Intelligent buildings and automated working environments can offer advantages that range from enhanced physical security to a reduction in hiring and maintaining facility management staff. We’re talking about much more than a secure server able to provide connectivity across multiple devices, platforms and protocols. The requirements contributing to a truly intelligent facility are numerous. From network cabling to peripheral communications to security hardware / software to the aesthetics of workspaces, the array of factors in an intelligent building plan pose a challenge. However many businesses with physical plants of all sizes have invested in the long term, setting goals in building automation and experiencing payoffs in both employee morale and efficiencies in climate controls and security. Companies like Microsoft, the Cleveland Clinic and the City of San Francisco have gone beyond “green” structures to make sure their buildings are “bright green.”
Connectivity and Cross-Platform Support
While automation of an existing building or a larger workplace environment may prove to be an expensive undertaking, smaller operations may be able to create a smarter office, workshop or retail environment for much smaller overall cost. Before choosing a centralized secure server that can be accessed to manage any number of building and environmental functions, there are a few other issues that must be considered:
- Total cost and budget for the life of the project
- Scope of automation
- Plans for future upgrades
- Support for key applications and peripherals
- Digital security
Start with Data Security
Access to data makes everything move faster in the commercial realm. While building automation can make it easier to monitor door locks and on-site cameras, cutting corners on the security of your central server in your effort to create a smarter workplace environment could prove to be a disaster-in-waiting. Any number of problems can arise in the event of an unauthorized user gaining access to the heart of your system. Ensuring data security by restricting access among local users, utilizing firewalls and other digital security applications, and implementing user protocols and operational procedures designed to keep all functions safe and secure should be a subject of planning from the very beginning.
Improving Efficiency and Reducing Overhead Expenses
Early in their development, intelligent facilities seemed to focus on either people factors OR the efficiency of building function. Now they have merged into a single perspective under the organizing principle of sustainability. Coupled with the innovations of the “Internet of Things” movement, intelligence in buildings encompasses way more than simply security.
Automated management of your building’s security system, climate control equipment, lighting, water usage and CO2 emissions can provide tremendous advantages for those seeking to create a more efficient and low-impact workspace. A poor workplace environment can be a significant distraction, one that can easily rob workers of time and effort that may be better spent dealing with actual productivity tasks. Systems designed to provide a hands-off way to manage or monitor building security or to adjust lighting and interior temperature automatically will ensure that your teams will enjoy ideal working conditions needed to be at their best.
Automated or intelligent buildings provide easier ways to maintain the workplace environment and can offer both local and remote users alike the ability to access everything from door locks to business records to the equipment room temperature . Routing multiple functions and features through a secure server can greatly reduce the need to provide hands-on management when it comes to maintaining the environment in your workplace. Also, like the designs of modern aircraft, computers are not simply a nice add-on, but critical to the coordinated operation of all building systems. High-performance aircraft won’t get off the ground without the high-speed data processing needed to adjust the interaction between the machine and the environment.
Creating the Right Digital Infrastructure
Even the most sophisticated applications may be of little practical value in environments that lack the right digital infrastructure. From upgrading your local area network in order to ensure it is able to handle faster transfer and connection speeds to replacing existing equipment with peripherals and devices designed to be operated remotely, automating even smaller offices and environments often requires some investment in core sensors and equipment that make intelligent buildings possible.
Mattias Peluffo, writing in a blog for Commscope, Inc. puts it this way:
“Today, major shifts are occurring in the way buildings are designed, operated and used. Corporate real estate, facilities and IT departments stand to benefit greatly from the use of building intelligence in order to meet space optimization, energy efficiency and connectivity challenges at a time when changing workplace demographics come with increasing occupant expectations of modern and flexible space design, improved comfort, productivity, and pervasive connectivity.”
Stay on top of what’s coming to all buildings of the future: Start investing now in connected, intelligent, efficient physical plants. NetQ Multimedia has been a leader in data and telecommunications in the New Jersey and the eastern United States for over 20 years. Contact us to find out how we can help.