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Mixed-use buildings: Security innovations and challenges in Asia

Mixed-use buildings: Security innovations and challenges in Asia
A major challenge in safeguarding mixed-use properties lies in catering to the distinct needs of both residential and commercial tenants. The varied nature of these users demands security solutions that are adaptable yet strong, guaranteeing smooth entry for permitted persons while blocking access to intruders.
In the rapidly growing market of Asia's urban development, mixed-use buildings that combine commercial and residential spaces are becoming increasingly prevalent. These structures, which integrate living, working, and leisure spaces, present unique security challenges. Balancing the needs for accessibility and safety while managing a diverse range of users demands innovative security solutions.
This article delves into the complexities of designing security for mixed-use buildings and explores recent advancements that address these challenges effectively.

Key challenges in designing security for mixed-use buildings

A major challenge in safeguarding mixed-use properties lies in catering to the distinct needs of both residential and commercial tenants. The varied nature of these users demands security solutions that are adaptable yet strong, guaranteeing smooth entry for permitted persons while blocking access to intruders.
“When designing security for mixed-use buildings, a key challenge from my point of view is accommodating the varied demands of commercial and residential spaces,” said Jason Hong, Solution Manager at Hikvision. “Ensuring rapid access for different individuals and vehicles, resolving issues effectively, and preventing future occurrences pose significant hurdles. At Hikvision, we really focus on making sure that everyone, from residents to visitors, can move swiftly and safely, all while managing these spaces efficiently.”
Experts highlight the importance of addressing varied demands with adaptable, efficient management strategies. They stress the significance of leveraging technology to create long-term security plans that are as proactive as they are protective.
“One of the biggest challenges we see in designing security solutions for integrated facilities is balancing the need for security with convenience,” said Graham Wheeler, VP for Avigilon in the Asia Pacific at Motorola Solutions. “In mixed-use buildings in Asia, that means making spaces and security solutions suitable for both residents and business users. There are always security risks associated with the use of these communal environments, so security solutions need to be developed with a long-term view with the right focus on security and policy design as well as technology support.” 

Innovative solutions to meet security challenges

At the forefront of addressing these challenges is the integration of Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) technology. AIoT combines artificial intelligence (AI) with the infrastructure of the Internet of Things (IoT), enhancing the perception, control, and analytical capabilities of security systems.
A notable innovation in this domain is digital twinning, which maps AIoT devices onto 3D models of buildings. This approach not only improves management efficiency but also provides a vital tool for emergency response, enabling real-time, informed decision-making during critical situations.
“Regarding recent innovative strides, digital twinning can be a good example that stands out,” Hong said. “By adding various AIoT devices onto 3D building models, we can significantly improve management efficiency. In emergency scenarios, such as fire outbreaks, by checking the actual architectural layout of the building with video, access control, audio, and screen systems, we enable remote evacuation planning and directives.”
With comprehensive analysis and display of device data alongside third-party systems, digital twin technologies offer an intuitive understanding of operations within mixed-use buildings, such as visitor check-ins, crowd analytics in malls, vehicle flow at entrances, and parking space utilization rate.

Mixed-use building smart security case study: Woodlands Health, Singapore

Digital twinning has revolutionized security management in mixed-use buildings across Asia. By integrating video, access control, and sensor data with 3D architectural models, security operators can visualize and manage the entire building ecosystem efficiently. This technology facilitates rapid emergency response and proactive management of visitor check-ins, crowd analytics, and vehicle flows.
Wheeler gave an example of smart security implementation for Woodlands Health in Singapore. As a hub for a wide range of healthcare services, the facility required a security solution that ensured patient safety without compromising privacy. Utilizing AI-powered video security, Woodlands Health can monitor vulnerable patients effectively, leveraging appearance search capabilities to swiftly locate individuals in need of urgent care.
“In an environment combining so many different medical offerings, it’s important to provide reliable, safe, and efficient security,” Wheeler said. “Technology plays a very important role in delivering those services. With AI-powered video security solutions, Woodlands can provide better care for elderly and vulnerable patients, helping to ensure people are safe and accounted for. The use of video systems with appearance search capabilities also makes it easier to find a patient who is unaccounted for or who requires urgent care.” 

The role of technology in enhancing security and efficiency

AI and video security solutions are instrumental in identifying and responding to anomalous events in mixed-use buildings. These technologies enable security operators to monitor activities in real time, ensuring the safety of all building occupants.
The application of smart sensors in areas unsuitable for cameras demonstrates the versatility of technology in addressing security challenges, offering solutions that are both effective and mindful of privacy concerns.
“There are also many different people visiting mixed use facilities throughout the day and they use common entrances and departure gates,” Wheeler said. “That facilitates the need for end-to-end security solutions incorporating access control to identify unauthorized persons as well as video security solutions powered by AI that can alert security operators whenever anomalous events occur.”
Technology solutions also need to consider that building security is typically a function of building operators, not building managers. Building operators are seeking solutions that are safe and effective and enable them to monitor and deliver on-site security from wherever they are located. 

Future directions in security for mixed-use buildings

The evolution of security technologies continues to shape the management of mixed-use buildings. As these structures become more integrated into the fabric of urban living, the demand for sophisticated, responsive security solutions will only increase.
Future developments are likely to focus on further integrating AI and IoT technologies, enhancing the ability of security systems to predict and prevent security breaches before they occur.


The security of mixed-use buildings in Asia represents a complex challenge, necessitating a balance between accessibility and safety. Through the adoption of innovative technologies such as AIoT and digital twinning, the industry is making significant strides in meeting these demands. The examples of digital twinning and smart sensor applications illustrate the potential of technology to enhance security in environments with diverse needs.
As we look to the future, the continued innovation and integration of advanced security solutions will be crucial in ensuring the safety and efficiency of mixed-use buildings. Stakeholders across the industry must remain committed to investing in and adopting these technologies to address the evolving security landscape of Asia's urban spaces.
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