Intelligent BMS

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13Intelligent BMS

Intelligent BMS

Intelligent BMS


The management of technology that is used in controlling functions of buildings today is complex. The trend continues to be common in size as the population of systems within buildings which can be controlled and monitored using management systems escalates in the recent times due to challenges building owners face (Granzer, Praus & Kastner, 2010). The increase of building management system coupled with the growth of internet and widespread of infrastructure of IT has resulted in building intelligent BMS. Intelligent BMS refers to one platform which integrates and controls building systems in a unified whole using IP network (Qiu et al, 2011). The building owners nowadays face various challenges as they face way of reducing carbon footprint and energy consumption, protecting tenants using security methods that are non-intrusive, lowering operating costs, maintaining buildings and complying with regulations, managing modern buildings’ systems and technology, and repeating maximum return on investment (So & Chan, 2012). This essay introduces the technology of Intelligent Building Management Systems and discusses the considerations that security managers must have when implementing Intelligent BMS Criteria.

Technology of BMS

The concept of intelligent buildings as well as BMS has its origin in the Industrial sector in the course of the 1970s from the controls and systems applied to automate processes of production and optimizing plant performances (Granzer, Praus & Kastner, 2010). The applications and concepts were eventually adapted, developed as well as modularized in the course of 1980’s enhancing transferability of systems and technology to the commercial and residential sectors. The role of intelligent buildings as well as building management systems is controlling technologies that permit automation, optimization and integration of services together with equipment that offer services as well as manages the environment in which the building is found. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC’s) are the original foundation of control technologies (Alwaer & Clements-Croome, 2010). Further developments in residential and commercial applications were formed on the basis of distributed-intelligence microprocessors. The application of the technologies permits the optimization of various building and site services that leads to cost reductions as well as energy savings that are huge.

Implementing of intelligent BMS permits owners of building to address the concerns a once through combing a variety of building management systems and services. Building owners have to improve functionality and the general systems’ performance and integrate them into an IT infrastructure that is improved (So & Chan, 2012). Using intelligent management system leads to less costs operations as well as energy savings using conservation features of automated energy. Motion sensors are able to tell when the space is not occupied and hence turn off lights as well as lower temperature. Those Cleaning crews who come late at night can be monitored by use of passive RFID when they are checking in, and the lights turned on or off as they clean up various places within the building (Shen et al, 2010). Applying IP networks allows users to be able to adjust HVAC settings in building using smartphones or tablets in order to achieve the desired temperature prior to their arrival. This is because they offer an operating environment that is unified. Intelligent BMS are cost effective and easy to maintain and operate. The function of BMS is core to the concepts of Intelligent Buildings. Its goal is to optimize, control and monitor building services such as alarm systems, security, heating, CCTV and lighting (Yang & Wang, 2013). The potential in the concepts as well as surrounding technology is huge, and life is being transformed owing to the impact of Intelligent Building developments on work environments and living. The effect of facilities management and facilities planning is potentially big. Managers of Facilities considering site relocation or premises development have to consider opportunities presented by intelligent buildings concepts and technologies. More cost-effective and efficient application of built environment constantly driven by environmental as well as economic pressures calling for reduction of the cost of ownership as well as operation of public and commercial buildings (Granzer, Praus & Kastner, 2010). Some of rewards of intelligent building comprise of energy savings, reduction in cost of changing configuration and occupancy, maintenance of a safe, secure and comfortable environment and enhancing user productivity.

