The most fundamental feature of a smart building is that the core systems within it are linked. So, water meters, pumps, fire alarms, power, lighting etc are all connected. This is what makes a building “smart” – the ability of the systems within it to talk to one another.

Understanding smart buildings

In smart Buildings, ‘soft’ digital infrastructure, that utilises IoT and machine learning, is elevated to equal importance as the bricks and mortar that make up the building. At a basic level, buildings can automatically control lighting, heating, ventilation and a myriad of other internal operations. However, what’s truly exciting about smart buildings is the behavioural data the sensors connected to these systems collect.

What is a smart building?

By analysing the data the building collects in real-time, a two-way conversation is created between the structure and its inhabitants. This means that it can learn to respond in a tailored way to different stimuli. For instance, an integrated digital ceiling can sense when people are in a room and manage the temperature and air ventilation according to their preferences.

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Building overheads are a significant cost for any building owner/user. However, while these are a necessary business expense, the level of spend is often wasteful because it’s not intelligently applied. As technological capabilities increase, and working practices change, so too do the opportunities and need to develop ‘smart buildings’. The adoption of these structures is already on the rise, but will undoubtedly falter if a strong business case isn’t made to encourage widespread uptake. In order to achieve this, key decision makers must understand the benefits smart buildings provide for both inhabitants and investors.

The benefits

These benefits range from energy savings to productivity gains to sustainability. Smart building strategies can reduce energy costs, increase the productivity of the facility staff, improve building operations, support sustainability efforts and enhance decision-making across the organization.