Sunday, 29 November 2015

Smart buildings for smart cities

Intelligent building systems enable buildings to run efficiently while conserving resources, all at the touch of a button.
Quite like the little computer chip that resides in your car and controls various motor performance functions, today, buildings too are becoming intelligent. The days of building systems employing a host of staff to manage multiple functions like common lighting in stairwells and grounds, water supply pumps, generators, security, amongst others will all become passe.
The building systems of our future will be efficiently run, all by the touch of a computer button. In fact, many new housing townships being built today already have begun to offer this feature to realise greater value for customers.

Intelligent buildings, greater savings
So, what exactly is the much-touted concept of Intelligent Building Management System or IBMS? IBMS is the very brain of the building ecosystem and its computer-based controls manages and monitors all the building's electrical and mechanical systems. This translates into seamless computer management of ventilation, air conditioning, power, fire, security and lighting systems.
These days, for instance, in large apartment complexes, a lot of resident angst stems from the huge common area variable electricity charges incurred each month. With IBMS, the system and not the manual guard, is responsible for switching on and off the lights in large common areas such as parks, playground, corridors, stairwells, terraces, pool, gym, club and other areas.
The intelligent system has been programmed for natural light changes and for monitoring human movement. Thus, lights switch off automatically when day breaks or when no one is using the gym. This results in light usage efficiency and reduces the common area variables while also conserving energy.
Reduced operational costs
As consumers grow conscious of maintaining a green environment, lowering carbon footprint, the demand for IBMS is growing. Fuelled by a need to also reduce operational costs, the market for IBMS is witnessing exponential growth and some analysts have even pegged it at double digit numbers.
Managing water supply
IBMS is a panacea for cities starved of water. Water paucity haunts many good housing projects and developers have to abandon them in the face of this essential resource shortage. IBMS solves this by regulating the opening and closing of water pipe valves automatically for enabling flow and cut down on water wastages. It also is able to monitor leakages in pipes so that these are fixed and water distribution is equitable.
Greater security
Video surveillance and security alarm systems are run more efficiently through IBMS leading to a greater degree of safety and security for residents in areas where this is available.
Efficient systems
What makes this a perfect solution for smart cities is that the integrated intelligent building management system is a single platform that controls and integrates building management systems into a unified whole over an IP network.
This essentially means that every bit of data point generated within the housing complex and building area can be re-used as action insights to create solutions for improvement in day-to-day functioning.
For example, video surveillance data may show less movement of the cleaning crew in an area on some days prompting the supervisors to check if those are really being cleaned. Without IBMS, this would have become evident only in a monthly routine checks and would have meant resident maintenance charge money being not well spent.
Diagnostic abilities
In addition, the biggest advantage of IBMS lies in its diagnostic abilities. Not only does the lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), and security equipment perform better with this system in place, it also lasts longer.
Further, insurance companies tie premium of household insurance policies to the preventive and curative equipment in place. For example, the insurance premium of a mall well-equipped with sprinklers and fire-fighting equipment will have lower premium than a mall where such equipment that reduces risk of fire does not exist. Thus, IBMS-equipped complexes may have lower insurance premium.
Given the many advantages accruing from Intelligent Building Management Systems, it is today the preferred feature to have in most commercial and residential complexes, offices, townships, shopping complexes, etc. Adoption of IBMS makes sense as it helps building systems comply with sustainability, makes them green certifiable, and can enable residents to conserve water and energy, both prized resources.

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