved efficiencies in many environments, from manufacturing to water treatment. Their ability to harvest data and send it back to a central point makes them ideal for automating management in complex environments.

Now, IoT creates powerful opportunities to automate many aspects of building management, creating benefits ranging from environmental efficiency to cost management. According to Gartner, smart technologies can reduce overall building costs by 30%.

Major changes are beginning to take shape in new construction, where the primary driver is changing from cost reduction to features that enhance the user experience and change how users and buildings interact. Instead of there being a single “killer-app” for user-experience, we are starting to see a combination of use-cases.

These use-cases leverage the Internet of Things, sensors and connectivity to enable customization of spaces in offices and conference rooms based on occupancy levels and occupant preferences, efficient mobility throughout the building, and they help occupants with location and wayfinding – all controllable by mobile platforms. Most importantly, they are capable of predictive awareness of individual needs.

This automation depends on integration with the building-management system (BMS), which can process information from multiple sensors and control building functions remotely. Large commercial buildings use IT applications to connect various BMSs that normally operate independently during operation, enabling them to share information and optimize overall building performance.

As smart building technologies mature, companies are finding new opportunities to improve their commercial spaces, making them more energy efficient, cost-effective and improving the working environment. Smart building functions span a range of technologies, each of which can be used on its own, or in conjunction with others to derive even more benefits.


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