Will Information Technology (IT) Drive the Future of Smart Buildings?
Traditional smart building deployments have largely focused on gaining control of operational technology (OT). Only recently has attention been paid to linking building systems to enterprise systems (like data centers running ERP software) and the values that can therein be derived. Unfortunately, building owners and property management companies are forgoing opportunities to significantly improve portfolio management, reduce utilities cost, and increase operational efficiency (among other things) due to the perceived complexity and cost of implementing new systems.
The status quo is changing as the information technology industry begins to re-imagine how we approach smart buildings. Standardized IT equipment, like fog and edge computing appliances, is allowing classic OT and modern IT infrastructure in buildings to intersect, enabling building stakeholders to make better use of building data together with both distributed and centralized analytics. The end result is operational savings that boost the bottom line of businesses.
The marriage of legacy building operational technologies with standardized information technology systems will allow solution integrators to give building owners more domain control, data visibility, and security (data and network) than ever before. The opportunity to deploy out-of-band systems that expose the data from all aspects of the facility, and in turn, deliver new operating capabilities and insights with greater customization to owners' needs is the real value that can be derived from these new approaches.
One of the key challenges facing building owners and property management companies is getting a holistic view of building operations when today’s automation offerings are typically proprietary and siloed in nature. These existing solutions use in-band systems that tend to isolate or conceal data from the building owners. In many cases, data is locked by unique naming conventions, encrypted data streams, and proprietary headers and footers that make it impossible to acquire the information, let alone actually make use of it. Therefore, combining data elements from different building systems can be an expensive, complex and confusing undertaking. Consequently, informed decision making is commonly impeded from a lack of all-inclusive, relevant, and contextual data viability.
The market dynamics of the building industry have allowed these automation silos to exist, but now building stakeholders are asking for out-of-band systems to better integrate all major building systems into a unified technology infrastructure.
Eliminating Data Silos
Intel sees the building industry adopting an open-standards platform thought process to address the aforementioned data and connectivity issues. Placing standardized IT equipment at the point of data aggregation opens a data stream that marries together the silos in a highly-flexible, cost-effective manner. Intel believes this market – that has been largely closed, siloed, and proprietary – will rapidly transition to open, standards-based systems, allowing building owners to more easily acquire the data across operational environments and then apply analytics in a manner that is customized to their business objectives
Beyond the Data
These cost effective, standards-based, edge platforms, called a variety of names, like IoT gateways, fog appliances, and fog servers, are built to bridge the divide between IT and OT environments. They are highly flexible, programmable platforms that can be rapidly adapted to the diverse equipment types on the operational equipment side of the effort while seamlessly connecting to standard IT environments on the enterprise side. These systems are the primary ingredients used to create new out-of-band systems that sit on top of existing (or new) building systems to ease the collection and processing of operational data. There are also other important benefits that these newly-positioned offerings bring, including:
- Interoperability – enabling bidirectional communication between building systems that may use different network protocol and data models.
- Manageability – supporting the life cycle of systems and devices - from onboarding, provisioning, controlling, maintaining, and software updating - to retirement.
- Security – protecting devices, data, and company IP using a layered security model that employs hardware- and software-based solutions.
- Scalability – future-proofing the infrastructure by allowing for new workloads; expanded analytics; the creativity of users; bigger and bigger compute, analytics, and processing; and small-to-large compute-footprint platforms.
Whether you are a building owner, systems integrator, or OEM, successfully bridging OT and IT infrastructure takes careful planning. Before getting started, make sure you have a good idea about how this improved infrastructure can help lower cost, generate revenue and profit, and improve occupant productivity and satisfaction. How will this effort help differentiate the business from competitors? What services will be created?
I will be publishing a series of articles that offer my perspective on creating such a vision as well as recommendations in the form of 'how-to' topics:
- (1) Connect to data
(2) Secure data
(3) Store data
(4) Implement networks and communications
(5) Manage devices
(6) Tie buildings to the cloud or data center
(7) Create a data analytics environment
(8) Identify the skill set your workers need
(9) Integrate the new systems
(10) Deploy and implement in your facilities
(11) Evolve from buyer-supplier relationships to partnerships
The next evolution of smart buildings will be driven in large part by IT dynamics – which is fundamentally an open-standards approach. IT solutions can seamlessly connect dissimilar networks together using scalable and interoperable standard products that allow for high levels of flexibility. Building owners will be able to take advantage of the latest IT innovations, like the cloud, remote applications, and remote management.
