Building Management In The Clouds

Smart BuildingFacilities managers are facing the huge challenge of interconnecting various services via smart building functions. As the basis for IoT (Internet of Things), light can simplify the networking of different building management systems and therefore open up new IoT applications, resulting in smart buildings.

Thomas Moder, Segment Manager Controls & Connectivity explains why IP-based digital networking of luminaires is suitable as the carrier infrastructure for IoT

Nowadays, the different building management systems communicate with one another via a large number of gateways. Information is often lost, however, during signal conversion. To operate buildings more efficiently and take advantage of synergies between the individual services, such as security, lighting, air-conditioning, communications and entertainment technology, is favourable to build on strong and more seamlessly connected building. The more areas of a building that are inter-linked and automated, the greater the operational efficiency and comfort and thus the return on investment. The (sensor) data of the various systems can be used for the entire building technology system to achieve more efficiency benefits. At the same time, far-reaching conclusions can be drawn in the area of data-based services – the key phrase here is “big data”. Smart buildings will come with a future-proofed IoT infrastructure which handles the networking of the services without gateways and allows for simple and flexible expansion Gateway-free architecture offers significant benefits such as avoiding conversion problems, which ultimately enhances the reliability and stability of the network. Gateways can be completely eliminated in connected and open infrastructures which connect different “things” in a network, making them accessible by applications through an application programming interface (API).

Lighting infrastructure as a basis for IoT
IP-based digital networking of luminaires is suitable as the carrier infrastructure for IoT for various reasons. Luminaires are already present in huge numbers wherever people live and work and lighting systems already have their own power supplies. Luminaires also have sufficient space for sensors to be integrated, such as presence sensors, beacons for indoor navigation, thermostats and gas sensors – making them perfect as hubs for collecting and transmitting data. Luminaires will therefore become sensor hubs in smart buildings, offering the ideal infrastructure for a smart building by enabling various systems to be interconnected and controlled. If in future an IP-based, wireless or wired connection will come with every luminaire, this connection can then be used not only for controlling the luminaires but also to enable other services that might be built on the sensor data collected through these luminaires. Building operators will be able to not only to group into one network those services which were previously operated in closed systems, but also generate added value from interconnecting the data provided by these systems. Presence data from the light management system also provides an insight into how various areas of the building are used. This knowledge can be applied to optimise how the space is used and enable the heating or air-conditioning system to be regulated intelligently according to that usage.

Linking the lighting infrastructure with the IP world
Lighting-based infrastructures can do without gateways with no problem at all and Tridonic has taken advantage of this fact to develop a future-proof hardware and software platform which seamlessly links the lighting infrastructure to the IP environment. net4more combines various components such as LED drivers, communication modules, interfaces, sensors, routers, software and applications to create a complete well-designed solution. As a genuine “IP-to-the-end-node” solution, the toolbox for the first time offers IP communication right to the luminaire. This way, luminaires are becoming a part of IoT and can communicate seamlessly with other devices in the network. Thus the lighting network opens up for other devices including sensors, making it the first choice of connecting sensors to a smart building. Net4more’s architecture is especially open, flexible and highly scalable. The toolbox does not need any gateways, is based on the open standard of the IPv6 internet standard and enables wireless communication on a low-power version in accordance with the THREAD standard.

In future, smart buildings will use the all the collected data -in Cloud-based applications where analytics are conducted and knowledge automatically created. The next stage, systems will detect anomalies themselves and correlate them with other data. Using this as a basis, the building will not only recognise “irregularities” in the operation and use of the building but will also be able to start analysing the cause and provide possible recommendations to remedy the error or optimise operation.

smart building networkConnected open infrastructure such as net4more opens up new options for a wide variety of applications. The convenient user experience that is commonplace for residential users can now be easily replicated in the B2B environment. Eliminating numerous gateways makes planning buildings much easier. There is no longer any need, for example, for complex updates to individual devices, and management of different protocols is simplified. The end user or occupier of the building gets a smart building in which all the services are connected. This makes maintenance easier and saves energy costs, whilst additional services such as room management and indoor navigation can be equipped in a nutshell and provide significant added value. Building developers can create a flexible future-proof facility which can be customised to meet the needs of the users over the whole period of use.


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