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BAS Control on an Inclusive Platform for Building Communities

9 Apr 2019

Just as our children are expecting everyday objects to be animate we are increasingly seeing the lines blur between living things and machines as AI (artificial intelligence) is embedded in various devices and adapted in our lives. Advancement of IoT (Internet of Things) devices and adoption of BASs (Building Automation System) or BMS (Building Management System), means next generations will work in evermore highly connected environments.

The normalisation of smartphones has brought about expectations of people being connected to the Internet 24/7 to communicate via instant chat apps and social media. When our buildings are full of cloud-based IoT systems, we could as well expect 24/7 instant communication-capability.

Currently, the majority of BAS controllers require pre-programming and may be centralised or distributed with limited access e.g. only maintenance teams and building managers. The main purposes of BAS revolve around sustainability – energy consumption reduction, cost savings, operational efficiency and enhanced utility life-cycles. Although, sometimes automation does not get it right. For example, on dark winter days automation of turning on all lights could be too strong for occupants’ eyes on one side of a floor but much needed for the other side of the floor. Then there would be a dilemma where energy is being wasted and occupants have different preferences day by day. In light of the benefits when sharing building data and monitoring info with employees, giving access to occupants that better know variables such as sunlight causing strong shadows in certain parts of the building makes the joint effort in saving energy costs even more efficient.

One of the other key purposes of a BAS is to improve occupant comfort; but how can it provide that in real-time if occupants cannot input their preferences and communicate feedback easily? That’s where third-party integration of an IoT app, Smart Spaces, comes in as a solution to the limitations of distributed control systems or centralised control systems. Additional integration with AI voice assistants extends opportunities for real-time communication between people and buildings to monitor, automate and control IoT devices more efficiently.

There is the capability of more complex functions than controlling lighting and HVAC systems as Smart Spaces can effectively manage any other IoT tech i.e. visitor entry passes for electronic gates and doors; dynamic glass and window shades. Within the IoT mobile application, users may be able to set their preferences and schedules, developing responsive building automation to accommodate comfort and sustainability. After all, AI for buildings could learn quicker with the input from occupants.

Overall, it’s clear that centralised control of numerous IoT devices in the workplace has many advantages but can be made more efficient if an inclusive IoT platform allows building managers and occupants altogether to communicate in real-time with their smart building. Communication doesn’t have to just be about the building’s performance, Smart Spaces can help build community in your workspace, too.

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