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The Many Benefits of the Intelligent Building, and how to Achieve it

23 Sep 2021

The Many Benefits of the Intelligent Building, and how to Achieve it

Building management systems have always been valuable in terms of setting and monitoring optimal parameters to help manage occupant comfort and safety. But the traditional BMS has its limits. Step in the intelligent building, featuring the power of interconnected devices and rich data which, with the added advantage of user input, can drive huge potential for reducing operational costs, improving energy efficiency and enhancing productivity.
smart spaces app climate control iot

What is an Intelligent Building?

Intelligent buildings are made up of connected networks of sensors and actuators. These integrate with traditional building management systems, such as those that control lighting and HVAC systems, to continually improve and automate the various operations of the building.

The sensor networks can be used to relay a limitless array of rich data, from occupancy tracking to indoor air quality, and much more besides. But the real intelligence lies in the use of that data to automate processes and systems, and it is this automation that can lead to a multitude of benefits, such as the optimisation of energy consumption and the enhancement of workplace comfort.

Building automation systems have the power to improve operational efficiency, drive down costs, and reduce environmental impact. They can also enhance the employee experience, which in turn creates value by boosting productivity and retention.

The power of holistic data analysis

A key enabler for intelligent buildings is the Internet of Things (IoT). Without this technology, building management systems remain only loosely connected. But with the intelligent building, data can be aggregated and analysed holistically. This is advantageous because many processes within a building are interconnected, and there are knock-on effects from one action to the next.

With data analysed from a fully rounded stance, it is much more straightforward to create building automations that work across the board, and that have the ability to solve organisational problems that could be emanating from more than one source.

Traditional building management system vs intelligent building

All equipment and sensors in a workspace generate data. From air conditioning to printers, from boilers to occupation detectors. Whilst a standard building management system can connect with, monitor and control all these systems, albeit individually, it is tied into the parameters that are set by the building manager. Programmed with specific times, concentrations and temperatures, with alarms triggered if the system deviates from those settings, a traditional building management system can hardly be coined as ‘intelligent.

Say you have set your HVAC system to ensure the workplace is maintained at a consistent and comfortable temperature. Now, one of the units could be just a single degree out of sync. So it would not be detected within the control parameters of the BMS. However, over time, that single degree could lead to untold amounts of wasted energy.

This is where detailed analytics and artificial intelligence-led machine learning deliver an advantage. These are the very foundations of an intelligent building. And they can also, with the use of third party technology, bring in something, or rather someone, very important: the user.

The advantage of user-driven data

msi network management automation

Machine learning is all very well, but if it doesn’t incorporate feedback from the people on the ground who are actually living and breathing the working environment, then any automations that stem from it may not necessarily be relevant.

Take lighting control as an example. A dark winter’s day prompts all the lights in a building to switch on via the BMS. But maybe one side of the building is in the shade, and the other in the sunshine. Now the workers on the sunny side are struggling with too much light, and there’s a whole lot of energy wastage going on. But bring in user control, where individuals are making their own localised changes, and there you have on-the-ground feedback that can drive realistic automations, rather than generic ones that don’t necessarily work across the board.

Everyone has personal preferences as to how they like to feel at work, and those preferences may also be driven by individual tasks that can change throughout the day. By allowing users to control their own environments and to inform the overall building management system as to how things really need to be, everyone will ultimately benefit.

Tapping into the power of data from interconnected sources

When you start to understand all the data produced by an intelligent building system, and how it works together as an integrated and interconnected system, trends start to come to light. Not just in isolated areas of a building, but across the entire working environment.

This allows for automatic performance regulation, which can bring to light any crucial changes that need to be made in order to, for example, reduce energy consumption, improve occupant safety and comfort, and drive down expenses.

The switch from a traditional BMS to an intelligent building with a data-driven building automation system involves a good look at the existing data, using it as a model for performance standards. Now add in the benefits of machine learning, and you have a very powerful basis for intelligent automation that could potentially result in considerable savings, reductions and optimisations.

Zero carbon benefits, and more

Zero carbon is one of the most important potential achievements for the intelligent building. But there are many others. Lower utility bills, reduced maintenance costs, and a healthy building for a happier workforce are some of the most significant. But there’s more.

Technology has developed to such an extent that systems are able to learn how a building is used over time, and to predict what can be done to maintain optimum comfort in the most energy-efficient way.

As well as maintaining a comfortable working environment courtesy of optimal air quality, lighting and temperature, there is also the advantage of being able to monitor the use of workspaces in a very detailed way, presenting valuable intelligence on how people use a building so that spaces can be better allocated and utilised, and savings made as a result.

Getting building managers and occupants working in harmony, courtesy of Smart Spaces

A major objective of a building management system is to improve comfort for occupants. But to do this, it is vital for occupants to be able to set their own personal preferences and provide real-time feedback. The key to transforming the BMS into an intelligent system is the integration of smart technology.

Smart Spaces is an app-based, Internet of Things led intelligent building technology. It has the power to control various elements of a building management system and provides occupants with the ability to personally control their own workspaces.

Thanks to the advanced technology woven into Smart Spaces, there is scope to do much more than control lighting and HVAC systems. The app has the ability to control an array of other IoT-powered systems, such as building access control and meeting room and desk space booking automation.

Using the app, users can set their own preferences and schedules. Machine learning picks up on this input, developing building optimisation parameters that have the power to boost comfort and ultimately enhance sustainability.

Want to learn more about how Smart Spaces can help you transform your property into an intelligent building?

Request a free demo or get in touch to discover how our pioneering operating system can help you take control of your building.

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