Smart Buildings

Today’s Smart Buildings are Not Good Enough; Building Internet of Things is the Solution

Like it or not we have now entered the third wave of Information Technology which will be even more profound than the previous two; which have shaped world over the last 50 years. Building Internet of Things (BIoT), smart, connected products in buildings offer a totally new set of choices of how we capture and create value from the phenomenal amount of new data they generate, and then convert into actionable intelligent information, across a whole series of seemingly unrelated services in the built environment. Theoretically they should be able to achieve this for a lower cost and provide add on services that will reduce the building owners Return on Investment (ROI). However to achieve this we will need to form new relationships as the industry boundaries are expanded causing the routes to market to be redefined and contractual procedures drastically changed. We cover this in much more detail in our recently published research - […]

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Like it or not we have now entered the third wave of Information Technology which will be even more profound than the previous two; which have shaped world over the last 50 years.

Building Internet of Things (BIoT), smart, connected products in buildings offer a totally new set of choices of how we capture and create value from the phenomenal amount of new data they generate, and then convert into actionable intelligent information, across a whole series of seemingly unrelated services in the built environment. Theoretically they should be able to achieve this for a lower cost and provide add on services that will reduce the building owners Return on Investment (ROI).

However to achieve this we will need to form new relationships as the industry boundaries are expanded causing the routes to market to be redefined and contractual procedures drastically changed. We cover this in much more detail in our recently published research - http://memoori.com/portfolio/internet-things-smart-buildings-2014-2020/

To establish how these changes might manifest themselves in the future we have brokendown the business into its new core activities and how they will be organised in order for BIoT to work. For new construction projects the most logical set up would be for BIoT to be organised around 3 main contracts.

The first contract will comprise of a series of separate tenders for each of the building services such as HVAC, Security and Lighting etc. This is how it is organised today but the contract will finish at the field equipment level with the necessary machine controls and sensors fitted to the hardware at the factory and probably specified within the third major contract.

The Supervisory software will now be part of "Contract 3" - Managed Services and Big Data and not Contract 1 where those responsible for supplying this and often an additional level of control for integration acted. Their software products and services may well be selected by those responsible for Big Data in the early stages of BIoT development.

Contract 2, let’s call it, Enablement Hardware and Transmission, will supply and fit the wired or wireless modules to the devices and sensors and complete the network together with its software controls. A new breed of wireless controls manufactures having leading edge energy harvesting technology will figure prominently here and IT network installers will be the preferred installers on this contract.

Contract 3 will be Managed Services which will collect, store analyse all the data by system application, commonly referred to as Big Data, mainly stored and processed in the cloud. This contract does not have to be a managed service. Building owners having large estates may well decide to provide and or link in to their enterprise IT Systems.

On Contract 1 the demand side Mechanical / Electrical engineering consultants / contractors and the owners Facility Managers will together set the specification and select the winning contractor. For Contracts 2 and 3 the buyers Chief Information Officer (CIO) will take responsibility, aided by consultants, and in-house specialists for setting the specification and selecting the contractor.

These procedures are not appropriate for retrofitting BIoT into existing Smart Buildings because it would need to strip out all the existing control systems for each service and start again. This is not practical for most building owners and is unlikely to be cost effective at this stage.

We will learn a great deal by applying BIoT to new buildings and in five years time we will be better placed to have cost effective solutions for retrofitting to existing buildings.

In the meantime converting existing Smart Buildings to BIoT is going to be a major challenge and will require a different procedure with more input from the building services suppliers because it will require integrating heterogeneous networks working on different standards and protocols into a single network structure. We will therefore need to find ways of integrating data sources in multiple formats for these existing buildings.

Since the inception of BAS, the major controls conglomerates have taken the contract to design and deliver hardware and software and install the controls contract on Smart Buildings particularly where integration between other services was required. Companies such as Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric and Siemens have much experience and are well respected particularly in some vertical markets. If they settle for Contract 1 they are going to lose market share.

They could bid for Contract 3 in conjunction with IT Software majors. Schneider Electric signed last year a strategic technology agreement with one of the world’s major software companies, OSIsoft which appeared to be targeted at the Smart Grid market.

OSIsoft will provide their PI System, a leading infrastructure technology for the management of real-time data and events whilst Schneider Electric will provide comprehensive energy management solutions.

Cisco’s foray into the market has involved the development of building automation and security systems over IP, leveraging on their core expertise in the network domain, and they have also maintained a long-standing partnership with Johnson Controls. Intel meanwhile is partnering with Daikin on HVAC equipment to harnessing the power of the IoT by using Intel-based intelligent gateway solutions to deploy a complete end-to-end solution for commercial HVAC equipment.

We expect that to penetrate the existing retrofit business, which is potentially a much larger market than new construct buildings will be pioneered by the major system suppliers joining forces with the major IT Software companies to deliver a not so elegant but nevertheless cost effective BIoT - http://memoori.com/portfolio/internet-things-smart-buildings-2014-2020/

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