Digitalisation is giving buildings 'brains'

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As more and more of the world becomes urbanised and digitalisation continues to take hold, a growing number of industries are embracing software that makes their buildings more intelligent, the Eco-Business website writes.
 
Digitalisation has transformed many aspects of our lives, from communication to working and socialising. It has also reshaped the way we operate our buildings, with energy management systems and software able to reduce energy outgoings and, as a result, reduce operational costs.
 
Not only that, new digitalisation software gives smart buildings the power to improve the safety and security of tenants; notify managers about accidents or failures; adjust heating and cooling systems according to the weather; and use lights to guide people during the event of a fire or electrical fault. Some can even automatically park cars!
The market for smarter buildings is growing faster than ever before. According to London-based Memoori Business Intelligence, in Asia Pacific alone it is likely to almost triple within just five years, rising from US$7.6 billion in 2015 to just under US$20 billion by 2020.
 
Although many buildings already collect large amounts of data through their existing systems, the problem is integrating this information - if the systems are installed separately, there is a limit to the usefulness of their data.
 
Correlating the data by establishing better communication between these systems is one solution. A truly intelligent 'system of systems' would collate data from heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation, security and fire safety, allowing the building manager to make better informed decisions.
 
For example, if a meeting room was going to be booked from 1pm until 3pm, the system could automatically adjust the temperature before and after the meeting, so that energy is not wasted on an empty room.
 
The article cites a leading international school in Singapore - the United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA) - as an example of a facility that's paving the way in smart building technology and practice.
 
As the school's director of operations and facilities, Simon Thomas, explains, having a greater understanding of the building's performance is integral to using utilities more efficiently and solving problems more proactively. This includes analysing data about energy and water consumption, and ensuring that HVAC systems are performing as they should be.
 
This of course also goes for other types of buildings, including commercial and industrial facilities. By devolving control to the building owners, digitalisation allows companies to get a better grip on their energy usage and reduction efforts.
 
Smart Buildings

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