Smart Building Innovations to Look for in 2019

As the market for smart buildings grows, so too do the opportunities for savings – around 50% of unplanned outages are eliminated, while about 25% of maintenance costs are reduced with a smart building as compared with an aging commercial building.


What’s more, the technology and automation that help drive a smart building create opportunities for new revenue streams and business models, making the role of Facility Manager more important than ever before. Smart buildings are certainly the path into the future for commercial buildings, but how is the market shaping up for 2019?

Improved Design of Smart Spaces

This year is expected to hold a lot of experimentation in the area of designing the perfect smart space. While the workforce and their preferred work styles evolve and change – and not just between generations – work spaces need an update as well.

Smart spaces of this year and beyond will focus on facilitating the new normal of work that’s done remotely, supported and/or enabled by digital means, and more flexible. Adaptability and versatility will be key areas of design for smart spaces, but building owners and facility managers need to pinpoint what works for a wide variety of tenants, including those who are not tech-savvy.

Most importantly, facility managers need spaces that provide them with greater visibility into their building’s operations, so that they have as much data and information as possible to make decisions and monitor what’s happening. With this data and automated alert systems, FMs can more accurately prevent or address equipment failures and system outages, respond more quickly to emergency events and minimize costs with automation.

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IoT Platforms Must Demonstrate Real Value

The Internet of Things (IoT) and IoT-based platforms are undergoing a period of waning interest as many technological implementations have failed to deliver the expected results. In 2019 and on into the following few years, we will all be focusing our attention on the data and results from IoT platforms and applications.

There are four key areas of need with IoT platforms, according to Harbor Research:

  1. A fully configurable software platform architecture that enables both peer-to-peer and client-to-server distribution of services;
  2. A platform that can simultaneously and asynchronously act on any type of information from any device, storage or streaming source;
  3. A platform that can enable real-time temporal, spatial and state-based contextual processing; and,
  4. A platform that provides tools for development of real-time, stateful applications.

[ Related: Understanding satellite internet: Setting up your home network ]

Smart Buildings Trigger Smarter Cities

Smart building projects have been making significant advances toward interconnecting with the cities around them, in recent years. For example, digitally-powered sensors are often used to connect smart buildings with existing city infrastructure. This progress must continue in 2019 and the years that follow to keep the traction that smart cities have had.

By connecting data and information from inside the built environment with city infrastructure and systems, case studies and analysis can be used to drive improvement in areas such as sustainability and even public safety.

The key to interconnectivity between building and city is commonality and/or compatibility. Success depends on common data standards, common or compatible access models, and compatible infrastructure. Once integrated, we can begin to see the benefits of smarter cities with regard to ways to improve city safety, for example, by alerting and updating first-res ponders in the case of building fires, medical emergencies, security lockdowns, etc.

Regardless of the innovations in smart buildings this year, success should be measured based on the intent of technological advances – which is to improve lives and outcomes – instead of the features and capabilities.