What is the Internet of Things?The Internet of Things (IoT) is a generic term for the connection of devices to the internet, where the devices can share data with each other. At its most basic, it is the connection of your laptops and smartphones to your Wi-Fi. However, in building management systems, the devices attached to a network can number in the hundreds. In fact, the number of existing and potential IoT devices is massive. From smart speakers to thermostats and more, there could be thousands of tools that could be interconnected for your convenience and pleasure in the future.
The pros and cons of a hybrid BMS/ IoT design architectureSmart buildings sound, well, smart. On the surface, using IoT to streamline the functionality within a facility sounds like a logical progression in how we use our phones and laptops. Indeed, the smart building is the fastest-growing sector within the Internet of Things. In many ways, it is nothing less than a revolution. The drivers are simple: the requirement for energy conservation and the need to manage the carbon footprint of commercial facilities.
The trend is towards moving controls to the IP level, which will enable faster connectivity for the whole of the BMS. By their nature, any IoT device, such as the lighting system, the fire system, the security access controls, etc., can all be connected to this IP level network.
However, to do this properly, you will need expert help to set up the right protocols, connectivity and design the network, using a series of hubs. Here we face the first consequence of the hybrid IoT/BMS design architecture. You will need a significant level of expertise to create this connectivity.
You also need to question the security of the IoT. How secure will your facilities be when everything is networked to the internet? For these devices to be totally secure you will need to manage each one separately. You will need to check and install software updates regularly, and soon this can become a full-time job. The more devices you attach, the more management will be required.
In short, all too often, people blindly adopt IoT without considering these security and workload considerations.