Article - May 2002
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Published April 2002

 Engineered Systems    

Ken Sinclair

Although we as an industry have said the words before we have never reached our potential of providing intelligence or integration in our buildings.

We now have all the tools at our disposal to achieve levels of intelligence and integration never before seen, but desperately need sophisticated owners, designers and integration experts to explore our potential. It is very much what comes first, the chicken or the egg scenario. As an industry we must work harder and faster to educate sophisticated owners and designers as to the new capabilities of our industry, while learning about how they perceive our involvement in their corporate enterprise. To achieve these goals it is necessary to create new relationships with specialized building integration and intelligence designers to explore possibilities with the owners' data enterprise. 

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I am encouraged and applaud the work of CABA (the Continental Automated Buildings Association) that has formed the CABA Intelligent & Integrated Buildings Council to help develop "the Technology Roadmap"

The purpose of this CABA Member Council is to identify large building automation initiatives that will move the industry forward. The Intelligent Buildings (IB) Council's overall objective is to work on "large building" issues and opportunities that allow CABA to achieve its mission, which is: "To encourage the development, promotion, pursuit and understanding of integrated systems and automation in homes and buildings." 

Definition - IIBT are the enabling technologies to provide an Intelligent Building that is a building and its infrastructure which provides the owner, operator and occupant with an environment which is flexible, effective, comfortable and secure through the use of integrated technological building systems, communications and controls. 

Objectives - Provide a vision of IIBT future by defining IIBT, charting the evolution of IIBT technology, spawning initiatives to stimulate industry, and encouraging development of standards. 

From an article on our web site called Trends in Intelligent Buildings in the Asia Pacific author Hari Gunasingham, Eutech Cybernetics Pte Ltd states the following: 

Intelligent Buildings in the Intelligent City 

In the Asia Pacific, the notion of an Intelligent Building is becoming inextricably linked to the broader idea of the Intelligent City. In this regard, Intelligent Buildings are not just stand-alone entities, but interconnected hubs within the citywide infrastructure. The natural consequence of this is the development of cities within cities: smaller, ecosystems comprising a tightly integrated network of buildings that better enable the management and optimization of systems and resources. 

Why this is important is that it gives rise to an entirely different set of drivers that make Intelligent Buildings an economic and business necessity and not just something that is "nice-to-have". Perhaps the most important business driver is the ability to reduce cost, optimize manpower utilization and improve service levels through aggregation, service integration and process automation respectively. 

[an error occurred while processing this directive]Some practical examples where this can yield benefits include: 

Eutech is working with several partners, including Colliers International Asset Management in Singapore, to develop solutions for the management of networks of multiple buildings. Again, the strategy is software driven based on Eutech's platform. The software is located at a central location and enables the remote management of multiple buildings over the Internet, wide area network, or telephone network. 

Intelligent Buildings are becoming an intrinsic part of the cityscape in the Asia Pacific. The opportunities for entrepreneurial companies to work in this field in this region will be immense. 

Hari certainly paints a larger picture than we normally think of when we get our minds around intelligent and integrated buildings. Today's software tools are unlimited and this allows me to strongly believe what he states in his article. 

Elsewhere in the article Hari points out many cities in the Asia Pacific are being completely rebuilt. This alleviates the limitations of issues such as the need to conform to or accommodate older, legacy systems. 

As North Americans I think we should heed these words as often our new projects are simply overlaid on a decaying infrastructure that limits our future choices and causes us to build what we have built before because we know we can and in the short term it is the lowest cost.

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