Intelligent Infra to Be Reality Soon
Naresh Wadhwa, President and Country Manager, Cisco India
Imagine a person shutting down the lights and air-conditioning in office from his desk-phone while leaving the office, or travelling; imagine switching the lights on and playing music at home using a mobile handset. No longer science fiction, this is the promise of 'Intelligent buildings' and a reality in many parts of the world.
At a time when governments across the world are concerned over real estate and energy costs, connecting existing building systems to the IP network makes it possible to turn buildings -whether office space or homes- into intelligent buildings and thereby increasing efficiency as well as supporting sustainability. Intelligent buildings also bring about significant cost savings since they monitor real-time conditions and automatically adjust heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), and lighting.
Intelligent buildings provide living, learning and working spaces that are completely integrated and connected to preferred communication devices, allowing humans to 'talk' to their digital surroundings. A key feature that is driving acceptance for such concepts is the safety and security that they promise to all the occupants. Be it intrusion detection, fire safety, warnings regarding cooking gas leakage and water overflow, or safety of a child or pet, occupants can be alerted wherever they are through their compatible devices and connections and also through a centralized monitoring 'command & control' centre that oversees the safety and security of the entire property.
Interoperability of devices and networks ensures that critical real time data can be acted upon. Video surveillance, access control and asset management over the IP network can be used to drive more sophisticated and comprehensive physical security strategies. An open standards-based IP building infrastructure features embedded technologies that guarantee quality of service and high levels of security and resilience. In the case of multiple properties, it enables the entire property portfolio to be run from a single location, saving costs and enabling standardization of excellence across the group.
Within intelligent infrastructures building systems (HVAC, lighting, smoke and fire, security access controls, and so on) are not isolated on their own networks. Facilities personnel need not use different management console for systems, enabling easy detection of failing equipment or the one consuming more energy. This helps to acquire LEED certification to indicate that a building is 'green,' thereby increasing its sale value.
Savings in terms of costs and energy that is obtained by connecting buildings to an IP network can be invested for other high-priority government programs like clean energy, healthcare, and education. As we move from an era of mere brick and mortar structures to a smarter connected world, the key to success lies in the provision of better services to residents and tenants. The more the amount of future-proofing that goes into the planning stage, the better relevance that the services will have to the occupants.
With a rising demand for urban spaces, and the growing need for people to stay connected, it is only natural that the physical and digital worlds meet. The ability to convert living spaces into intelligent ones brings about a paradigm shift to building management and energy usage, fostering the development of a cleaner, greener world.