Integrated building management systems in the center of connectivity
The role of the building management system (BMS) has changed several times. Today the BMS takes center stage again. Yet, this time the place of the BMS as the digital hub and center of connectivity of a building is highly transformational. One of the game-changers is the Internet of Things (IoT). Another is the role of an EcoXpert partner. The results for building owners and for our Building Management System expert partners are profound and lasting.
Let’s go back a little bit in time to understand the current and future developments that change the face of building management. Before the advent of IP, BMS were typically twisted pair cable systems with relative slow technologies such as Open Protocol Connectivity (OPC) to connect one system to another and share data.
We still see today that, especially in upgrading projects, there is a de facto need for OPC integration into older systems. Since IT, IP and, more recently, IoT started dominating the BMS space and the amount of data involved is dramatically increasing, it seems a bit weird if you compare the 19.2 kilobits baud rates of over a decade ago with today’s 100BASE-T megabits, over a Cat 5 or Cat 6e cable. This is especially so if we see how IoT further increases data volumes and, more importantly, the crucial role of understanding and acting upon all this data as building owners expect.
The days that IT defined building design criteria are over
IP made the standards and market shift towards the Internet. BACnet IP, LON/IP and KNX have become global standards with BACnet/IP almost the de facto standard for BMS with many providers nowadays offering IP BACnet controllers. With IP, Internet connectivity and the entering of IT in the market, we went through a period whereby the IT system defined the criteria for the design of the building.
Those days are over and gone. For a few years the awareness that integrated building management systems are the integrated digital hub of the building instead of the IT system has grown. And it’s only the beginning. Data and data analytics, strengthened by the increasing use of IoT in building management and building automation, play a key role in this equation.
In an interview on the impact of the Internet of Things on building management, I explained how we are at the verge of IP and IoT moving beyond the enterprise and management level to the field level and the edge whereby hyper-connectedness and autonomous decisions drive us further on the road of data, analytics and even cognitive technologies.
The building management system as the integration center – the role of the EcoXpert
These evolutions are happening at all levels of the building, beyond the BMS as we’ve known it. That’s why our BMS EcoXpert partners need to understand what happens across the building overall and why the BMS becomes the integration center of connectivity to other building systems: power, lighting, energy, lifts, acoustic systems in hospitals, the list is long.
IP, IoT and other technologies are enablers and driving forces in these shifts in the BMS and all systems it connects with. However, the main factors putting the BMS in the center again are the importance of energy, green buildings, all the standards and the regulations.
We see that the knowledge of our BMS EcoXperts grows in terms of the expansion of their value to business instead of only installing BMS controllers and programming integrated building management systems. They are coming into a situation whereby they are also able to install their own networks and own the whole BMS infrastructure. With our Schneider Electric network connectivity division, we can support them on all levels of these evolutions and assist them in delivering more in terms of full building infrastructure, rather than the BMS alone.
What building owners want from their integrated building management systems: EcoXpert partners know how to deliver it
Another driving factor are the expectations of building owners who want speed, a central view on all building data and insights and BMS partners who can offer them an end-to-end view.
- In terms of speed, the response time regarding BMS information is just as quick as it is in a process and our BMS automation servers and controllers are as quick as an industrial process controller.
- Concerning the data, building analytics are part of how a building is really functioning and the data processing of all this information is simply expected by building owners whereby we support our BMS EcoXperts to understand new things about buildings in which they previously weren’t involved in such as thermal dynamics, the characteristics of the building, energy consumption, power areas and so on.
Moreover, buildings analytics is one thing but knowing how to understand and assert that information and, more importantly, how to react to that information is the crux of the matter.
EcoXpert partners broaden building knowledge
The time to broaden building knowledge, rather than only building management alone is now. The EcoXpert program enables you to do exactly that with a focus on the whole building infrastructure.
It’s not just a matter of smart business. Expect IoT, analytics and cognitive computing to play a far more important role. A final and inevitable driver in that regard are regulatory changes whereby we even see how companies are asked to provide information on what their buildings will consume AHEAD of time for regulatory reasons. That’s the topic of my next blog post.
In the meantime, contact us to help you become one of the industry’s most respected experts – a BMS EcoXpert partner and business hub for your customers in these days where the integrated building management system is the digital hub and connectivity center of the buildings they own.
Are you ready to unleash your growth potential? Leave me a comment below and let’s get started.