Building Management Systems and more

Building management typically used to cover specific aspects of the management and efficiency of buildings overall.

The Building Management System (BMS) and the practice of building automation in the age of IP, the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced analytics and hyper-connectivity. An intelligent and integrated building management systems evolution and solution overview.

Yet, the building management systems market has been changing faster in recent years, with accelerating evolutions in intelligent and integrated building management systems as a result.

Today, we are amidst big changes once again and this time it’s highly transformational for the industry as the IoT (Internet of Things), advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and an increasing movement towards the edge (edge computing) and IP (Internet Protocol) are all essential drivers in an increasingly connected data age.

The BMS market is expected to reach USD 19.25 billion by 2023

The essence of these changes: hyper-connectivity for integrated building management systems whereby the increasing connected role of the building management system (BMS) makes it take center stage again. And it’s not just about the fact that various other systems are being connected to building management systems as we’ll see.

As mentioned the role of IP and IoT, as well as related technologies and ever more data, is essential in these evolutions and continues to change the market. Moreover, we’ve only started to begin seeing what IoT and technologies such as big data analytics and artificial intelligence mean and will mean for building management and BMS in an increasingly intelligent buildings environment and ongoing hyper-connectivity.

systems is function of evolutions in the expectations, needs and evolutions across all stakeholders in the larger equation of building management and buildings as such.

Building management systems: the center of the nervous system and brain of buildings

Whereas building management and BMS systems mainly used to look at the automation of building elements in the field of HVAC equipment, over the years they began to include lighting control, access control and so forth.

As the IT world entered the BMS space, the design of buildings became very much around network connectivity, yet as we’ll see that is changing.

Martin Feder puts it this way: “since more or less 2012 there is an increasing realization that the Building Management System is now actually the hub whereas before you could argue that it was the IT system that defined the criteria for the design of the building. Now, with among others the importance of energy, green building, the standards, the legislation and the many changes it’s become the BMS”.

And with the growing importance of energy, not in the least because of regulations, demand for eco-friendly buildings, and the role of energy, BMS systems in a way also moved back to their roots – as that’s what they originally were about, albeit a very long time ago. They arent’ about power management but increasingly connect with various systems, including energy. Martin describes how the BMS is taking center stage again as the hub of connectivity with other building systems.

Martin Feder: “The BMS has become the integration center of connectivity to other systems, including less obvious ones. It’s the integration center of connectivity to power, lighting, energy, lifts, and far more. You can even think about specfic systems in specific types of buildings such as acoustic systems in hospitals”.

Coming from a situation of proprietary standards, followed by rather slow technologies such as OPC (Open Protocol Connectivity), going hand in hand with developments on the level of networking technologies and IT as well as evolutions in building technologies, we can now speak about a genuine transformation in building management on various levels: the technologies, the disruptions in the market, the changes in customer expectations, the business models and the role of the BMS.

The evolving role of the BMS as the digital hub of the building connecting to other building systems with IoT and other technologies according to BMS EcoXpert Martin Feder.

Integrated and intelligent building management, leveraging new technologies, protocols and intelligent solutions is the name of the game in which the building management system is the center of the building’s nervous system and brain in which the IoT, data analytics, cloud and soon AI and cognitive systems will play an increasing role as control devices in rooms and spaces move to the IP level as Martin Feder puts it in the previously mentioned interview on building management and IoT. Where is the IoT? Pretty much everywhere and soon at the edge and in intelligent autonomous decisions with the BMS as a visualization hub as well.

The factors driving the Building Management System to be the integrated center of connectivity in building management

The advent of IP about a decade ago and, more or less recently, the rise of the IoT (and cloud, big data analytics and other third platform technology realities), had and will continue to have a tremendous impact on the evolutions in building management and BMS as mentioned.

With the evolutions in IoT, artificial intelligence and cognitive, analytics at the edge (edge computing, fog computing) and more, the face of building management continues to evolve and the BMS increasingly takes center stage in the bigger building picture, beyond the traditional scope of BMS and in its connecting with several other systems and building-related areas.

The growing integration of IoT with building automation systems is driving the growth of the BMS market based on software

In the interview about building management systems and IoT, Martin Feder explained how IP and IoT are leading the market towards an integrated approach whereby the BMS is becoming the digital hub of buildings.

With changing expectations from building owners, the regulatory challenges which Martin mentioned (with the example of the – new – Energy Performance and Building Directive or EPBD and Switzerland’s energy consumption taxation model) and the increasing focus on ecology with more attention for building certifications such as LEED, building management professionals are pushed to this integrated approach whereby the BMS has become the integration center of connectivity to other systems in all possible areas within the scope of the building (such as lighting, energy, lifts, you name it).

This is even more the case if we look at the distribution of intelligent technologies at the edge whereby the BMS becomes far more important. And it also forces building management professionals to look at the building overall, instead of only the BMS part as traditionally was the case.

It is exactly what is happening and what is taught in the BMS partner certification program of EcoXpert.

Intelligent technologies and hyper-connectivity: the distribution of intelligence and centralizing role of the BMS

The movement to IP and to IoT is far from finished. As Martin explained in the interview and as mentioned, there is an evolution towards autonomous decision making at the edge whereby field controllers and even small actuators are moving to the IP and IoT level at the edge.

The keywords here are obviously data and analytics in order to gain an end-to-end view and an increasing automation, autonomous decision making and gathering of insights and intelligence with the BMS as the hub in a far more holistic approach and IoT as a key driver.

So, while there is a decentralization as is typical in IoT with intelligence, analytics and the edge (you can again think fog computing and cognitive indeed), at the same time there is a centralization within the building management space whereby the BMS is the integration center of connectivity with it all and with several areas that are related to buildings but don’t fall under the traditional scope of building management as it used to be.

Evolutions in building management and building automation communications protocols

Traditional building automation communications protocols and standards which have moved to IP and thus enabled Internet connection, such as BACnet (BACnet/IP, BACnet/IPv6), LON (LON/IP) and KNX (KNX IP) have become almost global standards and one could even argue that BACnet/IP is almost the de facto standard Martin says, with many providers nowadays offering IP BACnet controllers.


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