Smart Building Trends to Watch
At the recent Securing New Ground conference, held virtually October 28, the topic of smart buildings came up multiple times — particularly in regards to new technology trends, pandemic impacts as well as cybersecurity concerns and the differences between IT/OT.
During an interactive SIA Megatrends session designed to get attendees input on top trends to watch in 2022, Brivo President and CEO Steve Van Till asked a series of questions ranging from the current most and least impactful trends to what will be the most important in the next two years. Artificial intelligence topped the list of most impactful (followed by cloud computing), while “responsive environment and intelligent spaces” was deemed least impactful. But that doesn’t mean smart buildings are less important today. Instead, they are shifting priorities. For example, more than three quarters of respondents answered that it was either extremely or very likely that predictive data analytics will become a meaningful feature within your products, software or solutions within the next two years.
These points were echoed by presenters across several sessions.
“These are unprecedented times, not just because of the pandemic but our customer’s needs are moving at a rapid pace,” said Bhuvana Badrinathan, CIO of Convergint. “They want to move to cloud-based solutions and there has been an increase in disruptive technologies like AI. Businesses are prioritizing digital transformation initiatives and we have developed solutions tailored to specific needs of customers.”
The Evolving Meaning of ‘Smart’
While smart buildings have been around a while, the pandemic has caused some end users to rethink what they want in a ‘smart’ building. Previously smart buildings often meant energy efficient, frictionless security and convenience. Today’s smart buildings need to include health considerations as well.
“As people started to bring occupants back into buildings they were queuing them up differently,” said Joe Hudock, senior vice president, marketing and sales excellence, for dormakaba USA. “Where and when they came into the building was becoming congested and the dynamics were thrown off because the flow of people had changed.”
For example, the doors staying open longer due to lines created by new protocols impacted the energy efficiency, he explained. “Smart buildings moving forward will need to take into account who should be in at what times, the number of people in the building, energy management and air quality.”
In order to accomplish this, providers of smart building solutions need to shift their mindset, as well as their planning.
“We are being pulled forward by the nature of what we are facing, Hudock said. “It does challenge us to think about what is a smart building, the safety component changing to include health and how you move people around based on their credentialing.”
Peter Boriskin, CTO-Americas for ASSA ABLOY added there are two distinct aspects to planning for this. The first is workflow and how to manage people and access control to know who is going where, when. The second is the health and safety of the products themselves.
“We are being asked a lot about transparency. When you talk about safety and health, the products themselves also need to meet those requirements. If I am touching something like a handle or a lock, is it being plated in a way that might be harmful down the road? The things we are producing, are they healthy? We are starting to see areas of concern we never thought about before.”