Verdantix: Solution providers step up IT security in smart buildings


One of the biggest barriers to growth in remotely accessing building management systems (BMS) – one of the key features of a smart building – is IT security.

The IT industry has established a sophisticated process for monitoring and protecting IT networks, but these concepts are not as well developed in building systems and many of the equipment that make up the Internet of Things (IoT). Additionally, there is often lack of communication and collaboration between the IT department and the facilities department. There is also increasing pressure on service providers to provide an out-of-the-box security solution.

Smart buildings are particularly vulnerable as every added connected device is another potential door into the building’s wider network. Even one of the most high-tech companies in the world, Google, was hit by a cyberattack in 2013 through a building management system. Retailer, Target was hacked through the HVAC system in 2014. This year, we have seen severe ransomware cyberattacks, such as the WannaCry ransomware attack that affected computers in over 150 countries.

This type of attack now feels very regular with a similar one occurring as we write. Individual buildings such as hotels have also been targeted and hacked through building automation systems (BAS) – witness the attack on a luxury hotel in the Austrian Alps in February, where the card system got breached, shut down, and a ransom demanded to restore the system to enable guests back into their rooms…

To learn more about the market for remote monitoring solutions see our recent report – Now Is The Time To Implement Remote Monitoring Solutions.

[Admin: To see other related posts, use the Smart Buildings tag or Vulnerability tag.]

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FM:Systems: Integrating IoT-based sensors for real-time utilization


I’ve been closely watching the evolution of the modern office over the past several years as many organizations embrace alternative workplace strategies. This has been particularly driven by the ability of employees to work anytime and anywhere due to really incredible mobile technologies. While this has offered new and incredibly efficient ways to work, it’s also provided companies and institutions alike with new possibilities for better utilization of space. But it also has created some unique challenges when an organization asks itself, “How well are we using our space when our employees rarely sit in the same space day-to-day?”

Real-time Space Utilization Analysis

The answer is newly emerging Internet of Things (IoT) based sensor technologies that include a range of techniques such as heat sensing, vibration sensing, triangulation and 3D stereoscopic people sensing cameras. FM:Systems has formed a partnership with CoWorkr for instance…

3D Stereoscopic People Sensing

A second technology that I am very excited about which we just integrated and introduced at our annual User Conference is 3D stereoscopic cameras that perform people counting in and out of specific areas that have delineated on your floor plans! We’ve integrated the Hella APS-90 and 180 cameras

[Admin: This post is related to the 08.20.15 post about creating a connected 11-storey building in 4 hours. To see other related posts, use the FM:Systems tag.]

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Serraview: High-tech occupancy sensors for agile space planning


The following is a guest blog written by Itamar Roth, CBO at PointGrab.

Agile workplaces are a smart strategy for solving a number of pressing corporate problems: reining in mounting property costs by optimizing space, supporting workforce mobility, and attracting and retaining talent.

However, planning and managing these flexible environments is challenging because of the nature of agile spaces: people are constantly moving around and occupancy shifts from day to day, even hour to hour… Innovative occupants’ activity sensors can provide up-to-the-minute intelligence about space utilization that’s needed to plan and manage modern workplaces… Today, intelligent Internet of Things (IoT) sensor technology can be used to help lower expenses and design workplaces that provide the optimal employee experience.

Here are some of the latest advancements in commercial occupancy sensors and how they overcome some of these challenges.

  • Horizontal sensing vs. traditional commercial occupancy sensors…
  • Image sensing and AI improves ability to count people…
  • Edge analytics technology protects occupants’ privacy…
  • Extending range and reducing maintenance…
  • Demand-controlled ventilation reduces energy use…
  • Daylight harvesting provides smarter lighting control…

[Admin: To see other related posts, use the Serraview tag.]

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Smart buildings success includes dashboards and data analytics


The past few years have seen a surge of products and options that facility managers can use to examine, analyze, predict, and improve building performance and reduce energy costs. But connecting the dots in an increasingly complex web — the Building Internet of Things — often takes serious consideration, practical attention to budgets, and resolute effort.

Many organizations currently collect data, but want to use that data more effectively. This is the case for Texas Christian University. The university does a lot of data collection and monitoring but not a lot of data analytics, reports Chris Honkomp, assistant vice chancellor for facilities. “We have that on our list of issues to address in the next year, but are focused on installation of a new maintenance management system right now, and will address analytics as a part of this process.”

