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|The Built Environment in 2019
In 2019, we will be driven by what I refer to as the “4 D’s”: digital transformation, data, dialogue, and disruption.
Chief Communications Officer,
Vice President, Marketing
another year approaches, many will speculate what will be. While it is
never easy to predict with certainty what is likely to happen, I
believe as we prepare for 2019, we are in the golden age of advancement
The pace at which technology and innovation has impacted the commercial buildings industry over the past several years has been unprecedented. The proliferation of more powerful connected devices, IoT, the increase in the use of sensors, the ability to capture data from different sources, the increased use of more advanced analytics, have created an exponential rise in the volume, velocity, and adoption of these systems. It has also produced a multitude of new choices.
challenge is not technology—it is here, and it is proven—but, rather,
it is the willingness and preparation to take advantage of it.
if you are a technology provider, system integrator, building owner,
facility manager, engineer, or contractor, it has never been a more
interesting time for the built environment. After years of being
over-shadowed, smart building technology is in the spotlight. The
technology has matured with the emergence of open platforms,
interchangeable hardware and the horde of applications. The transition
to smart buildings is now about much more than energy efficiency. It is
vital not only to the operation of a building, but occupant well-being
and the growth of an organization.
In 2019, we will be driven by what I refer to as the “4 D’s”: digital transformation, data, dialogue, and disruption. In fact, the 4D’s will be driven at NASCAR speeds and continue to lead the way in redefining how we operate, manage and use commercial space in ways never imagined.
we continue to speculate what the new year will bring, I believe there
are some definite trends we should be thinking about no matter what
role you play in the built environment.
The Empowered Edge
computing, and analytics are increasingly residing at the equipment and
device sources. This enables data to be generated faster, more
efficiently and more reliably than ever before. The ongoing evolution
of micro-processing technology has meant that sufficient computing
power to perform the heavy lifting of data acquisition, normalizing and
analysis can now be performed directly onboard the devices themselves.
This evolution is happening because of the need to streamline the volume and types of data, reduce latency and manage bandwidth. Furthermore, it is about reducing the amount of data sent to the Cloud, reducing complexity and improving system response time. In fact, some say that 40% of the available data will be collected and analyzed near or at the Edge.
devices are smarter, more powerful, and offer higher levels of
functionality with enhanced embedded systems software. The trend is
toward connecting more and more devices directly together that provide
analytics within each device.
value takes shape when the devices are extended by layering
applications that leverage the activities, services, and
interrelationships—not only of the devices but of all people, systems
and connected devices on the network.
upcoming year, 2019, will be the year of the platform—especially open platforms.
software and hardware platforms are finally getting their just dues. As
building operators see these platforms as a way to manage and operate
their facilities, system integrators and OEMs are adding services and
extending value. Platforms create value for users by facilitating
connections and exchanges between people for services and information.
we move into the year, expect to see some platform consolidation and
the simplifying of related ecosystems.
Data, Data, Data and Analytics
systems generate vast amounts of data. Utilizing that data and making
it meaningful can be a challenge.
combined with analytics, one can avoid potential problems, reduce
costs, and increase performance. The use of data is no longer optional—it is mandatory.
and analytics are now irreplaceable assets in managing and operating
our buildings and facilities. You can’t have one without the other.
It’s not an either/or situation. The need for cost-effective, real-time
data and analytics has never been greater.
will turn from big data to smart data and real-time accessibility. And
when it comes to data, unless data is interoperable, one will not
experience the full power and value it can deliver. The data produced by a device is now more
valuable than the cost of the device.
Data Ownership and Privacy
with all the smart data and the number of data points now available,
comes two topics that will generate lots of debate and discussion—data ownership and privacy.
is important to note that data which is generated and gathered by our
building systems and sensors, can pass through a number of different
layers making for good debates on who owns it. Is it the application
provider that shares it, the facility service firm who collects it, or
the building owner/operator who owns the building and the systems that
created it? Does data possession equate to ownership?
how about privacy, especially as we increase the use of occupant data
and occupant tracking for space utilization and productivity. There are
no clear-cut answers or guidelines here yet, but undoubtedly, are being
The multitude of available applications and their use will continue to be integrated into platforms and building operating systems. Specifically, apps centering around the organization, management and visualization of data, real-time analytics, predictive maintenance, space utilization, and the occupant experience, will receive top considerations. We will see new applications evolve. However, we need to keep in mind: it is not about the hip and hype, but rather the real and relevant.
OT and IT
between OT and IT has been a goal of smart buildings since the market’s
inception. While the discussion on centralization and decentralization
rage on, we are closer than ever to having both existing simultaneously
in the same environment.
2019, be the year we begin to see the development of guidelines, joint
standards to help align OT and IT?
5G continues to move closer to availability, it is becoming a hot topic
for building equipment and technology providers as well as building
owners and tenants. Despite the high level of interest—offering greater
than 1 Gbps speeds and low latency—there remains a number of questions
revolving around: how we will
connect and make use of this technology, and what will its impact on
the built environment be?
When we discuss the built environment in 2019, one must mention Artificial Intelligence (AI).
will remain the buzzword of the day. Many still are not quite sure what
AI is and how it will be applied to use cases within the built space.
is the year that the understanding of its role will gain traction. As
more and more devices become connected and capable of interoperating
with each other, AI’s language processing, image recognition, and
neural network-driven decision making will help them to understand each
other, and us.
a wild couple of years, is it just me, or has the cybersecurity
landscape been a bit quiet?
the very least, the publicity around cybersecurity has quieted down.
Rest assured though; the same threats are still there. Many
organizations are still not addressing the elephant in the room when it
comes to building operations and are underprepared to respond to
threats that are ever present and becoming more sophisticated every
day. It remains a concern and should part of the conversation and
addressed in any deployment.
Cybersecurity comes down to one thing—risk
and how much you are willing to gamble.
Emerging As-A-Service Models
a seismic shift happening in the tech industry with as-a-service models being on a
major upward trajectory.
this type of approach in the BAS industry certainly isn't new, I
believe the chatter is beginning to increase, and we will see
definitive as-a-service models start to be offered and considered as
One of the greatest benefits of these models, is building operator’s ability to shift the cost of acquiring new technology from a capital expenditure (CAPEX), which they must depreciate, to an operating expense (OPEX). By doing so, companies large and small, can free up cash for investment in strategic initiatives that drive revenue and growth.
who initially limited their as-a-service to after-service for their
equipment to maintenance scenarios, now are looking at leveraging
as-a-service models that are proactive and focus on maximizing
equipment performance, uptime, and lifetime value.
will be another year for choice. While choice is not new, the influence
of platforms, applications, the edge, the influx of data and the open
flexibility of today’s technology, make decisions based on choice
better than ever.
some of these trends are ringing true to you in your built environment
are being driven by trends that are being pushed by changes in customer
requirements, business compliance, and changing technology. We have
created connected built environments that bring people and information
together in ways that are meaningful and deliver operational value and
successful business outcomes.
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