HB Blog

Insights from the leadership at HB on technology and culture

Smart Buildings Are the Building Blocks for Smart Cities

on November 01, 2016

Smart Buildings Are the Building Blocks for Smart Cities .jpg

The way we travel, communicate, learn, relax—even how we wake up in the morning—has all been transformed by technological advancements. The buildings we work and play in are no different. Some buildings are constructed with tech updates in mind, but corporations don’t have to level their buildings to leverage smart technology. 

Today, even buildings that are a hundred years old can be updated for the modern world. Buildings can be fitted with millions of data points—each reading a host of measurements like temperature, occupancy levels, and humidity. These structures are the building blocks of the next big thing—smart cities

Leverage Big Data and IoT for Smart Buildings 

Smart buildings help executives better manage and monitor assets, reduce energy costs and carbon footprints, and shape the world around us. Controlled air temperature, remote security, and streamlined processes are all within reach with smart building technology.  

The promise of smart buildings is incredible—but it’s not possible without powerful and reliable technology. Successful implementation calls for forethought and additional effort—from the beginning of the planning stage of the building to future decades to come. The best way to combine power and capability is through the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data.

Understand Why the IoT Matters to Smart Buildings

No portion of smart building connectivity would be possible without fast, wireless communication. IoT gives sensors the support they need to collaborate and quickly transmit data or complete tasks. Smart buildings need a reliable and instantaneous response network, plus a central command hub. This epicenter works to distribute the data to the right location.

Consider temperature controlled-rooms. Sensors gather the current temperature and send the reading back to the hub. There, the information is compared with the building’s desired parameters. The hub determines the necessary action to align the two values—and presto, your building is climate-controlled.

Use Big Data for Big Returns

Whenever sensors gather information, adjustments may be needed, which is where big data comes into play. The numbers are crosschecked for seasonality, scales, and anything else that could distort the findings. After they’re cleaned up, the numbers can be turned into analytics and algorithms.

The findings are then transformed into useable data and tapped to identify optimal settings and patterns. Almost every aspect can be fine-tuned with analytics—enabling businesses to quickly recoup the costs of installing smart building equipment.

Big data goes beyond just one building, though. The information gathered from each structure is useful to other similar establishments. The more businesses share their data, the more accurate the baseline will be. This data can then be used to troubleshoot unexpectedly high costs or find proven and effective solutions.

Smart buildings offer a world of possibility, but it will take time to implement such wide-scale changes. For years, the biggest challenge has been building data, but it’s easier now. Products like air quality sensors and sub-metering are constantly being developed and improved. They offer more accurate and accessible data than ever.

Prepare for Smart Building Development to Lead to Smart Cities

Imagine a city where smart buildings are the norm—a cityscape full of smart buildings with smart technology running everything from streetlights to public transportation. Smart structures maintain the most efficient conditions for productivity and energy savings without anyone lifting a finger—and they are the first step in building smart cities.

Some advancements are years from being fully developed, and others aren’t available at a reasonable cost yet—but changes are on the horizon. As developments continue, expect smart buildings to be the foundation for smart cities of the future.  

Photo Credit: scapforum Flickr via Compfight cc