Until recently energy efficiency was a relatively low opportunity and low priority to owners of buildings as well as investors. Owing to dramatic awareness and increase of energy use worries and developments in technologies that are cost-effective, energy efficiency has become a vital part in real estate management, operations strategy and facilities management. These concepts have made inroads within domestic residential house-building sector (Yang & Wang, 2013). Greenhouse emission reductions correlate and depend on reductions in energy use. Intelligent BMS technologies enhance directly reduction of energy use in industrial, commercial, domestic residential and institutional sectors. In general intelligent BMS are good for environment conservation (Wei et al, 2011). Environmental and legislation standards; regulations on health and safety, as well as global trends towards enhancement of quality standards of indoor air are drivers and offer persistent endorsement for intelligent BMS. Initiatives by governments across the globe are driving the adoption and development of BMS technologies. According to the European Commission about ninety percent of existing buildings have ineffective or inapplicable controls hence majority need complete overhaul of the control systems (Shen et al, 2010). Besides, most conventional control systems fall short of the capability of intelligent buildings. A human element is needed for optimal effective operation despite control systems being correctly installed and specified.

Consequently the concept of intelligent BMS is crucial in enhancing efficiency. Usage as well as correct operations is important for effective results. Enhancement of lighting design is above electrical layout alone. It has to consider the schedules and needs of occupants, climatic and seasonal daylight changes as well as its effect on mechanical systems of buildings. Addition of daylight in buildings is a way of achieving design that is energy-effective. Daylight harvesting of natural light make people healthier, happier, and increased productivity. Reduced need of electric light can lead to a lot of energy and money being saved. Almost each commercial building is potential energy saving project whereby electric lighting systems may be dimmed through design owing to presence of daylight. Close to 75% consumption of lighting energy may be saved (Byun & Park, 2011). HVAC system as well as controls comprise of distribution of air into workplaces and make up the buildings’ mechanical parts responsible for thermal comfort. The systems have to work together in order to offer building comfort (Palensky & Dietrich, 2011). They do not form aesthetics part of the building but are crucial to its operations as well as occupant satisfaction. One of most complaints comes from the temperature of the building, either too cold or hot.

The huge increase in Internet Protocol (IP) with regard to enterprise video/voice/data communications has made intelligent BMS in the current century to be centralized as well as allow consolidated control together with systems’ monitoring in remote locations using Internet. Usually IP networks are not dependent on the media for the purpose of each application operating at optimum communication cost and speed. The various BMSs can communicate using the same IP network hence permitting them to be centrally coordinated and controlled (Klein et al, 2012). Campus networks and WANs have been replaced by the Internet propelling transformation in every way. Broadband and wireless technologies have propelled 24/7 Internet, and transforming expectations from consumers that have enhanced business transformations further. Intelligent BMS are changing to cloud/web-based technology (Yang & Wang, 2013). A commercial office building will need heating, lighting, air-conditioning, ventilation, IT, electrical systems and security controls to power lifts as well as other machinery. These systems can use different as well as incompatible software that makes it hard to analyze and streamline the use, or bring in sophisticated automation in all areas of the building. Intelligent BMS is as a kind of open-platform software which brings them together into a single and integrated database (Palensky & Dietrich, 2011). This is very different as compared to a regular BMS since all system information is put into one single front-end interface. Hence it permits one system being controlled using information from another like lighting will be controlled using the information within door access systems.

There are various environmental and economic reasons why building owners are considering installing intelligent BMS. Intelligent BMS is important for saving energy. Emissions from building contribute to greenhouse gas emissions but intelligent BMS leads to reduction of this emissions. Heating, lighting, air conditioning (HVAC) and ventilation contribute about 70% of all the energy that is used within the buildings (Qiu et al, 2011). This is on top of electricity required to power lifts, computers, machinery, security controls among others. Intelligent BMS significantly reduce the use of this energy. Lighting can be controlled using a timer or activated automatically using occupancy sensor in order to be used when only needed instead leaving rooms or some places with lights on (Wei et al, 2011). Infra-red occupancy sensors are applied in controlling heating. With the increase of technologies that involve energy-saving, energy is one of the largest controllable expenses within a building. Hence, Intelligent BMS makes it possible to control and monitor energy costs closely. Intelligent BMS is reliable. Power grid varies in terms of quality and continuity based on the geographical location. With the increase of businesses relying on IT as well as digital communication energy supply that is uninterrupted is important. Intelligent BMS permits close monitoring to make sure that are no variations in energy intensity. Intelligent BMS enhances safety. Intelligent BMS enhances safety features like smoke extraction fans, fire doors, supply fans as well as dampers to be driven and controlled to safe position or state (Yang & Wang, 2013). Improving value BMS is able to assist owners of buildings to raise the value of assets through the reduction of operational costs as well as provide a higher degree of comfort to occupants.

