When Building Automation Meets Security Integration

When Building Automation Meets Security Integration

Johnson Controls offered an insider view on central management systems at the Global Digital Surveillance Forum.The integration of disparate building systems is a hot topic these days. While there is a consensus that intelligent building system integration produces greater comfort, sustainability and efficiency, security management systems (SMS) have been the last to join this happy family. The pros and cons of integrating SMS remain much discussed.

Building management systems (BMS) monitor, automate and integrate building equipment such as lighting, heating, ventilating and air conditioning. SMS monitor, alert and prevent the loss of physical as well as logical assets, while also assuring occupant safety. For decades, the two systems have been managed by different professionals with different skill sets. But the era of separate dedicated workstations for these two systems, as well as for voice and data communications systems and business systems used by accounting and human resources, is coming to the end. The information technology revolution has made it possible for any network equipment to communicate by the same protocols and through the same infrastructure.

Both BMS and security systems have embraced IT standards and moved toward each other on an IT platform. Both buckets BMS and SMS have also grown larger as technology advances. Video surveillance and access control are two major components of an integrated SMS, along with life safety systems (such as fire detection, signaling and suppression.) On the other side, building systems such as public address, intercom, parking lot control, water leak alarm, wireless coverage, telephone system, video display, elevator control and network cabling, are often integrated and executed under building section of extra low voltage (ELV) in Asia.

Yet even as facility systems have grown more complex, in an increasingly competitive market building owners are seeking ways to simplify operations, reduce management costs and improve efficiencies.

Taking advantage of the single IT platform to integrate BMS and SMS as well as business applications for human resources and finances offers a path to that goal. The objectives for an integrated system are improved continuity of operations as well as lower costs for ongoing operations, which are measured primarily in the reduction of expertise and manpower required for monitoring and assessment. With an integrated system building owners and facility management professionals can enjoy operational and cost efficiencies.

Database sharing under the same standards and infrastructure allows information from the BMS, security systems and business applications such as finance and HR to be exchanged.

Real-time and historical data, captured digitally, can be assessed and used with artificial intelligence algorithms and Web server technology, anywhere, anytime. The improvement in connectivity and interoperability of both building and security systems simplifies maintenance operations, helping to reduce costs.  A further advantage is that an integrated system is more user-friendly it has a common interface and graphics, provides easy access to data from multiple points, and facility personnel only have to be trained on one integrated system.

As a global provider of building control systems, Johnson Controls has extensive experience providing integrated, vendor-independent technology solutions to projects that include the Shanghai World Financial Center, Petronas Towers 1 and 2 and Burj Dubai. The key to successful integration of BMS and SMS is using an ownerˇs business needs as the starting point for integration. A building should be created not as a collection of systems, but as a functional whole. By beginning with goals in mind and taking an enterprise-wide view of technology that transcends traditional silos, low-voltage technologies and other key systems can be integrated to deliver in full the results the owner wants. Security systems integrated with BMS can serve business objectives outside the traditional security realm, such as energy efficiency.

The best time to consider the technology that can deliver is at the conceptual stage of a project. And the best approach is to have a single point of responsibility for managing technology design, delivery, commissioning and service. That way cost efficiencies begin right away, by avoiding duplication of infrastructure and systems.

In an integrated BMS-SMS system, applications include:
* Single-seat user interface for all alarm and event management
* Rule-based fusion of data sources for a common operating picture
* Escalation triggers for slow or inadequate response
* Video-based assessment
* Interlock logic for HVAC and lighting controls
* Wireless PDA option for roaming response/maintenance team
* Smoke control for clear emergency egress

An application suite might include single-seat command and control; consolidation of events and alarms from all subsystems; the ability to command, schedule and override from one workstation; rule-based triggers; combinations of alarms and events from multiple systems to trigger: actions, alerts, reports; advanced team management; software rules and sequences to provide operators with surveillance information, sensor information, event-driven instructions, escalation rules and reporting; inter-process action; and the performance of automated functions.

In real life, here is how such an integrated system would work. A security camera would no longer have to be monitored constantly by the security operator. In the event of an alarm, a Johnson Controls Metasys building management system pops up a video image on a BMS floor plan layout. The operator can conduct a real-time visual inspection without physically walking up or dispatching other personnel to the scene. The off-site supervisor is notified by a pre-configured escalation procedure through a wireless mobile device.

Or when a tenant's employee attempts to enter the building after work hours, the security management system will only allow access upon positive identification of the employeeˇs credential at the reader. The elevator will only transport the employee to the approved floors. The BMS will engage lighting and HVAC in that employeeˇs workspace, hallway and so on. The employee also gains access to her designated IT systems. Then once she leaves, a building facility manager and generate a statement to bill the tenant for after-hour electricity, heating, cooling and network usage.

With energy costs soaring, building owners and occupants can keep tabs on energy use because they do not have to wait until their bill arrives to analyze energy consumption. Facility managers can have access to real-time data and reports from the BMS, with the information reaching them through an IT network backbone by workstation, Web browser or mobile device. The availability of accurate data enables better space allocation and resource planning for energy efficiency.

Network security concerns and regulatory code compliance must be addressed for successful building automation and security system integration. However, that integration is inevitable. We are seeing more BMS and security devices becoming enterprise IT compatible, and wireless. As the cost of network storage comes down and more IT innovations become available, we will manage and protect our assets more efficiently and intelligently with a new generation of integrated building management and security systems.

The content is presented by Johnson Controls in the Global Digital Surveillance Forum (GDSF ) held by A&S Group, from April 16th to 17th.

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