Blog Smart Buildings – If your buildings could talk, what would they tell you?

If your buildings could talk, what would they tell you? The introduction of multiple types of sensor and control technology, connected to centralised management systems, is enabling the vision of a smart building. These tiny, often hidden, almost always overlooked pieces of technology have been collectively referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) and although they can pose a new security threat to your organisation (see my blog on the ‘IoT – the new attack surface’) their growth is not slowing down.

What this myriad of connected sensor arrays can tell you about your building is almost limitless, from occupancy, people traffic flow, heat, humidity, Co2 levels, energy consumption and energy harvesting. As individual sensor arrays, some controlled and installed by estates, some by security, some by IT they provide useful insight, but if all of the data received is collected and mined as a single entity then the insights are truly powerful.

For example, the data might show that if the weather is particularly bad on Friday’s and Monday’s that 20% of the workforce decide to work from home. This insight can then be predicted and 40 hot desks, representing 50% of a floor’s occupancy at HQ, are taken out of service and not issued to staff on the daily hot desk booking system. That means no heat, lighting, power or IT services required in that part of the building therefor presenting cost savings to the company and an environmental benefit.