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May 2019
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Importance of Internet of Things (IoT) in Buildings

Coming into Building space and what’s the role IoT is going to play?

Anish PKAnish PK
 Senior Consultant
 IoT for Buildings

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The buzz word “IoT” is there in the IT & Engineering world for the last 7 to 10 years++. And it is gaining strong momentum day by day with the presence of major players (Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Watson, Amazon AWS), their huge investment and continuous technology and product releases.

The IoT has already penetrated into many sectors like Online Retail Industry (where the smartphone you are using is an IoT device), the Financial & Investment sector (where data analysis is done on the data from different & discrete sources in order to predict & suggest investment patterns), Energy Utility Trading (where IoT is providing dynamic pricing for selling & buying) and many other sectors as well.

Coming into Building space and what’s the role IoT is going to play? The building is a physical entity where we human beings spend most of our time. On an average in a day we all spend approximately 18 to 20 hours inside the buildings which include different types of buildings like residential, commercial, office buildings, restaurants etc.

In most of these buildings in order to provide comfort for the occupants, the indoor space is maintained with sufficient temperature, humidity, air quality, air flow, lighting level. These conditions are met with the help of many mechanical & electrical equipment running behind the screen which is broadly called HVAC equipment (Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning). And all of these consume considerable energy for their operation. That’s why several studies done by prominent organizations have found that buildings consume more than 40% of total energy produced.

Apart from this, there are several safety, security & smart services in place inside the building for safeguarding the occupant & building assets:

The above-mentioned systems consume less energy compared to the HVAC system, but at the same time, the up-time & proper operation of these systems are highly critical.

When we check the current operating condition of these systems, you can find that even though each of these is automated with the help of field sensors, controllers, management software, they mostly work in silos. Means they don’t easily share data within each other or to a management platform. Also, there is no continuous evaluation of equipment performance, the correctness of sensor values, controller program running condition etc.

This situation created due to the presence of multiple manufacturers (where each of them are pioneer in one or multiple systems mentioned above) and they follow multiple protocols for data communication like BACnet, Modbus, LonWorks, N2, ARCnet, M-bus, H-Link, CCN, CPP, KNX, ONVIF, Wiegand and many more. Each of these protocol does not communicate with another and that’s one of the bottlenecks for having an Integrated Building Management System.

The second challenge is to handle the huge volume of data. A commercial building with 10 floors and having the above-mentioned systems can generate around 5k data points in an interval of 5 to 15 minutes and a campus with multiple buildings like a university or hospital campus can generate 50k data points for the same time period. These figures give you an alert for how to handle this huge volume of data in order to create valuable insights. A normal physical server which is locally installed on-premise will not be capable of computing this much data.

Here comes the Power of “IoT.“  The Application & Data platforms available in the market from different leading providers are capable of handling a large volume of data, and they provide numerous services within the platform in order to integrate multiple data sets into a single platform and perform following activities:

The data integration from multiple systems with the help of IoT Field devices, IoT Edge devices, IoT Platform, the continuous data analysis, huge data storage availability; the combined effect of these features will create a huge & positive impact on the following aspects of the building:

CatNet Systems In the current Building Data Management Market, we can see that recently major Building Controls & Building Equipment Manufacturer's (OEM) devoted their focus on Building Data Analytics and released products which includes IoT Edge Device & Cloud Hosted Application, On-Prim Applications, Add-on Services to existing BMS etc.

Meantime there is another major effort already started in standardizing the building data which will improve the quality of data and increase outcomes from the analysis done on those data.

These all indicate that the future is very clear for IoT & Buildings both are going to walk Hand in Hand and will help to create a Sustainable Eco System….



About the Author

Anish PK is an Electrical & Electronics Engineer with 12 plus year of experience in Building Automation, Energy Management & Electrical Power Industry and having excellent knowledge of Integrated Building Automation, Building System Integration, Remote Monitoring, Energy Management & Analysis, Fire & Security System Design, Installation, Testing & Commissioning.


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