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The Evolution of Intelligent Buildings

Author:QINSUN Released in:2023-12 Click:103

In the past few decades, micro electronic devices and network communication have changed people's way of life, work, and entertainment. Nowadays, the development of the digital connected world has entered a new stage: the shift towards intelligent buildings.

Intelligent buildings are more comfortable and intuitive for residents. At the same time, its impact on the environment is much smaller. This has brought significant benefits to suppliers of construction equipment and management systems; Real estate developers, owners, and property managers; Workers and other users of commercial and public places; And the communities formed by these structures. Developers and architects recognize that smart buildings create better value, owners and managers achieve lifelong savings in operating costs, and residents benefit from better living and working environments.

Intelligent buildings are non residential and high-density residential development spaces, such as offices, shopping centers, restaurants, entertainment centers, and apartment complexes, equipped with sensor technology to collect data, analyze operational information, and even control the use of resources. Various sensor technologies can be used to provide data to building information management systems, enabling them to monitor and control various fields such as lighting and HVAC based on environmental conditions and user-defined parameters.

Intelligent buildings can also be immune to network attacks targeting their operating systems. Security components are implemented using hardware based embedded security solutions, which can protect the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of information and devices, thereby protecting the personal privacy of residents.

The demand for intelligent buildings

The changes in population structure, market dynamics, and technological progress are the fundamental reasons driving the development of intelligent buildings. This century will witness the sustained and rapid growth of urbanization. According to the United Nations, by 2050, 68% of the world's population will reside in cities. For example, in EU countries, workplaces, public facilities, and high-density housing already account for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of carbon dioxide emissions. If building efficiency is not improved, it is impossible to achieve the goals of reducing energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. This demand for higher efficiency, combined with the advancement of Industry 4.0 and smart home technology, has driven the development of smart buildings.

The trend chart of architecture - population changes, market dynamics, and technological progress driving the development of intelligent buildings

More efficient construction operations mean lower operating costs. Although there are many strategies to reduce energy use, including passive design elements and alternative energy sources, smart building technology can be the key to ensuring that all elements of structural design and functional systems are used to the maximum efficiency, creating up to 30% energy efficiency while improving comfort, convenience, and safety for all residents.

The construction manager considers property operations in four traditional fields; Mechanical systems, electrical systems, energy supply and infrastructure, and pipelines.

In each of these fields, sensor technology can collect and provide data for analysis, which can then be taken action by management systems. By connecting sensors within and ultimately across domains, managers and even the system itself may gain more comprehensive insights and make decisions to optimize operations.

Intelligent Building Ground Floor Technology

The combination of connection and control systems with various types of sensor devices constitutes the fundamental technology of intelligent buildings. These sensors are key elements of current and future systems, providing input on indoor environments.

Here are some examples:

Radar sensors can determine the number of residents in an area and even recognize gestures without using privacy damaging visual cameras

High resolution infrared time of flight (ToF) sensor for 3D object detection and facial verification.

Pressure sensors determine the airflow in HVAC equipment or rooms

Environmental sensors monitor air quality, such as carbon dioxide levels

Micro MEMS microphones support voice control of room functions, and the same type of microphone array allows for directional tracking of personnel in the room and detection of presence in the room. Current sensors monitor power usage in building equipment such as motor drivers, elevators, HVAC devices.

Magnetic positioning sensors can accurately control the motor drive in the blinds

A smart sensor hub that supports sensor fusion (integration of multiple sensor types and corresponding data streams) will improve the security and convenience of smart buildings. For example, an integrated alarm system that combines microphones and pressure sensors can more accurately detect glass damage based on changes in sound and indoor air pressure, thereby reducing the possibility of false alarms.

Sensors in smart buildings are also the foundation of rapidly growing room automation systems. For example, radar sensors can detect someone entering a room and issue a series of commands to automatically turn on the lights and adjust the temperature to a comfortable level. As the number of guests changes, temperature adjustments can be made before the room heats up, and vice versa. Using environmental information about external lighting, lamps can adjust the lighting level by changing the current provided to the LED.

The sensor hub that monitors the condition of the system inside the building outside the view of the occupants improves comfort and resident satisfaction by helping to prevent malfunctions. The equipment integrated into elevators and HVAC devices can collect parameter data that reflects the operating status, detect deviations from the optimal state, and predict faults before they occur for timely maintenance. Examples of predictive maintenance applications include using pressure sensors to monitor airflow in HVAC equipment, using current sensors to measure current in motor drivers, using magnetic positioning sensors for vibration monitoring, and using MEMS microphones to detect sound anomalies.

In addition to sensors, Infineon also provides equipment manufacturers with critical components for systems that process sensor data. Power integrated circuits are an indispensable part of motor control, metering, and switching systems, and even lighting fixtures. The key elements connecting built-in systems, the internet, and the new 5G mobile network, as well as the powerful microcontroller that serves as the computing "brain" for thousands of devices, are all part of the company's product portfolio. Finally, hardware and security integrated circuits are used for authentication before devices are allowed to access other parts of the building management system, which is a key factor in designing a security system that is immune to network attacks.

How intelligent buildings respond to challenges

The overall market for connected devices in smart buildings is expected to experience rapid development, mainly in the field of energy infrastructure. As ecosystems that support building automation systems gain experience in specific use cases and develop expertise that integrates across multiple domains, this situation may accelerate in the coming years.

Although we see single domain applications controlled by the Building Management System (BMS) platform today, the future is moving towards integrating information flows from multiple systems and more comprehensive commands.

Like other industries that have already or are transitioning towards digital automation, the value chain being built today involves core technology suppliers, equipment manufacturers, integrators, and multiple levels of software experts, construction industry participants, as well as network computing and cloud service providers. Network providers, whether traditional services or cloud architecture experts, will offload the heavy data processing work of new systems. The existing partnerships between suppliers will grow, and many new partnerships will be established, which provide a certain degree of standardization and best utilize the unique capabilities of expert suppliers.

In many ways, the development of smart buildings today reflects the early development of industrial buildings (Industry 4.0) and smart homes. In a rapidly urbanizing world, it is evident that there is a huge opportunity to achieve system automation in a way that meets the demand for improving energy efficiency. At the same time, these automation systems reduce the overall cost of building operations and increase the convenience and comfort of residents. Similarly, like automation in other construction fields, successful projects will rely on methods that drive cross domain integration while meeting higher network security standards.