Beyond BMS

Security, access control, Building Management Systems (BMS) and workforce convenience aren’t usually words you would combine in a concept, but they are getting closer where facility owners are thinking ahead.

By Neil Cameron, Johnson Controls area general manager, Building Efficiency – Africa

With a little creativity, human-centred design thinking and great use of available technologies, the capabilities of security technology are being stretched beyond their original intended purposes – and it’s really paying off.

In Ireland's ‘smartest building’ – One Albert Quay in Cork – security and building management technology does more than police perimeters and keep the office at the right temperature. With the addition of analytics, big data, integration with backend HR, email calendaring and office management systems, as well as an app or two, it is simplifying life for employees and helping them achieve high-value work.

What does that look like?

Every day at One Albert Quay, one management platform centralises it all. There’s the daily building management capability:

  • 2 000 lights are managed from one central system, illuminating 12 000m2 of space.
  • 320 people arrive at five access card readers, six smart lifts automatically open, taking staff to their floors securely, saving 11kWh of energy.
  • 150 fire extinguishers, 100 smoke detectors, 15 fire panels and two suppression systems protect the building against the threat of smoke and flame.
  • 86 cameras secure the building’s traffic and identity management.
  • 100 control points are accessed 3 200 times a day.
  • 150 vents manage 21 000ℓ of conditioned air per second, heated or cooled as needed by BMS software.

… But also some unexpected value adds.

  • Data from access control systems inform two chefs in the building canteen how much food to prepare for the day ahead.
  • 17 meeting rooms are booked and secured through the email calendar systems of employees and linked to access control for access.
  • 2 000 car parking spaces are monitored across five car parks, predicting free spaces over the following week and informing staff as they arrive for work.
  • An IoT platform ingests data from 290 data points per second to facilitate logistics.
  • 82 live bus routes and 15 train schedules are sent to the cell phones of building occupants as they prepare their journeys home.

By offering concierge-like services that ease them through their workday with a lot less effort and stress, this smart building is driving productivity and maximising the effectiveness of employees as well as the consumption of the facility.

What makes it all hang together so effortlessly? The use of an advanced BMS platform. The Cork building uses Johnson Controls Metasys BMS and C-Cure Access Control systems. Built on open systems, they allow the integration of multiple systems and data streams. For example, to manage lights or access, the systems link to lighting systems and HR data via SAP. Data rules ensure that information relevant to staff, security, building administration as well as caterers gets to where it needs to go.

This is the future of security.

Financial institutions are already thinking beyond building management. In fact, some of this functionality is already being deployed locally by financial institutions. Security and convenience are important for banks in South Africa, especially in large headquarter facilities that are often located in busy, congested areas, with a huge number of people accessing the facilities daily.

As employee experience becomes more important and AI and IoT data becomes more ubiquitous, expect to see more functionality built into and onto these platforms.

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