Smart buildings are sometimes referred to as ‘automated buildings‘, ‘intelligent buildings‘ or buildings that incorporate smart technology. A smart building is any structure that uses automated processes to automatically control the building’s operations including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, vertical transportation and other systems. These buildings typically use sensors, actuators and microprocessors, to collect and manage data according to a business’ functions and services.
The infrastructure in a smart building allows building owners, operators and facility managers to improve asset reliability and performance. Goals include reducing energy consumption, optimisation of space and minimising the environmental impact of buildings. Fundamentally, smart buildings help make occupants more productive and buildings more cost-effective when compared to a building that is not connected.
Advanced technology is changing the way buildings are managed. Smart Building Management provides deep insight into performance of building assets, maximising uptime and solving problems before they start. Simply, Smart Building Management protects investments in buildings and ensures that they can easily be kept in optimal working order. By predicting potential issues, it drives an evolution in processes from proactive to predictive and delivers analytics to act on. For the building manager, this system provides a 360-degree view of a building assets’ real time performance.
The movement of people through buildings, referred to as ‘people flow’ has also changed dramatically over the years. Buildings have gone from using steps to move people between floors, to operator-driven lifts, and to the automatic push-button lifts we use today. Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, along with customer expectations, are driving a shift in the way that lifts in buildings are being designed and built for people flow.
Smart lifts use sensors located within the lift shaft and on the lift car which collect data and provide real time monitoring of the performance. New types of smart lifts provide significant value to the lift maintenance company and building owner who have the responsibility to maintain up-time in order to optimise the building and offer accessibility for occupants.
For maintenance engineers, smart lifts minimise downtime through real-time monitoring. Lifts that go down for unscheduled maintenance are an inconvenience to the building users and can often catch maintenance personnel off guard. This results in frustration and makes some areas inaccessible for those who rely on the lifts. With an effective monitoring solution, maintenance engineers can keep a close eye on the operational efficiency of the lifts. This means that maintenance engineers can not only anticipate when issues may occur, but it also means that the downtime of the lifts can be greatly reduced. For facilities managers it is one less concern to know that problems with their lifts could be detected early and dealt with swiftly.
In addition to the monitoring of lift activity, the introduction of Destination Control to manage people flow through a building has transformed the simple act of passengers travelling between floors. Instead of pushing a button to go up or down, passengers select their desired floor in the lobby area and they are then directed to the lift that will take them to their destination with the fewest number of stops. The system can be set up to anticipate rush-hour surges in the lobby which prevents large volumes of people standing in the lobby area waiting for vertical transportation.