How Connectivity and the IoT are Making Buildings Smart

When architects design buildings, they think about more than style and aesthetics. They must consider the user experience – how occupants will work in, function in, and even enjoy a building. Building operators are also looking to easily manage all of a building’s assets and reduce operating costs.  

As smarter Internet of Things (IoT) devices are introduced to the world, businesses are combining disparate building systems into a converged infrastructure. Converged infrastructures work to optimize building systems, operations, and maintenance.

By adopting smart building technologies, architects are taking design to a whole new level, allowing businesses to increase sustainability and see a long-term ROI.

Connecting Systems in a Smart Building

A smart building can interconnect systems to optimize lighting controls, reduce energy waste, and improve occupant productivity and experience by anticipating and responding to occupants’ needs and activities.

By connecting the many networks within a building, such as lighting, heating, cooling, and video, building owners can manage and control the systems more effectively.

At a high level, smart buildings may connect:

  • Fixtures
  • Security
  • Sensors
  • Controls

Bright smart building

Automated Efficiencies

Smart buildings can provide employees with building access by scanning a badge or presenting a smartphone-based credential. Their entry triggers the other systems in the building to turn on the lights, adjust the temperature, and alert security that someone has accessed the building.

While access control may be the “trigger” for all of these functions, the entire system can become interconnected through one or several automation systems. These systems allow all aspects of a building’s operation to be networked, from lighting and intercoms to access control, video, fire safety, and climate controls.

A building that has integrated security and access control systems can also integrate energy and water use, and ventilation.

The ROI of Smarter Buildings

Designing for long-term return on investment is important, and technology-driven efficiencies are a great way to do that. Implementing connected IoT solutions in a smart building can generate data to help your business function in a faster, smarter, and cost-effective way.

Here are some ways that IoT devices can deliver ROI:

  • With lighting accounting for 30-50% of a building’s energy usage according to the U.S. Department of Energy, installing LED fixtures can reduce energy costs up to 40% and improve building intelligence.
  • The HVAC system and lighting will automatically adjust based on actual conditions rather than a fixed schedule – this takes advantage of natural heat and light to reduce energy use.
  • A high-density sensor network can provide environmental data and occupancy reports guiding HVAC reduction, programmable email alerts, real-time reporting, and emergency lighting.


Begin Planning Now for the Future

Planning early for connected functional elements such as temperature, sound, and lighting can prepare you for the future of smart building technology. Not only will smart technology reduce operational costs, but it will also boost performance, improve safety, and optimize space utilization. 

As your organization is preparing for a digital transformation, Wesco can help through every stage of the process by providing technical expertise in data communications, security, lighting, and power to deliver holistic solutions. With design consultations, best-in-class products and procurement, logistical management and services, supply chain solutions, and responsive customer service, we’re here to transform your building, business, jobsite, or city.

Article originally published May 22, 2020 and updated for accuracy and relevance.