As businesses move toward digital transformation, building owners are forced to make decisions to ensure their facilities are future-ready to stay competitive. Creating a smart building can offer employees, future staff, and building tenants a more comfortable and productive working environment, but it can be difficult for owners to determine how to best approach transforming their facilities.

Finding the Right Approach

While today’s building systems are digital and have been for decades, they are underutilized and operating in isolation. Building owners do not realize the full benefit of the capabilities — and more importantly, the data — behind their digital building systems. When digital systems are deployed successfully, data is translated into real business insights and decision-making. These insights, in turn, facilitate the transformation of commercial facilities into true smart buildings.

Integrated building systems are the foundation of a smart building — whether through a technology retrofit or new construction project. This convergence happens when a building’s digital and its physical structure connect to technology operating in the facility to allow the implementation of integrated building systems for a comprehensive approach to building management. Whether the facility is a hospital, school, or corporate headquarters, a building is only truly intelligent when previously siloed systems — such as lighting, HVAC, access controls — connect to share information.

Business processes needed to support CRE buildings are made up of many workflows carried out by many different and disconnected systems. Many of these workflows depend on one another and often overlap, even though they have no visibility into those dependencies or duplicated effort. A successfully integrated system will add greater value to the overall project as opposed to each individual design discipline that uses embedded technologies to monitor and control its respective systems.

For example, lighting and HVAC have many overlapping features, such as zone occupancy sensors and schedules, front-end visualization software, tools for setup and configuration, Ethernet and fiber-optic cabling, and communication protocols. These similarities present an opportunity to remove duplications and minimize the number of devices required to accomplish the same goal; automation tasks also can be streamlined once the systems are live. All of this adds up to eliminated waste.

In addition to lighting and HVAC, several other systems are responsible for maintaining any complex project including access control, closed-circuit TV, life safety, metering for utilities, and solar and energy storage. The importance of eliminating inefficiencies and minimizing waste in any building is no longer a value add. Today, it is a necessity for the long-term life-cycle management of any smart building.

Once building owners decide to engage in a digital transformation of their building, it’s critical to bring together key stakeholders before starting the project to determine the desired outcomes of their future-ready building, define the purpose and vision of the building, uncover priorities, and maximize every dollar spent. While each facility seeks unique outcomes, it’s crucial that upgrades are integrated as a functional whole and not thought of as a collection of independent systems. This is key because if integration is attempted after systems have been installed and construction is complete, the process is much more costly, difficult, and time-consuming to maintain. Following this approach, beforehand can also reduce any risks associated with the project. Regardless of the distinct needs of the building, owners should make sure they plan for a digital transformation that is smart, secure, integrated, and sustainable for today and the future to reap the benefits of technology integration fully.

Along with the global mega-trends that influence the ways buildings are used – including urbanization, the ageing global population, and environmental sustainability – buildings must become smarter. Digitalization has already transformed many industries, and now it is the turn of the construction industry. As a result, many building systems will be integrated to deliver enhanced functionality. Because of the fragmentation of existing building systems and the established roles within the industry, it is difficult to leverage the apparent benefits of digitalization fully, and the adoption of new integrated solutions has been slower than expected.

However, digitalization is inevitable. The sheer number of different building systems means it is important to find the most appropriate vision and a solid value proposition for integrating them. To date, the strong technology focus has driven the development of building systems, but its capability to create new value is rapidly decreasing.

BuildingMinds: Changing the Digital Sphere of Buildings

The real estate industry is investing to prepare for the future. Digitalization offers huge potential for integrating fragmented processes over the value chain, for stakeholders such as building owners, property and facility managers, tenants, and service providers.

BuildingMinds is dedicated to disrupting and reshaping the future of the building management industry. Together with Microsoft, we accomplish this by helping building owners realize the full value in their assets. As well as increasing the value of their properties, owners can more effectively manage them through real-time transparency on compliance, usage optimization, reduced energy and service costs, and increased tenant satisfaction.

BuildingMinds will partner with building owners to offer an integrated platform solution for their building system. A Digital Building Twin that will integrate all available data on the building structure, equipment, commercial operations, as well as technical data points from IoT. Processes over the whole value chain will be linked to the digital twin to distribute data between all involved stakeholders seamlessly. This will create the opportunity to reach unprecedented efficiency in building operations by deploying artificial intelligence and new data-driven business models.

If you would like to see how you can make the most out of your buildings, get in touch with us.