Smart Buildings – Looking to the Future Using the IoT


The concept of a ‘smart building’ has been around for some time now, however as technology advances, so do the expectations of building owners and tenants. From multi-storey apartment complexes like apartments for rent in San Francisco to large retail centres and office buildings, the idea of a smart building has taken over.

The key piece of technology driving expectations is the Internet of Things (IoT), a concept that allows limitless devices, services and systems to be interconnected. One thing is clear when we look to the future of smart buildings – the IoT sits at the forefront of all foreseeable advancements.

What is a Smart Building?

A smart building is one that harnesses the power of building management systems to easily control services and building functions. This includes energy use and distribution, HVAC systems, security, lighting, and even water services. Traditionally, building management systems were introduced to manage HVAC alone, for example, ensuring consistent airflow and temperature inside buildings.

With the emergence of the IoT, however, building managers can no do so much more. Using advanced technology, smart buildings can now control legacy building management systems as well as all other services from one simple hub. The technology used also provides superior reporting and analytics, helping building managers make smart decisions regarding all systems in the complex.

How the IoT Works in Smart Buildings

The IoT is able to operate on a massive scale, literally capable of incorporating millions of sensors into one smart platform. Sensors are installed throughout a building to capture specific information and feed it back to the central hub. A simple example would be movement sensors that control lighting.

To expand further, the same movement sensors could also be linked to security systems. It’s all about bringing services together, allowing easy control. However, controlling systems is just one part of the equation. The real value of IoT smart building systems is in the data.

It’s All About Data

Superior analytics are the cornerstone of a smart building system. With a smart building control system, managers can access all of the analytics they need, without the need for software developers to come up with standalone reporting software. Gaining insight into the inner functions of a building’s energy, environment and building data lets managers know exactly what’s happening in real-time.

They can also access a range of historical data, and perform complex queries in a matter of seconds. These analytics help building managers find efficiencies, locate problems, monitor performance and even get tenants involved in energy reduction measures. It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t, especially with the rise of data systems like the Project Haystack Platform.

How Does Project Haystack Help?

Project Haystack is an open-source technology designed to streamline the way data from the IoT is managed. This includes smart devices connecting our homes, factories, cities, and of course buildings. If you think of a smart building’s central hub like a survey. It gathers a whole heap of data, but without something behind it to analyse the data, you can’t gain any real insight. Project Haystack is that something.

Simply, Project Haystack is the platform that allows intelligent interpretation of all the data collected within a smart building, and it powers the analytical insights provided to building managers.

The future of smart buildings is certainly looking bright. With more technology available, expect the cities and buildings of the future to have access to more data, smarter decisions, and increased efficiency.