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IT and OT collaboration: key to the future of building management?

IT and OT collaboration: key to the future of building management?
The Internet of Things (IoT) integrates various data from versatile sensors and use the software to make buildings smart in the physical world.
As far as the convergence of cyber and physical technology developments go, the Internet of Things for Buildings (BIoT), or smart building solutions as they are sometimes known, is perhaps the most critical advances we have seen in the recent times. With the integration of versatile sensors that collect various data and the software to draw patterns from this massive information that is generated, buildings are becoming smarter environments that are able to better interpret the physical world.

In a recent report, the research firm Memoori pointed out that the digital twin of buildings facilitates the use of advanced analytics that allows actionable insights to help building managers and artificial intelligence (AI) systems take better decisions. These decisions that are then processed into the operational technology (OT) bring forward the application of digital intelligence in the physical world. 

“As the IoT blurs the lines between the previously distinct IT and OT world, and wireless sensor networks connect physical and digital spaces, this shifts the borders of what used to delineate where one kind of service ends and another begins,” the report notes according to a post on Memoori’s website. 

“In the case of the BIoT, building services are being delivered in new ways. These shifting boundaries may mean that building systems industry incumbents more familiar with a dominant market position in the OT world may find themselves playing more of a supporting role in a broader IoT landscape going forward.”

This convergence of OT and IT in the building automation sphere allows the development of an ecosystem that helps manufacturers and solution providers of various backgrounds thrive. This, in turn, reduces the chances of a single major conglomerate controlling the market. For instance, by integrating smart technologies into lighting technology, traditional light manufacturers are able to compete with IT vendors who, according to Memoori, would, in turn, have found opportunities in the operational realm. 

Citing an earlier report, the research firm said, “What may once have been thought of as a new physical frontier for IT companies is proving to be the perfect cyber opportunity for ‘old world’ sectors like lighting and vice versa.”

The critical factor to note here is that the complexity of IT and OT sectors in buildings have given rise to the need for large companies to collaborate with niche solution providers. While this does not necessarily undermine the dominance of big companies, it allows smaller players to enter the market, eventually helping the market grow. 

In such a context, partnering and collaboration would turn out to be the key in this industry moving forward. Along with consortiums and alliances that have come up in the sector this would lead to furthering the development of the industry. 

 “While the BIoT landscape as a whole remains somewhat fragmented, a vibrant ecosystem of developers, startups and established players from both the building systems and ICT domains is steadily emerging,” explains the report. “While some of this change is due to continued M&A activity, much of the evolution is down to a greater degree of partnering and collaboration in the market.”

Product Adopted:
System Integration

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