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Why You Should Put Building Services and IT on One Converged Network Infrastructure?

The network infrastructure should be considered our 4th Utility. We readily apply consistent design principles to electricity, water and gas infrastructure and naturally assume this is a shared resource for the entire building. 

Traditional methods that architects and engineers use for designing building services are becoming antiquated. Converging these building services over a common platform should not be see as a risk, but instead as a common resource for the entire building to utilise.

Intelligent facilities are expected to be energy efficient and future proof.  They are also expected to provide a positive return on investment, and a lower cost of ownership. These are tall orders, that can even seem at odds. There are many challenging factors that now undermine the usefulness of traditional practices for planning, designing, constructing and commissioning a ‘non’ Smart Building.

The question now is Why NOT design smart building infrastructure?

Building services such as lighting, heating, air conditioning and other facility controls now often use the same network infrastructure as telecommunication networks (internet, telephony, etc.). This converged IT/building management infrastructure reduces equipment and labour costs as well as allowing a scalable technology offering for buildings.

So why is it not common place? well it requires a new way of thinking throughout the network infrastructure design and implementation life-cycle. Designing disparate systems for facility management and telecommunications complicates the implementation of building services, which unnecessarily increases material and labour costs while also hindering the ability of the performance of the building, and ultimately the user experience.

IP-based building services data [HAVC, IP Intercom, IP CCTV, Smart Metering, etc] requires the same robust network infrastructure solution as the intranet/internet services inside a building. Planning and designing the converged infrastructure lays a solid foundation for the building to make the best use of sensory networks, and Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives making the building truly intelligent.

Using a converged physical layer infrastructure solves a lot of the problems. It simplifies the commissioning, operation and maintenance of IoT and bring your own device (BYOD) system models. Converged infrastructure also reduces the complexity of physical cabling, the cost of materials, labour and future modifications, and provides a higher return on investment.

A Smart Building requires the integration of building services and IT design strategies early in the project stages and throughout implementation.

Are you designing buildings for yesterday? Or are we designing buildings for tomorrow based on real world applications we have today…