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“Smart” is the term used most to describe anything that is connected to the internet, runs intuitively and improves upon an everyday function. One of the newer terms that is popping up everywhere is “smart cities.” These are cities that have networks designed with optimal connectivity for all its inhabitants, so all of their smart devices within the area are always connected. Those cities can be broken down from smart campuses to smart buildings. So, what makes a smart building so smart?
Smart technology starts before you even step in the door. Sensors outside the building are used in the security cameras, sprinkler systems and can even be used to find an available parking spot. Once you enter a building, companies are changing the way entrances are secured. From an app on your phone replacing the traditional badge to biometric screening tools, building security is getting more accurate and less cumbersome.
With the increased use of Internet of Things (IoT), office buildings are undergoing a large transformation. Sensors are being used in lighting and HVAC systems to create energy-efficient buildings that save companies on operating costs. This goes beyond just turning lights on and off intuitively. Smart sensors can measure temperature, humidity, airflow throughout a building and relate external factors such as outside temperature and utility rates to adjust the building to optimize costs and comfort.
Another area where IoT is starting to pop up in office buildings is with smart furniture. Imagine if your desk automatically adjusted to your preferences, switched from a seated desk to a standing desk. It would also let you know when you have been sitting too long. With the added functionality and comfort, you could focus more on work and less on you. And, of course, everything would be Wi-Fi enabled.
Most of the benefits of a smart building focuses on efficiency, comfort and productivity; however, all the benefits are not possible without connectivity:
- Security systems relay information to the right team in the event of an intrusion or emergency for a faster response
- HVAC systems alert the facilities team when something breaks so that it can be repaired easily
- Office equipment easily adjust to a new user so shared workspaces do not feel so “shared”
Without connectivity, information cannot be passed through these devices to the right location. Without bandwidth, delivery of that information is delayed. Imagine if biometric screening tools relayed information over a dial-up modem (yes, I’m going to extremes with this one, so bear with me). By the time an unauthorized person was detected, they could be in and out of an office building with sensitive information.
You may not be reverting to dial-up, but as more smart devices pop up and the number of connected devices in your building increase, your current infrastructure will slow down.
The question I will leave you with is, “Is your building ready for what’s next?”