At a time when many regulations, particularly in energy and environmental areas, are emerging and when technological innovations such as IoT make it possible to interact with all types of equipment, are Smart Building solutions the future of buildings’ Operations and Management? HXperience gives its analysis.
Technical limitations of traditional Building Management Systems (BMS)
For many years, management systems such as BMS or CMS (Centralised Management Systems) have been installed on a portion of the building stock. These solutions, which tend to be expensive, are mostly used in large buildings, especially in the commercial and industrial sectors.
While offering many functionalities, they however having limitation in their use such as :
- A complex installation and configuration
- Systems are often closed and with limited evolutivity (due to their complexity)
- Systems are designed for operators only and not originally designed to provide services to building occupants
At a time when the Smart Building offer diversifies more and more and allows to foresee an ultra-connected future, the challenge is to allow an integration and interaction with the latest proposed solutions in order to jointly offer a new user experience.
Smart Building Solutions : for a connected housing and a better technical management of critical building installations
At a time when the Smart Building offer diversifies more and more and allows to glimpse an ultra-connected future, all the stake is to allow an integration and interaction with the new solutions proposed not to become obsolete and to offer together a new user experience.
New Smart Building solutions, based on IoT sensors and wireless networks, offer an alternative on the market. In the commercial or residential new real estate projects, some connected housing programs are already emerging, whether Bouygues Immobilier and its Flexom offer or BNP Paribas Real Estate who recently inaugurated its Issy Préférence program. In a sector where the annual flow of new buildings represents 1% of the total number of buildings only, the biggest market portion for Smart Building solutions however lies in the existing installed base which is not yet equipped with a connected management system, or which faces multiple issues that current BMS systems cannot properly address.
In the social housing sector, we can mention the example of multi-service maintenance companies such as Logista Hometech, which have implemented IoT based connected management solutions already. These solutions make it possible to remotely diagnose and solve problems on individual boilers in the housing for example. Energy consumption can also be easily collected, analyzed and made available to tenants via a mobile application. In addition, the supervision of a certain number of equipment in the building’s common areas allows operators to be alerted automatically in case of malfunction and to be able to take action more quickly.
In the social housing sector, we can mention the example of multi-service maintenance companies such as Logista Hometech, which already have implemented IoT based connected management solutions. These solutions make it possible to remotely diagnose and solve problems on individual boilers in the housing for example. Energy consumption can also be easily collected, analyzed and can be made available to tenants via a mobile application. In addition, the supervision of a certain number of equipment in the building’s common areas allows operators to be alerted automatically in case of malfunction and to be able to take action more quickly.
IoT solutions therefore offer a complete building management solution and address the different needs of both operators and occupants at lower cost.
Operators’ growing interest in connected IoT-based management solutions is also due to the rapid return on investment (lower energy costs, improved processes on critical maintenance and safety), the installation flexibility and high scalability thanks to open interfaces. In addition, the development of predictive solutions makes it possible to deploy new and very innovative services.
An additional positive point for the Smart Building solutions providers is that their proposed systems are in line with the evolution of regulations, including the energy transition law, incentives towards self-consumption or future thermal regulations. Investments in energy management solutions for buildings will benefit both operators and occupants.
Solutions Smart Building : the selection criteria
Several essential criteria must be taken into account in order to optimize existing solutions and open up new technological and connected perspectives. Indeed, the main issue is the solutions interoperability.
The building management solution interoperability is a main concern
Whatever the chosen solution, it is no longer possible today to forget the double pre-requisite of openness and interoperability of existing systems with the new solutions put in place. Openness is the ability for a system to make data and / or orders available to third-party services. Interoperability is the ability of multiple systems to exchange information with each other.
The challenge of a Smart Building Solution is to be able to aggregate data from multiple sources (including already implemented BMS systems where applicable), and make the analyzed data available for other applications (via API). The question of interoperability is all the industry stakeholders’ mind nowadays. This is also one of the main objectives set by the Smart Building Alliance (SBA) which brings together more than 250 member organizations representing all the building trades related to Smart Building and Smart City topics.
Business and usage based applications
To enable managers and operators to develop new services for residents and occupants (“building app store”), the solution put in place must be business and usage oriented.
In practice, it involves investing in solutions that meet the needs of both operators and building occupants. Energy management is a major concern for managers and operators because of the many current and future regulatory and economic pressures. This is naturally the area with most offers by many players in the sector (electrical equipment manufacturers, energy companies, start-ups, maintenance companies and building operators).
But beyond an immediate need to monitor energy consumption and even action plans to improve energy performance, it is important to ensure that Smart Building solutions will be able to offer a complete range of services beyond energy that integrates the activities of maintenance, safety, assistance and occupants comfort.
The creation of a truly open ecosystem: a pre requisite to the Smart Building market development
To achieve solutions covering all the building functionalities, the options are numerous and many actors (equipment manufacturers, energy companies, developers) are developing a complete offer via partnerships or buy-backs of existing solutions.
One point seems essential to keep in mind: the need to invest in a scalable and open solution (via APIs in particular) so that these new Smart Building solutions do not become a new generation of GTB …
At HXperience, we have developed and we keep on enriching a broad ecosystem of partners from sensor and equipment suppliers up to a wide range of applications, as well as various connectivity solutions.
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