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
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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
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- Carlsbad Desalination Plant
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UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
Commercial Real Estate Digital Transformation - Managing the Change - 1/18/2018
The Commercial Real Estate and the Technology industries operate at very different speeds. Real estate is long-term, slow moving, and relies on practices that have been refined over the last 50 years. Tech, on the other hand, moves at lightning speed with constant updates and innovation. This webinar will focus on the extraordinary change management required to digitally transform a commercial real estate organization. Executive sponsorship, accelerated collaboration, dual strategies and other programs that will best enable this transformation will be addressed. In addition to operational changes impacted by tech, the webinar will also cover tech’s influences on other industries’ business models and how that affects the way we use space.
Founder of Realcomm Conference Group, an education organization that produces Realcomm, IBcon and CoRE Tech, the world's leading conferences on technology, automated business solutions, intelligent buildings and energy efficiency for the commercial and corporate real estate industry. As CEO, Jim interacts with some of the largest companies globally pertaining to some of the most advanced and progressive next generation real estate projects under development.
Bob Rybak Is the CIO at Morguard, a leading Real Estate Investment and Property Management firm based in Toronto, Canada. Bob has been an IT professional, entrepreneur and frequent consultant for almost three decades, working in both the public and private sectors. A graduate of the University of Toronto with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Bob's professional experience has spanned many different companies in a wide range of industries.
Sandy Jacolow joined Silverstein Properties in 2011 as Chief Information Officer, a role in which he oversees the technology initiatives that support the company's financial, operations and development, including the World Trade Center, and Silver Suites activities. Sandy has been active in the real estate industry for nearly 35 years with a focus on the institutional advisory, property management and brokerage markets.
Alex Stanton has over 20 years working with in the real estate application space. Currently as VP of Solution Consulting for Yardi Systems, he leads the solution presales team, who work with customers and prospects to explore how to address business needs. Alex’s recent areas of focus has been to work with clients on the real estate specific applications of cloud, mobile, 'big data' and energy.
Marc Petock is a pioneer in leading the Intelligent/Smart Buildings and M2M movements pushing the industry forward and has contributed to transforming and changing the Intelligent Buildings and M2M (now IoT) industries. As VP, Marketing for both Lynxspring and its sister company, Connexx Energy, heleads corporate and product marketing, strategy, brand management, PR and communications that support the company’s strategic and growth initiatives. Previously, Marc was VP, Global Marketing and Communications at Tridium. Marc is also a contributing author, noted speaker and recognized industry leader having earned several industry accolades. He serves on the board of directors of Connexx Energy and Project Haystack; is an advisor to the Realcomm and a contributing editor to automatedbuildings.com.
Dave Clute has been AEC/FM/IT Design Professional for over 35 years. He spent 10 years at Cisco Systems and 5 years at Zurich Insurance before he joined ESD in 2017. Dave is currently leading the Intelligent Building Practice for ESD Global.
Scott Sidman has 14 years of CRE technology experience leading sales and marketing efforts. He is responsible for supporting company growth goals and assuring company and product direction aligns with market needs as well as leads. Scott is CRE tech evangelist and host of a CRE Tech Talks podcast.