Integrating different technologies into a smart building ecosystem can help building managers get the most out of their solution.
Reopening commercial office buildings in the midst of COVID-19 requires careful consideration of new health and safety guidelines. Adoption of more smart building technologies
is expected to help enforce these rules.
As a driving force behind smart buildings, the IoT has brought with it the ability to optimize all areas of building operations, from HVAC to video surveillance, and offers massive potential for building owners to create added value for customers, according to Adam Wynne, Software Engineering Manager at Security & Safety Things
“While many facilities are still pursuing goals, such as reducing energy consumption and utilizing space, they have shifted to solutions that help make workspaces and common areas safe, and usable. Building managers must now focus on finding technologies that allow for contactless access control, remote monitoring, management of building occupancy and maintaining of social distancing guidelines
, while ensuring proper facial protection is being worn,” Wynne said.
Integrating various systems for maximum efficiency
With all the newly drafted safety and health protocols, it is important to see how different building systems can help correctly carry them out. In many cases, insights from an integrated system can be used to understand what visitors were on the premises, who came into contact with who, the airflows from the HVAC
Koen Schoofs, Marketing and Communications Specialist at Entelec Control Systems
, explained the benefits of having visitor management at entrances in combination with video surveillance software integrated in the same platform. He emphasized that doing this centrally is very helpful and eliminates the need to invest in more employees doing checks on the premises.
Schoofs also pointed to centrally managing HVAC units with a PSIM platform, something that has gained more interest recently. “In case of an outbreak for example, you want to minimize the spread of the virus, and must thus be able to quickly stop certain units from spreading the virus with their airflow,” he said.
Optimizing workspaces with building data
Many people are working remotely
because of COVID-19, and it’s possible remote working will continue even after the pandemic ends. Add on top of this social distancing and office buildings as we know it will need to be reshaped and reimagined. One way of doing this is with technologies that will enable office and building managers to optimizing their spaces.
The number of enterprise-level buildings expected to connect data from building management system (BMS) platforms to space utilization and optimization software is expected to grow, according to research from Omdia. Investment in standalone solutions is also expected to grow, with the ultimate objective to consolidate space and reduce costs across an entire portfolio of buildings.
“This software primarily uses occupancy sensors to track occupied/unoccupied areas in an office building, and further data is collected related to the numbers of employees present, employees’ habits during working hours, and the times of days these rooms are available. Collecting and analyzing data from multiple sensors and sources within a building to deliver actionable insights enable businesses to better use, optimize and prioritize building spaces while ensuring high levels of comfort for employees in the building,” reported Omdia.
Integrating health and wellness data
Building managers and employers are expected to focus even more on creating safe, healthy and hygienic workplaces
for employees and visitors to return to in the post-COVID-19 world. This can be achieved by collecting health and wellness data from different systems.
For example, Omdia addressed the deployment of “smart technologies that can detect fevers or other key symptoms, and help offices create different working ‘zones’ in case of contamination.” This includes devices such as thermal cameras and frictionless security equipment. They also point to investment in workplace hygiene solutions such as smart restroom systems.