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What is Smart Building Technology?

What is Smart Building Technology?
What is Smart Building Technology?

Tomorrow’s World…Has Arrived

If you’ve seen Minority ReportIron Man or any of the Matrix films, you’ll have experienced scenes of mind-boggling technological creativity.

Awe-inspiring, of course, but just fiction, you may think. None of this is real-life stuff. Not something we’d start using, anyway.

Well, we may need to re-evaluate our expectations.

In many respects, tomorrow’s impressive technology is here today. Or at least some of it is. And, in its drive to streamline and enhance our lives, it’s getting better and more ubiquitous. Don’t lag behind the curve. It makes sense to understand what it is – particularly smart building technology, how it works, and what benefits it can bring.

It’s a fascinating subject we think you should know about. We don’t speak technical, so this jargon-free article explains what it means. Also, it has potential relevance to you as a landlord, property manager or construction site owner.


Future Proof Your Assets

As a specialist business in vacant commercial property security, Clearway offers a range of expertise in services that meet smart technology criteria. Specifically, these are:

Later on, we’ll clarify these, but first – let’s get down to the basics.

What is Smart Building Technology?

Smart Building Technology is a network of intelligent systems and automated processes that work together to improve the use of a building.

In other words, a smart building uses automation for efficiency. Properties with this technology also have analytical tools to predict the needs of the structure or those in it, based on previous monitoring outcomes. In addition, smart systems can observe and check various elements within the property and flag the need for repairs or maintenance.

This intelligence has, in part, been developed by our growing dependency on data, connectivity and smartphones. And, due to our increased use of the Internet of Things (IoT) – a rather quaint description, we feel, for something so contemporary:

Simply put, the IoT is a grouped network of connected devices. This technology enables communication between them (and they may have sensors and processing ability) and the cloud and between the devices themselves.

Smart building technology may also use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Innovative Technology for More Secure Commercial Properties.

The key to its functionality? It’s integration. Convergence, if you like.

Generally, control systems, alarms, lighting, CCTV and sensors are the core systems in an unoccupied property. They can be linked together to learn each others’ behaviour. Then, improve how they detect intrusions – or whether there’s something odd going on.

What does this mean for you?

Simply, that smart security can be proactive. It uses its intelligence to collect data that you can act on. A simple example could be an access control system and a CCTV camera: access control enables authorised entry, and then a security camera checks for any tailgaters following close behind and if detected, raises the alarm.

What Clearway Offers

Energy and Utilities Management

At the risk of stating the obvious, in recent times, energy bills for homes and businesses have soared.

Should you decide to maintain a low usage of utilities in an empty property between tenant occupancy, perhaps to avoid pipes bursting, you’ll want to make everything as efficient as possible. And thus save money.

Working with Carbonxgen, a leading independent energy and technical consultancy, Clearway offers you the peace of mind of knowing you’re always running on the best utility rates – across your whole property portfolio.

We provide energy and utility expertise as part of our offering, a professional property management service to make your life easier. Clearway will, amongst other things, keep you up to speed with legislation, collect rent on your behalf, and carry out any necessary maintenance and repairs.

MEES and EPC Management

We’re all aiming for a greener world and a more efficient use of resources.

Clearway can assess your commercial property to ensure it meets the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) legislation requirements. Also, the recommended levels for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). 

Clearway EPC management

As well as a complete survey, we also offer a fully costed programme of works to ensure that the property remains compliant. While stringent EPC legislation has been delayed for now, we think it will still happen soon. So, it’s well worth acting now; controlling energy costs through utility efficiencies will make your vacant building all the more attractive to potential commercial tenants.

4D Monitoring

If you’re involved in managing an empty property, 4D Monitoring could be an incredible weapon in your sustainability strategy armoury. In brief, it delivers smart building technology monitoring and gathers intuitive data on energy use and performance. In fact, 4D Monitoring offers many clever insights.

Clearway 4D monitoring

And, you can respond to it immediately.

There’s no need to wait for a Building Management System Consultant to interrogate data or for a planned maintenance visit to tell you what you need to know. As a portfolio owner, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about improvements in energy efficiency.

Plus, you can retrofit it, so there are no significant disruptions to the property.

Intelligent Water System Monitoring

Water can seriously damage a vacant property or pose a health risk.

Clearway has collaborated with Neptune Water Safety, leading water safety experts who have developed an exceptionally high-standard water monitoring solution.

Clearway intelligent water system monitoring

It provides water quality and intelligence, calculating risk based on sensor measurements for real-time examination. The system offers a full range of temperature-based notifications, including bacterial, freeze, and scald risks. Plus, it raises alerts if risk conditions are detected.

This super-sharp technology uses current and historic sensor measurements to create algorithms, delivering a risk score for each asset. It uses what it already knows to provide the information you need.

There’s API integration, too. This means that the data that Neptune captures can be downloaded to your facilities software and building management solutions for super-clever analysis and reports.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Yes, it’s in the news.

And, yes, it could change the world even more than it already has. For unoccupied sites and properties, AI can transform how property managers control, monitor and safeguard the buildings in their care. All of the following elements could be united in a combined security network, helping security staff to respond faster and deal with a tricky situation before it escalates.

Robust physical security could include measures such as:

Human detection. Very Mission Impossible, but you get the idea: virtual tripwires can let security staff know there is movement and/or entry where there shouldn’t be.

Facial recognition cameras permit only authorised personnel whose details are already digitally stored. This measure stops those with nefarious intent in their tracks: they’re not on the list, they’re not coming in.

Database sweeps. CCTV surveillance databases have memories. Or rather, they can have, courtesy of running sweeps to find previous events, count occurrences of specific events or map the movement patterns of an individual or vehicle.

Noise change detection. Advanced systems can notice unusual activity due to changes in noise levels, glass breaking or the presence of gas, smoke or water.

Key Takeaways and What We Think

In Clearway’s opinion, smart building technology is the future.

To be fair, it can’t not be, otherwise, progress halts, and we move backwards. This type of development offers incredibly usable information with genuinely actionable insights that could save time and money. Equally, better, more robust protection for valuable assets such as unoccupied properties.

Let’s keep the conversation going. With rapid technical advances should come a degree of caution while we evaluate all the risks before leaping in. However, consider automation in this scenario:

A break-in is detected. Lights come on instantly in that area, and access control blocks the intruders’ escape route. The system informs the monitoring station which informs the emergency services, who then spring into action. 

Not a bad result. Would you like your security protocols to look like this?

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