What’s slowing integration in Building Internet of Things (BIoT)?
Source: Prasanth Aby Thomas, Consulting Editor
Security systems, building automation systems, energy control, and lighting systems have all advanced rapidly in recent years. However, despite claims of these disparate systems being integrated to work seamlessly with each other, there has not been much progress due to lack of a common communication standard, says Memoori
In a recent post, the research firm noted that progress has been made in connecting at the field level by applying one common communication protocol
to join sensors and controllers across these different systems in buildings. The use of a common operating platform can be used but this does not necessarily make it “open” and often requires using software interfaces between some devices.
“On new installations today, there is limited use of operating on one common communication standard to join systems at the field level across a few different systems,” Memoori said. “So today we have limited possibilities of using an open system across the different services in buildings because so far there is not a suitable communication protocol that is appropriate for all applications. For this reason, integrating physical security systems and other building services is more difficult to engineer and commission and expensive to maintain. Consequently, integration between all the different types of systems has not developed as fast as was forecast and growth appears to have stalled.”
The increased proliferation of IP-based systems has helped bring several devices together but there is still a need for a common protocol to take full advantage of the solutions. Several open protocols are currently in use but there aren’t any that can support buildings to function in their maximum capacity.
With the right communication protocol, buildings automation systems can also be integrated with enterprise management solutions
and when all these systems are unified to work together, we have the Building Internet of Things (BIoT)
The path to BloT
While the industry is yet to reach a better mode of integration in buildings, systems integrators, and major suppliers, for the most part, are working to integrate devices with software platforms of their own. For end users, however, being locked with one supplier would not be a good choice as this would mean limited flexibility and possible high costs.
“SIs have overcome some of this resistance by focusing on specific vertical markets such as Transport, Retail and Healthcare and encouraging other product suppliers to join them so that end users can get a better choice of equipment to meet their needs, whilst still delivering plug and play solutions,” Memoori pointed out.
In the security industry, the integration of the three major segments has been successful to a large extent. Physical Security Management Systems (PSIM) have been used for interoperability between safety & security systems including fire detection, extinguishing, evacuation, mass notification. This is not just seen in large projects now but also in medium to smaller level projects.
Major solution providers have followed the system of directly approaching end users, but now independent SIs are offering complete service packages from design to implementation, not just in security but in all different kinds of building-related solutions. This, according to researchers, is the first stage towards BloT and is the right time for solution providers to reach out to the integrators and building strategic alliances.
“BIoT is expected to be a common feature in smart buildings within the next 5 years,” Memoori concluded. “This will deliver connectivity and big data technology throughout the building and will connect up all IP devices across all the building services. So, a solution that is open and can take data from all the devices and deliver to where it is going to be analyzed and make actionable is close to being achieved.”