Many organizations have been collecting data for years, but as prices on the software that aggregates and trends these information points comes down, more facility managers are buying into data analytics of one sort or another. Just how far any specific organization has gone depends on a range of factors, including expertise, staffing levels, available data, time, and of course budget. A look at three facility organizations shows the range of current practices and challenges…

[Admin: To see other related posts, use the Smart Buildings tag.]

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FM trends in high-performance buildings and workplaces (HPB+W)


The annual High-Performance Buildings + Workplaces (HPB+W) conference takes place at the Arlington (Texas) Convention Center, May 17-18. Registration is free!

Greg Zimmerman brings more than 13 years of experience and knowledge to the facility management field. He discusses the changes and trends he’s seen in the quickly evolving occupation. With technology rapidly influencing the profession, facility managers can expect to see the effect in their everyday jobs and the overall performance of their buildings.

What misconceptions do people have about smart, sustainable buildings?

A common misconception I hear is high-performance buildings or smart buildings must be super expensive and complex. That’s simply not true. Even small buildings that are easier to operate can be smart, high-performance, and sustainable. Most buildings in the United States are smaller, so we can really start making a dent…

What excites you about the future of the facilities business?

The rate at which high-performance building technology is being implemented is really encouraging. The Internet of Things, IoT, is one example. We have adopted IoT technology in our personal lives, and now we’re doing that in our professional lives. People have been using smart phones to remotely control things…

What advice would you give to facility managers just starting out?

One thing to focus on is learning about what’s going to be important in the future. The biggest topic in facility management right now is high-performance buildings and sustainability. Technology is second nature to young professionals just coming in. Understand and learn the technology. Be the “go to” person for your building…

What do people need to know about HPB+W?

This is really the only show of its kind, covering such a wide range of topics. It concentrates on energy and water efficiency, air quality, IoT, technology; all falling under the umbrella of high-performance buildings. This is our third year of the show and we are really hitting our stride…

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Verdantix: IWMS vendors partner up to tap latest space innovations


Over the past six months, vendors offering space management solutions have enjoyed a flurry of strategic partnerships and acquisitions. Many of the notable partnerships have been led by integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) suppliers looking to deepen their capabilities in space planning and take advantage of emerging IoT-led technologies for occupancy tracking.

Witness Accruent partnering with Serraview in February 2017, FSI’s partnership with Excitech in December 2016 and FM:Systems’ partnership with CoWorkr in October 2016. IBM is also in a long-standing partnership with IoT start-up Yanzi Networks, a provider of building sensors, to collect detailed data on space utilization and variables that impact well-being.

Given that space management has long been at the heart of IWMS propositions, what is driving all this activity? One factor is the availability of better occupancy data from emerging sensors and beacons enabling a new wave of IoT-led space management solutions to take off.

In addition, increasingly mobile workforces and more flexible desk assignments are creating customer demand for new types of management tools. Partnerships are one way for IWMS vendors to quickly take advantage of emerging technologies across areas such as real-time wayfinding, real-time space analysis and improve visualization analytics. These were factors underlying the Accruent and Serraview partnership…

[Admin: This post is related to the 03.03.17 post about the Serraview and Accruent partnership, and the 08.01.16 post about the competitors of IBM TRIRIGA.]

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PhotonStar to show new building management systems in Las Vegas


British designer and manufacturer of intelligent lighting and building control solutions, PhotonStar LED Group, announced on Monday that it was participating in the IBM InterConnect 2017 Cloud & Mobile Conference, between 19 and 23 March in Las Vegas. The AIM-traded firm also announced the commercial availability of the halcyon cloudBMS product from 1 April.

At IBM Interconnect 2017, the company said it would be presenting a talk outlining the key features of cloudBMS, a new cloud based solution that it said delivered an Internet of Things-based “building management system as a service” (BMSaaS). It said the new solution was built on the second generation of its low-cost retrofittable wireless monitoring and control platform, halcyonPRO2.

The new halcyonPRO2 added regulation of heating and cooling, shading and power management to the lighting control and environmental sensor network already in use in the first halcyon product. The cloudBMS, halcyonPRO2 and cloud-based analytics were combined to deliver a capable, scalable and secure “building management system as a service” (BMSaaS) solution, PhotonStar’s board explained, at a price point that would enable owners of small-to-medium-sized businesses to reduce energy and operating costs and realise new insights into their operations.

One of the key features of cloudBMS was the sharing of device data with asset management software packages such as IBM asset management packages TRIRIGA and Maximo, it added…

[Admin: This post is related to the 06.08.16 post about PhotonStar and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, also known as the Internet of Things (IoT).]

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