The Constantly Evolving Smart Building

Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal

—Albert Einstein

The smartest parts of a building, its systems and materials, are driven by innovation and technology. They may have focus on long term building operations and performance, but, some are simply major game changers. Inventions such as elevators, construction cranes, and power tools are examples of equipment that changed the way buildings are designed and constructed. While electricity is not a human invention, the commercialization of electricity and its use in buildings was a milestone. One of the latest game changers has to be Building Information Modeling (BIM); designing, fabricating, implementing and managing construction in multiple dimensions.

The backdrop for buildings and related automation is now tied to the innovative information and communications technology for building systems, building design, construction, operations and building occupants. Many astute building owners embrace technology and innovation. However, it can be a challenge and uncomfortable for some building owners, architects, engineers, and facility managers to innovate and change. It's always easier to keep doing what you've been doing than to put forth the effort to do something different. Some may choose not to innovate based on the rationale that they can mitigate risk. Nevertheless the smart designers and engineers will examine innovations, assess risk, and gauge the ultimate value for building owners, as well as include new ideas, systems and products in discussions of a project concept.

The broader environment for smart buildings is related to: (a) the habituation of the global society to communications and information technology, and (b) the emergence and convergence of three related markets: smart buildings, smart cities, and the Internet of Things.

The morphing of these different markets has happened very quickly and almost without any measured intent of the building, city, and IoT industries. What's driving the transformation is the commonality among the three markets. Each of these entities are pushing the envelope to advance the experience and performance for building occupants, citizens and individuals, using technology as the enabler. The tools being utilized to provide that experience are similar. They include system integration, the acquisition and management of data, the analysis of data, the creation of new software applications, the development of performance metrics, and the visualization of the data tailored to the entity or individual consuming the data.

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