IoT Building Automation Systems – How Does It Work?

IoT building automation systems

The underlining mechanics of building automation

IoT building automation systems

IoT building automation systems are made up of sensors and activators that generate and act on information automatically. img src

IoT building automation systems have the potentials to help enhance a building’s energy efficiency, reduce operational costs, improve safety and security, and facilitate a wide array of valuable services. These systems are basically made up of sensors and activators that transmit and act on information. The sensors gather and transmit information to the system’s central processor, and feedback is generated directing activators to act based on the generated data.

These sensors and activators are embedded across a Building Management System (BMS) to automate certain functionalities based on factors such as time and the occupation of the building. In homes, they can be incorporated into ventilation systems, thermostats, switches, refrigerators, door knobs, and so on.

With unlimited potential applications, these sensors and activators can facilitate the technical and administrative management of a building in amazing ways. They become even more powerful when incorporated with other technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality, edge computing, etc.

How IoT building automation systems will affect our daily activities

According to Gartner, the adoption of IoT building automation technology will hit a critical mass in 2020, with IoT components cheapened to a level where they become ubiquitous. Gartner predicts there will be 20 billion “internet-connected things” this 2020. The average cost of processors used in IoT systems is predicted to fall below $1, and that will make them readily available for IoT building systems with varying levels of sophistication.

The Gartner research also shows that as these systems become cheaper to develop, the home automation market will become the major source of demand for them, overtaking industrial automation. As of 2018, there were more than a billion connected ‘things’ used in homes across the country.

With time, our lives will become more intricately intertwined with IoT building automation systems. We’ll be interacting with more and more ‘things’ with sensors and activators that help us gain greater control over the world around us. From air conditioning systems to lighting systems, security camera systems, meters, etc., building technologies will be used to enhance our user experience with a wide range of appliances and components in our homes and offices.

What’s more, these systems will also help gather information to help us make better decisions in our homes, offices, schools, health care centers, and other infrastructures.

Pros of IoT building automation

IoT systems

IoT systems can help us generate data that can reveal powerful insights, but at the same time, they can expose us to the risks of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands. src

Here’s a look at the benefits of IoT to building automation:

  • Automation:
    With automation in our buildings, we can execute myriads of mundane tasks without any human effort. Building automation systems also help improve business efficiency by eliminating human errors that lead to inefficiencies in business processes.
  • Efficiency:
    Automation technologies are devoid of biases, preconceptions, and attitudes that hinder the efficiency of businesses. Building automation can also help us become more productive by sparing us more time to focus on more important tasks that require human judgment.
  • Cost-effectiveness:
    Many standard IoT building systems engage in the same processes repeatedly with minimal maintenance needs. They can be excellent investments that yield good returns through savings on human cost. Besides, some systems also help generate information that can be used to make more cost-effective decisions in business management.
  • Access to insights:
    IoT systems are designed to gather substantial, actionable information about our environments and business processes. They can also present these information in analysis-ready, easily-digestible formats to help us gain actionable insights quickly.

Cons of IoT building automation systems

Like all technology, IoT has some drawbacks for building automation systems:

  • Privacy and security concerns:
    One of the most controversial issues surrounding IoT building automation technology is about the type of information it gathers and who can have access to such information. It can be quite challenging to secure building automation systems from transmitting highly sensitive information to cyber criminals and hackers.
  • Substandard products:
    As a relatively nascent technology, there’s yet to be a consensus on the standards that should be enforced in the industry. As such, there are no robust quality control measures in place in Australia’s building automation market.

Summing up

IoT building automation systems are poised to revolutionalize building management systems, and our everyday lives in general. These technologies help us optimize the performance of various components of buildings, from electronic locks to security cameras, power systems, and air vent systems. However, the technology is still in its early days and fraught with many challenges such as compliance with standards, privacy, and security against unauthorized users. However, the benefits they offer currently outweigh their risks.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.