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Building management systems are getting smarter, but how?

Paul Meikle
Honeywell EBI global offering leader Paul Meikle

The humble building management system (BMS) has come a long way and is now giving better control and oversight over buildings and property portfolios than ever before.

Technology company Honeywell has been offering BMS technologies for about 20 years. According to Honeywell’s EBI global offering leader Paul Meikle, the company’s technology has come a long way in that time in its ability to connect, monitor and manage core building functions, including its mechanical, HVAC, and electrical systems.

The company has just launched its latest upgrades to its Forge for Buildings Internet of Things platform, which aims to better mesh building operations with a building’s IT systems.

A building’s various IT systems have traditionally operated in isolation but now building operators can see operational data from assets, processes and third-party applications all in one platform.

Mr Meikle said it’s a bit like connecting up Microsoft applications such as Word and Excel so that a user can toggle between them and the data is already there, and there’s no need to copy-paste.

This is important, Mr Meikle said, because it gives the building operator more comprehensive oversight and control over what’s happening, leading to better decision making. If there’s a security incident, for example, it’s easier to manage the fall out when everything is well documented, such as what doors were shut off and where people were evacuated.

The company’s building IoT platform is open – meaning it can integrate with numerous third-party systems and equipment as well as cloud and mobile applications rather than locking users into a single ecosystem.

Another change in the past few years is the visual side of BMS. Once, navigating a BMS was like using PowerPoint, with information locked into each slide. Now, users navigate the interface as a map where they can zoom in and out and navigate the building site in the same way someone might use Google Maps.

There’s also a software layer that can sit over the top of an entire portfolio worth of buildings so that a CEO can see how an entire portfolio is performing on energy efficiency, cyber control and other indicators.

“For buildings to be smarter, more efficient and effective, an operating system must be in place that works to constantly improve resource management,” Mark Verheyden, president, Honeywell building solutions said.

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