Taking buildings into the 21st century is easier than ever before as a result of a new generation of IoT and Edge AI systems that bring sensors, cameras and control mechanisms together in a truly intelligent management ecosystem. This technology is not exclusive to the latest hyper-modern new builds; it’s just as applicable to any commercial, industrial or residential building because of the many advantages it affords, including reduced energy consumption, predictive maintenance alerts, increased security, greater occupant comfort and safety, and the more efficient utilization of building assets and services. All these drive costs done and less systems downtime (fewer complaints from building residents), thus an excellent ROI.
Access Control & Security
Swapping RFID cards, time-stamps and the traditional keys for biometrics such as facial recognition means improved security for buildings. Physical keys and access cards can be loaned, lost or copied, creating a potential security hole. On the other hand, you can always forget your wallet or your keys at home, but not your face!
When an employee or resident leaves the premises, biometrics simply means removing their data from the system, rather than making sure a physical access key is returned. This not only saves time but also reduces management costs.
Event though cameras are already frequently used to monitor for theft or break-ins, conventional CCTV systems lack the smarts required for detecting potential intruders and sending automatic alerts of their presence to the building security team. With their real-time motion sensing, facial recognition, and object detection capabilities, the latest generation of smart cameras, combined with edge computing systems that perform real-time data processing and analysis, is making the development of these preemptive security applications at scale possible for the first time.
Energy Control & Hazard Monitoring
Smart climate control and lighting systems that can automatically adjust their settings by, for example, switching off the lights and air conditioning when they sense that a room is empty, deliver considerable energy and costs savings compared to traditional systems that are shut down at set times.
Smart water and power usage monitoring combined with trend intelligence built on long-term analytics insights generated using sensors, edge systems, and cloud services can alert building managers to abnormal usage spikes that could indicate a problem with equipment or even a possible break-in that needs investigating.
The constantly-changing weather directly affects the temperature, humidity, and comfort level inside a building. However, the cooling or heating service in most buildings is often controlled by a single wall panel on each floor of the structure and applies a fixed temperature setting regardless of what conditions are like outside, the number of people inside it, and the time of year it is. This is a highly-efficient approach because it also doesn’t take into account other potential issues such as localized drafts, windows, and exhaust heat from equipment.
Small meeting rooms are often controlled by their own climate control systems. After a meeting is over, these are often carelessly left running, leading to yet more wasted energy. By creating a centralized control system with a network of wireless temperature sensors, the internal systems can react more dynamically to the number of people on any floor or area of it, while also adjusting to weather changes around the building. With the installation of dynamic climate control systems, a building’s internal environment becomes much more comfortable while savings are achieved by reducing excess energy usage.
Deeper Building Intelligence
Without a centralized overview of internal building systems and people’s movements, it’s very difficult to create a clear picture of how a building is used. Moving into a new abode can cause sudden bill shock, leaving an operations team bewildered and wondering where to save money.
Even without facial recognition, using cameras to accurately (and anonymously) people count is a great way to build a dynamic understanding of how a whole building, or even small sections or areas within it, is actually used. Studying the system’s analytics can deliver deep insights, enabling iterative tweaks to its controls to minimize energy consumption and enhance environmental comfort. As a plus, seating can be rearranged to improve worker efficiency or accommodate company growth and choke-points at the start and end of shifts can be mitigated.
Long-term analytics insights can also identify sudden anomalies in equipment that could lead to malfunction. Such predictive alerts can trigger maintenance, avoiding essential systems downtime, and in lieu of regular calls-outs to check systems, also reduce costs. Preventative monitoring is of particular importance in places which encounter more extreme weather conditions and rely on cooling/heating systems to create a sustainable working or living environment.
How to Build a Smart Building
A combination of sensors connected to small, efficient and ruggedized edge devices that are connected to a reliable cloud-based infrastructure gives a best-of-both-worlds approach. Real-time data processing and analysis can be carried out at the edge by the device itself, enabling automatic alerts and minimizing the amount of data that needs to be sent to the cloud. Key advantages of this approach include reduced power consumption and lower network traffic because it removes the need for absolute connection reliability to the cloud service. By considerably reducing data-flow it also reduces network load, processing latency, and bandwidth costs if data services are metered.
VIA at Embedded World 2019
VIA offers a comprehensive line of smart building solutions that help owners and managers to develop and implement a proactive approach to optimizing the safety, security, energy consumption, and environmental comfort of their commercial, industrial, and residential structures. You are welcome to visit the VIA booth at Embedded World 2019, to see our latest innovations, including the VIA ARTiGO A820 System integrating FogHorn Lightning edge intelligence software and connectivity to Microsoft Azure Cloud services, and the VIA Smart Access Control System.
The VIA booth is located at #2-551 in Hall 2 of the Nuremberg Exhibition Center. Click here to learn about the full range of VIA Edge AI systems and solutions that we will have on display there.