The building industry is experiencing unprecedented disruption due to a variety of trends, including the pandemic, ongoing technological transformation market pressures, and evolving occupant expectations and needs. Yet discussions in the trade media and even among industry professionals often seem more focused on what the building of tomorrow might be like, rather than examining how current innovations like the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, data analytics technologies, next-gen building management systems (BMS), amongst others – are actively creating sustainable structures and customer-centric spaces today.
A recent project ATAL Engineering undertook to design and commission a state-of-the-art building management system upgrade for a premier convention and exhibition facility in Hong Kong is an excellent example of what a strategic investment in smart building technologies can achieve. Because a convention center is dynamic by nature, site personnel must respond swiftly to changing situations on the ground, while also overseeing multiple facilities and venues simultaneously. Moreover, management wanted more centralized control of real-time monitoring, plus the ability to measure, evaluate, and optimize building performance — all in aid of creating a more people-centric setting by moving to a BMS that can serve the needs of visitors, as well as facility management. Ultimately, our efforts to create a smarter, more resilient facility, one that can be operated with greater efficiency, and with the right digital infrastructure to support the customer’s future growth strategy appears on track to deliver as promised.
A high impact retrofit that leverages the most advanced digital technology
Using our background as a Schneider Electric Master-level BMS EcoXpert, and with help from Schneider Electric EcoStruxure Building Operation plus controllers and expertise, ATAL Engineering commissioned a next-gen, customized BMS with integrated IoT applications, plus wireless network infrastructure and hundreds of sensors to monitor the grand hall, exhibition areas, and public hallways. Features and capabilities of the installation include:
- Wireless sensors designed to reduce implementation and maintenance costs are connected to the central BMS via a LoRa WAN gateway for transmitting real-time data on water leakage, temperature, humidity, and indoor air quality.
- A cloud-based platform offering end-user data access and real-time condition monitoring for multiple venues, in addition to intelligence for auditing, analyzing, and reporting actionable insights to personnel and stakeholders.
- An integrated preventative maintenance system designed to increase flexibility and trim costs by reducing equipment failures and simplifying servicing operations. Automatic maintenance schedule generation, while digitizing paper documents into an easily searchable database.
- Enhanced energy management capabilities leverage big data analytics, provide automated fault detection and diagnosis, and compile the energy performance data of equipment to enable easier identification of effective energy-saving opportunities.
Enhancing building management system efficiency and performance, while reimagining the visitor experience
The advanced technologies used in the center’s BMS upgrade have changed how the facility operates and manages risk by automatically bringing insight from every aspect of the operation, predicting problems, saving valuable manpower, and streamlining business workflow. It also helps reduce operating costs and adds value to the facility through enhanced energy efficiency, enabled through automated and continuous real-time HVAC equipment monitoring. With their new, fully automatic, IoT equipped platform, the convention center can also redeploy manpower resources to higher-value jobs, as repetitive manual tasks are now greatly reduced.
Visitors also benefit, as facility staff can remotely monitor a variety of air quality characteristics in response to changing crowd density, ensuring optimal ventilation, thermal comfort, and humidity levels. Best of all, the system’s intelligence, paired with its open architecture IoT platform means it is scalable and adaptable as the center’s needs evolve.
Implement an integrated, automated building management system to create a more intelligent building
ATAL Engineering’s background with cutting-edge smart building technology was among the reasons we were selected for this ground-breaking project. As the region’s first IoT network to be interfaced with a BMS, this blueprint demonstrates how the innovative application of current tools and know-how can deliver immediate results, while also positioning organizations on a path to benefit from emerging digital technologies.
Despite what its name might suggest, that’s precisely the philosophy behind Schneider Electric’s Buildings of the Future, which represents more than an effort to accelerate the implementation of next-gen building automation technologies. It also strives to help owners and managers get more out of the resources and systems available to them today, while also helping future proof their properties with digitally connected, open solutions that are adaptable for future needs. It is a philosophy ATAL Engineering shares, and one of the many reasons clients trust our end-to-end building management systems (BMS) and services to deliver enduring return on investment.
What readers can take away from the convention center’s experience is that ensuring a building is future-ready isn’t so much about predicting which features and capabilities the BMS of tomorrow may have. It is more about knowing that, with the right design approach and the deployment of new digital technologies, organizations can future-proof their facilities by making them more energy-efficient, safe and reliable, and occupant-centric today.
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EcoXperts are the Enablers of Buildings of the Future
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Buildings of the Future is about delivering solutions for the sustainable, resilient, hyper-efficient, and people-centric buildings that our customers need. For our EcoXpert partners, this unveils immense growth opportunities through the transition to end-to-end portfolio sales that will resolve our customers’ most critical needs. For our shared customers, this means that together with our EcoXpert partners, we will drive the building industry transformation and help our customers survive and thrive today – and tomorrow.
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