The state of the art in building automation and security is evolving with incredible speed. But one thing is certain: Construction companies and building owners will become increasingly reliant on digital systems to keep their buildings safe, secure, comfortable and energy efficient. Focusing on the issue of fault tolerance right from the blueprint stage of any new construction or major renovation project is becoming increasingly important.
But how do you design an approach that rationalizes the infrastructure and management of all this disparate technology coming from numerous vendors in a streamlined, consistent way? When developing an approach to continuous availability of smart building infrastructure, consider the following key questions.
1. Is it simple?
Automated building systems may be expanding, but building management budgets are not. An availability solution should be easy to deploy without any specialized development skills. And it should be easy to manage and easy to service in the event of a failure. Avoiding large, multi-component systems in favor of an all-in-one “appliance-like” solution reduces complexity, as well as physical footprint.
In addition, the availability solution should provide a single, end-to-end view of the entire building automation and security infrastructure. This simplifies management and makes it easier for building staff to proactively identify potential issues before they become problems.
2. Does it leverage industry standards?
Sophisticated building automation and security systems may involve literally dozens of applications from an array of vendors in a virtualized environment. This requires an underlying availability infrastructure that is based on industry standards, with the flexibility to support a wide range of applications and vendors. Standards-based solutions also allow the use of lower-cost off-the-shelf servers, further reducing total cost of ownership.
3. Is it optimized for smart building deployment?
A solution with little or no track record in building automation and security may not deliver on its promises. Look for technologies from vendors that have experience in the field and deep relationships with building automation and security application vendors. That’s a good sign of an ecosystem that’s been proven in many different building deployments. Don’t be shy—ask about their experience and connections within the industry.
You can read more about the growing need for fault tolerance as buildings become more automated in my article published recently in Construction Executive.