Intergrating Smart Building Technologies into your IT

Integrating Smart Building Technologies into Your IT

If your business is moving premises, or it’s fitting new building management equipment, there’s a chance you could be asked integrate ‘non-traditional’ technology into your IT infrastructure. You may already be in conversations with the building’s lighting, heating, or security contractors trying to access your corporate network.

So, what’s going on here and why are building services engineers asking to use your corporate network?  Moreover, what should you do? 

Smart Buildings Using Your IP Network

The reason you are getting these requests is because of a recent change in how buildings are managed and operated. For years, the systems that control a building’s services, such as heating, lighting and security, have been getting smarter. These services have been able to react to their environment; for example, identifying when rooms are unoccupied and turning off lighting and heating. The next step of this journey is converging these services’ discrete networks onto a single IP network, making it easier to manage the building from a single IT system.

Electrical unit

What are Smart Buildings?

A smart building is a building that is equipped with advanced technology to optimise its performance, improve the comfort and productivity of its occupants. This technology can include things like building automation systems for HVAC and lighting, energy management systems, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Smart buildings often have advanced security systems, such as biometric access control, and are designed to be more energy efficient and sustainable.

Break out rooms

New Protocols and Risks

Alarm bells should ring if you’re asked to add unfamiliar devices onto your network. Often, this equipment doesn’t use IP natively. Instead, it uses building automation communications protocols including DALI and KNX for lighting, Modbus or BACnet for heating and ventilation.

These building management protocols demand different things from your network. The shape and nature of the traffic can differ wildly from traditional corporate data. If incorporated poorly, can have a devastating effect on your network.

building management systems - Hydra

Seek Expert Advice

We’ve seen many smart building projects stumble when integrating over a corporate IP network. Often, IT managers assume that building services engineers will understand everyday networking concepts, such as subnets and VLANs. Building services engineers may not have any consideration for corporate data or how their device’s protocols, many of which use multicast greatly, could affect your traffic.

Essentially, the best way to resolve this is to seek advice from someone who has both extensive networking and modern building services knowledge. They should be able to help you:

  • Keep your organisation’s data safe and secure
  • Maintain the optimal operation of your network
  • Work with building services contractors, to ensure your network works for them too
Engineer working on electrical unit

We Can Help

We’ve got years of experience in helping IT teams integrate smart building technologies into their network. The beauty of working with Abtec is that you get the combined skills, expertise and experience of a leading IT network specialist and building services business. Our highly skilled and accredited network engineers are working on building management projects every day.

Call our team on 01858 438 500 to find out how we can support your project.

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