The world is becoming more adaptable than ever before, and now it’s time for smart buildings to follow suit.
With IP-based building networks becoming more commonplace, who will drive the industry? Will it be traditional companies, IT-focused organizations or both? This top of mind topic will be discussed at Realcomm | IBcon 2017 on June 14-15 in San Diego. An esteemed panel of IoT for Buildings domain experts will discuss and debate the future of smart buildings and the changing relationships between stakeholders.
This Week’s Sponsor
Now in its fourth decade, Yardi® is committed to the design, development and support of software for real estate investment management and property management. With the Yardi Commercial Suite™, Yardi Multifamily Suite™, Yardi Investment Suite™ and Yardi Orion™ Business Intelligence, the Yardi Voyager® platform is a complete real estate management solution. It includes operations, accounting and ancillary processes and services with portfolio-wide business intelligence and platform-wide mobility. Yardi is based in Santa Barbara, Calif., and serves clients worldwide from offices in North America, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.yardi.com.
Innovation Tech Tours | Register Now!
Join us as we visit TEN extraordinary locations around San Diego that demonstrate the latest technologies and innovations impacting the commercial, corporate and institutional real estate industry.
The following Innovation Tech Tours will be presented (subject to change):
- CALIT2 | Qualcomm Institute | UCSD
- Qualcomm | Smart Campus
- Sempra Energy HQ
- ScaleMatrix | Data Center and Genomics Accelerator
- UCSD | Advanced Energy Park
- Solterra EcoLuxury Net-Zero Apartment Community
- Carlsbad Desalination Plant
- J. Craig Venter Institute
- San Diego Smart Airport
- East Village | 21st Century Neighborhood
Not registered for the conference yet? Register NOW!
UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
A Path to Net Zero – Driving ENERGY EFFICIENCY in Smart Buildings - 7/18/2019
One of the first trends to emerge in the modern smart building movement was energy conservation and efficiency. Approximately eight years ago, the industry realized that connecting energy related equipment to a network and applying advanced analytics and complex integration strategies could result in a significant reduction in energy and natural resource consumption and a resultant decrease in energy related expenses. In recent years, operational efficiency and occupant experience have been added to the smart building discussion, sometimes overshadowing energy efficiency. This webinar will focus on the very important goal of including energy efficiency in the comprehensive smart building strategy.
Ruairi is a respected high-performance building design expert. His aim is to elevate the built environment and restore order to the climate for future generations. He specializes in commissioning services for new and existing buildings, building energy assessments, high performance building design, energy modeling/advanced building simulation, and measurement and verification consulting.
Sarah Zaleski currently serves as a Senior Advisor for the U.S. Department Building Technology Office where she leads commercial zero energy efforts, district-scale solutions, and a portfolio of data infrastructure projects. In previous roles at DOE, Sarah led local government clean energy innovation programs. Sarah has over 15 years of experience in sustainability and energy work. Before DOE, Sarah worked for Baltimore City where she helped establish their Office of Sustainability.
Ryan Knudson, is the AVP for Operations and Energy Management at Macerich. He is responsible for the development, execution and operations for all Capital Expense Energy and Smart Building projects as well as national program vendor management. He oversees the daily operations of Macerich’s portfolio with a focus on same center NOI growth.
Akshai Rao, a vice president at Yardi, is responsible for the development of procurement and energy management solutions to ensure high-performing buildings. Prior to Yardi, Akshai spent five years at Bain & Company where he focused on technology and telecom.
Jean-Simon Venne is a tech expert who thrives on developing and implementing new technology to solve long-standing commercial issues. He has over 25 years of experience in the fields of telecommunications, biotechnology and energy-efficiency specializing in the fast and efficient migration of technological innovations to commercial applications. With an industrial engineering background, Jean-Simon is uniquely trained to optimize the value creation opportunity that exists where new technology intersects with business and energy markets.
Gary Fescine FMA, RPA is the president of GFC his own consulting firm. He has recently retired from BlackRock where he was global director of facilities, building operations, overseeing 77 sites in 23 countries. He has held a number of related positions including director of facilities at The New York Times and director of operations at the New York Post. Mr. Fescine was the recipient of several energy savings awards including the Energy New York Award in 2017.