Most buildings today have some sort of smartness to them. Whether it is lighting, HVAC, automation, energy management solutions, or a combination of multiple systems – the same question often comes to mind: how smart do your systems really have to be to keep up with growing demands?
The truth is that technology simply doesn’t age at the same rate as bricks or steel. But just like an old brick stone building should be upgraded rather than torn down, you should give your technical installations the same shot. So, where do you begin?
Start with a plan
Some begin small, utilizing sensors and choosing to connect a few installations to an IoT platform. Maybe with a plan to connect further down the road. Others have carved their goal in stone, going all out with integrating multiple systems from the get-go, knowing it will save them money in the long run.
Which route is the best for you is dependent on your goal. That’s why there is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to building automation solutions. But some planning ahead can make it easier to start off on the right foot.
Challenges in integrating smart buildings – and how to get ahead
Both building owners and facility managers can face some headaches when implementing automation to buildings today, especially retrofitted or renovated ones from another era. In these buildings, the technical equipment usually mixes both old and new – making it difficult to integrate.
Step 1: Choosing the right solution
While you may view conflicting systems as a stumbling block, the first step is recognizing them as an opportunity. Because in what better way can you deliver real, measurable change than by analyzing existing data – and becoming better?
Now, let’s step back to your great plan again. Is your goal to reduce operational costs? Then you might focus on your core installations, such as ventilation, heating, or larger cooling systems. Then you can benefit from using a SCADA platform to connect your installations.
For others, the most important thing may be to stay on top of temperatures and be alerted if faults should happen. Looking for options that allow you to add on other systems or solutions later is a great way to ensure scalable possibilities that you won’t grow out of right away.
Step 2: Utilizing ready-to-connect technology with existing systems
The strength of more modern building systems is the ability to share data. Make sure that you choose independent solutions utilizing open protocols, APIs, or drivers. This allows systems from various vendors, such as ventilation and lighting, to communicate with each other and transport information.
Put in an open management platform, like an IoT platform or a more extensive SCADA system, you get a better view of the performance of your installations and a better understanding of your building. If you have multiple buildings, you can use the same platform to gather all information from your operations – making you better understand your consumption as a whole and make changes to optimize operations.
Step 3: Support and adjustments for the future – every so often
The tech you find in building automation systems today is more complex than ever before. Set a plan for reviewing technical installations and software every so often, and utilize some expert help every once in a while to keep everything running smoothly.
Creating energy-efficient, sustainable buildings for the future is all about reusing, updating, and choosing technology built around open APIs and protocols. This way, you can ensure that the integrations you make today are possible to scale, build on and continue to use – for years to come.
Ready to find your perfect solution?