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INSIGHTS

Building security and automation: A yearly preview and review

Building security and automation: A yearly preview and review
As we approach the end of 2023 and start of 2024, what have we seen in building security and automation this year, and what to expect next year? This article takes a closer look.
Needless to say, security and automation are becoming more important in buildings. As we approach the end of 2023 and start of 2024, what have we seen in building security and automation this year, and what to expect next year? This article takes a closer look, with inputs provided by Joseph Valencia, Chief Product Officer at Origin AI.
 

Review of 2023: ‘Green’ dominated

 
Sustainability and energy efficiency were major themes for building automation this year, whereby lights and HVAC, for example, can adjust to the occupancy status of the building. This development is in response to rising energy costs as well as an overall sustainability trend seen across the globe.
 
“Efficient energy management systems not only help in mitigating costs but also play a vital role in promoting sustainability, which is a growing concern globally,” Valencia said. “One indicator of the increasing importance of energy management is the acquisition of Vivint, a smart home and home security leader, by NRG. This strategic move by NRG, a top North American energy company, highlights the importance of demand planning and energy management on a macro scale.”
 

Security

 
In terms of building security, more efforts have been made in the areas of alarm verification and false alarm reduction. “This year marked the rollout of The Monitoring Association’s (TMA) Verified Alarm Standard, a significant stride towards enhancing the performance of security alarm systems. This standard ensures that alarms are verified, reducing the likelihood of false alarms and ensuring a swift response when security breaches occur,” Valencia stated.
 

How Matter and Wi-Fi sensing plays a part

 
2023 also saw momentum gained by Matter and Wi-Fi sensing, which were initially designed for the home yet are gaining ground in commercial buildings as well. Matter is a standard developed by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) that allows for seamless communication between different-brand IoT devices
 
“For industry standards like Matter, the impact on connected IoT devices provides similar capabilities both in residential and commercial settings. The latest reports state there are over 15 million connected IoT devices worldwide with forecasts estimating there will be 29 billion IoT devices in 2030. For commercial building owners and property managers, the proliferation of these devices presents an opportunity to provide a better, more energy efficient workplace for their employees and tenants,” Valencia said. “A major roadblock to unlocking the power of these devices on scale lies in the interoperability limitations that the Matter standard seeks to address. As more companies adopt the Matter standard, IoT devices will be easier to install and provide more reliable, secure connectivity across commercial settings.”
 
As for Wi-Fi Sensing, it works by way of detecting changes in Wi-Fi signal patterns. In commercial applications, the technology can also play an effective role keeping the building secure and energy-efficient.
 
“From a security perspective, WiFi Sensing can offer substantial advantages. Commercial buildings often have a much larger footprint than residential properties, making traditional security systems more challenging to implement. WiFi Sensing, with its ability to 'see' through walls and cover large areas, can effectively augment these traditional security systems. Additionally, it can help monitor and control access to certain parts of the building, providing another layer of security,” Valencia said.
 
He added: “WiFi Sensing can enable smart building applications that improve energy efficiency and occupant comfort. A key application area is HVAC systems. By accurately detecting occupancy and activity levels in different parts of the building, WiFi Sensing can inform HVAC systems to optimize energy use. For instance, if a meeting room is empty, the system can automatically lower the heating or cooling for that room, conserving energy.”
 
“Similarly,” Valencia continued, “WiFi Sensing can optimize lighting control, dynamically adjusting based on the presence and movement of people, ensuring areas are well-lit when in use and energy is not wasted when areas are unoccupied. Introducing WiFi Sensing in commercial business environments harnesses the power of technology to create a more productive and sustainable future.”
 
 

2024 trends

 
Having mentioned 2023 trends in building security and automation, what can be expected in 2024? We take a look below.
 

Enhanced intelligence

 
According to Valencia, the upcoming year is expected to witness a surge in the integration of advanced intelligence into building automation systems. “This enhancement will not only streamline operations but also facilitate more intuitive and responsive interactions between users and their environments, fostering a seamless living experience,” he said.
 

Smart buildings for multi-dwelling units (MDUs)

 
The so-called multi-dwelling units (MDUs) will feel the benefits of building automation as well. “There is a discernible momentum building around the development of smart buildings specifically designed for MDUs, including rental properties,” Valencia said. “Renters are increasingly valuing the convenience and efficiency offered by smart homes, making it a compelling feature for rental properties. This trend is likely to continue, with more landlords and property managers adopting smart technology to attract and retain tenants.”
 

Value-driven smart homes

 
For many, they are drawn to the smart home not just for the novelty, but the value behind it. “From enhanced security to energy savings, the value proposition of smart homes is becoming more evident and appreciated by consumers, leading to broader adoption and integration of these technologies in residential spaces,” Valencia said.

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