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What's the Best Example of Building System Integration and Its Benefits?

Image of Clint Bradford
Clint Bradford

Anyone who understands IT knows how valuable centralized networks can be. They allow for greater control over systems and help both systems and people collaborate better, opening up new possibilities never before realized. 

Many businesses have quickly understood the benefits of integration and evolved accordingly, embracing cloud computing, automation, and virtualization. Though the commercial property industry has generally lagged behind other sectors in adopting these technologies, building owners are now increasingly seeing the value of integration as well. 

But what is system integration? What are the best examples? Taking a deeper look at this innovative approach will show you how integration can help you protect your assets and streamline your operations. 

What Is System Integration? An Example

When it comes to dealing with buildings, what is system integration? With examples from industries that already made the leap years ago, building owners have plenty of system integration case studies to look at. But in the end, the key to integrating a building’s systems involves simply getting them to work together. Successful execution is typically performed by a master systems integrator (MSI). 

IT ecosystems often include a hodgepodge of legacy infrastructure, software formats, and Internet protocols mixed in with cutting-edge technology. Automated building systems are no different. In a smart building—as in any other environment using a centralized IT system—an MSI seeks to integrate hardware and software seamlessly, connecting legacy infrastructure with modern additions like sensors, analytics software, and other smart technologies that make automated buildings run more smoothly. While the various building subsystems can work just fine without integration, they will not work or communicate as efficiently and seamlessly, and opportunities for more sophisticated automation, improved performance, and increased efficiency may be missed. 

An MSI:

  • Creates a collaborative environment and works in concert with all project participants to ensure components and strategies are appropriate for the project.
  • Designs a system architecture that allows disparate building systems to communicate with each other. 
  • Has ample experience with a wide range of legacy systems and can successfully integrate them with newer technologies.
  • Has ample experience with a wide range of legacy systems and can successfully integrate them with newer technologies.
  • Understands cybersecurity challenges and implements best security practices and protocols to minimize vulnerabilities. 
  • Provides centralized control over building systems.
  • Trains owners, facility managers, and other stakeholders on system software and controls. 

An MSI needs to not just understand buildings, but the entire construction or retrofitting process, as well as the IT aspects of creating an intelligent and integrated building. While hiring an MSI with deep domain expertise at any stage can be beneficial, getting them involved from the start is the best way to get the most out of your partnership. 

A Case Study

Let’s take a look at an example of how system integration happens with an MSI. 

Goals

A Fortune 500 corporation wants to retrofit its 400,000 square-foot headquarters to include smart and green technologies. The project involves keeping the shell of the building, which was built new in the mid-1990s, with some new construction. They want to:

  • Keep much of the existing HVAC and lighting systems, which are less than five years old, but install sensors to make them greener, and incorporate smart sensors and meters for the building’s new components. 
  • Reduce energy consumption.
  • Reduce water consumption.
  • Improve the comfort and health of building occupants. 

Hiring an MSI

The building owner understands that introducing an MSI from the very start will greatly benefit the project. With an MSI joining the team at the beginning of the design process, they can offer valuable insight and guide decision-making on an ongoing basis to ensure the final result will fulfill the project goals in the best way possible. 

Process

Designs for the retrofit included linking smart water meters and new sensors for the lighting, security, and HVAC systems to the building management system (BMS). The MSI guided equipment selection and ensured the design accounted for this system architecture. The MSI also suggested installing indoor air quality sensors that will later be used to trigger automatic HVAC adjustments that support a healthy environment.

Additionally, the MSI noted a number of challenges that must be addressed for successful integration and ongoing operations. These include:

  • Lack of cybersecurity protection in current system.
  • Current system uses proprietary protocols.
  • Slow network speed and an inability to handle the large volume of data that will be generated by smart devices.

With these insights, the MSI was able to architect a system that seamlessly unified all building systems, devices, and sensors using open protocols and API connections. For more robust security and scalability, a hybrid cloud to on-premises connectivity model was designed, with the MSI overseeing migration and ensuring best security practices were followed throughout the project. Network speed was also improved. 

Once the new system was installed, they used advanced analytics to identify areas of potential energy and water waste and make meaningful recommendations to optimize efficiency without sacrificing occupant comfort. This included sophisticated automation strategies based on sensor data and predictive analytics, such as adjusting temperatures, lighting, and ventilation in individual areas based on real-time and predicted occupancy. 

The MSI also provided training to ensure stakeholders understood and could use the new system to its full potential as well as ongoing support after completion of the project.

Choosing Buildings IOT for System Integration

Choosing Buildings IOT as your MSI partner for system integration can help you transform your building in the smartest and most efficient way possible. 

Buildings IOT’s industry-leading MSI:

  • Provides all-under-one-roof services.
  • Offers cutting-edge software like IOT Jetstream for data flow integration and onPoint for analytics and control.
  • Can develop custom software solutions to meet your needs.
  • Knows how buildings operate and understands the technologies and protocols needed to ensure optimal performance. 
  • Specializes in open protocols and state-of-the-art API connectivity.
  • Experienced at extracting and sharing data from silo systems to streamline operations. 
  • Deep expertise in cloud integration.
  • Maintains relationships throughout the project and afterwards as a long-term partner. 

With Buildings IOT, you can create a truly smart building that gives you a new level of control, opens up opportunities for more advanced automation, and offers greater efficiency and comfort than ever before.

Buildings IOT offers the services and technologies you need for seamless system integration. Contact our expert team to learn more.

 

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