Integrating Security Into the Growing Smart Building Market

It’s no wonder theEdge in Amsterdam has been touted as the world’s smartest building.

Everything is connected to the Internet. Lighting, temperature controls – even espresso machines and bathroom towel dispensers – are linked to central dashboards that track usage patterns and adjust settings or send alerts, accordingly. Employees use a smartphone app to check their schedules, find a workspace and much more.

Security is also part of the mix. When employees arrive at the parking garage, an automated entry system takes a photo of their license plate, matches it with their employment record and raises the gate. For nighttime security, a little robot resembling a Star Wars droid patrols the building. Equipped with a camera, it can provide security personnel with footage of any suspicious activity.  

What is a Smart Building and What is the Market Outlook?

While the Edge has redefined the connected workspace, smart buildings are still considered an emerging trend.

Smart buildings use sensors, microchips and the power of the cloud to automate, manage and optimize their operations, including temperature control, lighting, electricity, security and more. With such a high level of connectivity and system integration, these innovative structures can offer more comfortable and optimized spaces, reduce energy costs and minimize environmental impact. The Edge, for example, uses solar panels and thermal energy to produce more electricity than it consumes.

Although the market is still in its early stages, experts predict explosive growth over the next several years. A Research and Markets report projects the global smart building market will grow from $7.4 billion in 2017 to $31.7 billion by 2022 thanks to a growing need for integrated systems and the increased availability of cloud-based software and services. In fact, Statista, a statistics portal, estimates the number of connected devices – the Internet of Things or IoT – will surpass 50 billion by 2023.

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Security and Smart Buildings

Historically, smart-building projects have focused more on energy savings and environmental impact. But security will play a much larger part as building owners tackle a few obstacles.

A recent feature in SDM Magazine noted that many owners who consider a smart-building approach may need to upgrade outdated security systems before they can integrate them into the smart framework.

Even if systems are current, security has traditionally been separate from the pack. “Historically, security has been isolated or siloed…,” said Steven Turney, security program manager, Schneider Electric, Dallas.

But he feels security providers will have to step up to the plate. Demand continues to grow as more building owners and managers recognize the value of smart building security technologies and the value of integrating with other systems like fire, HVAC and lighting.

How Can Smart Buildings Improve Security?

New IoT technologies continue to emerge at a rapid pace, so it’s likely these benefits are just the tip of the iceberg:

  • Enhanced Video Surveillance – Advances in video technology offer high-definition quality, search capability and remote monitoring. Smart video cameras can employ facial recognition for access control and be used not just for security, but to deliver more accurate and useful information to improve other facility operations.
  • Better Connectivity – With better connectivity between systems and locations, facilities managers get better data and can respond more effectively. Consider the advantages in an emergency situation: “…a building automation system can be used to lock doors to a specific area and can be integrated with the mass notification system to provide critical information to the people located in the affected area,” Alejandra Lozano, environmental and building technologies research analyst for Frost & Sullivan, explained in a Siemens report.
  • Remote Monitoring – Using a mobile device to monitor locations remotely provides valuable security information on the go. A property manager, for example, can lock down a facility remotely upon hearing of a nearby threat. Already, a number of products, like the CLIQ Go App, allow business owners to schedule access to rooms, give visitors time-limited access, revoke access and more – all managed from a cloud-based system.

To learn about other smart building security technologies, check out the latest news at Smart Buildings Magazine.

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