Intelligent BMS enhances building performance and control through offering a common platform which permits many disparate systems in a building to link with one another. Systems like HVAC, access control and lighting apply communications protocols that enable exchange of information among them and also other devices but cannot apply same protocols and hence cannot communicate devoid of further integration. This is the point where intelligent BMS comes in since it integrates different protocols into a single system. Some of the widely used protocols include BACnet, LonWorks and Modbus (Qiu et al, 2011). Information from these protocols is converted into an open-platform IP. Information from various systems is sharing using a local area network that is linked to intelligent BMS. This is further linked to a graphic interface that permits users to interrogate and navigate the system by use of web browser. Using this interface they are able to view graphics, analysis, reports and trends and carry out functions like updating schedules for lighting as well as managing alarms. Since data is placed centrally within a Cloud, it can be reached by wireless devices like tablets, laptops and phones (Yan, Qian, Sharif & Tipper, 2013). This gives an opportunity to various managers to control and view building operation within commercial buildings. This can be a facility manager who is in charge of improving the performance of the building as well as making it comfortable for occupants. The electrical manager makes sure that power is available and it is of good quality (Yang & Wang, 2013). The production manager makes sure that there is efficiency of processes and machines for improving productivity and optimizing costs. On the other hand, the IT manager makes sure that important applications are available. Finally the security manager safeguards assets and people and protects vial business functions.

Considerations of security manager of Intelligent BMS

There are various considerations that security managers have to incorporate in the concept of Intelligent Building Management Systems. Inception of converged infrastructure as well as integration of building together business systems potentially brings various risks related to aspects of technology, personnel and operations (Wang, Wang & Yang, 2012). Security managers have to know that the human element in building operations pose the greatest risk. Whether accidentally or deliberately people can seek to go around security controls or end up incorrectly operating the systems. It is important for security managers to understand that systems integration magnify the impact of omissions or errors. Systems integration brings together facilities and IT management teams who possess varying cultures, priorities as well as reporting chains. All these aspects are able to inhibit an efficient and effective response to faults or incidents. From the perspective of technology integration can introduce new modes of failure whereby building systems are able to interfere with business systems and the other way round (Wei et al, 2011). For instance it is normal for computers used in the office to run newest antivirus software and patched regularly. This may not be applicable to BMS or computers being used for the sake of safety-critical systems hence leading to possible vulnerabilities emanating from malware that come from infect media or over the Internet. IP-based technologies bring about opportunities for operational savings by centralizing as well as outsourcing monitoring and control stations (Santacana et al, 2010). However, this enhances local control and knowledge. The challenge is accentuated if the support personnel deployed to respond to incidents are no familiar with layout as well as operation of individual buildings.

The privacy and security of building owners and occupants can be compromised when convergence of technical infrastructure as well as integration of systems brings about unauthorized or unplanned pathways creating unauthorized access to systems and perhaps data loss. For instance, unauthorized access to building control together with room-booking systems can divulge personal data like when an individual is away from home or visiting VIP presence (Alexander, 2013). The building integrity can be compromised of the third parties have access to as well as control of vital building systems. When third parties are able to take control or disable building systems it might be no longer prudent to allow the continued occupancy of the building. This is owing to physical damage or owing to threats to lives and health of occupants. Security disabling as well as access control can put lives at risk and call for individuals who are deployed to implement manual checks instead of automated systems. In case of energy-efficient building the integrity can be compromised when the energy management functions’ operations were disrupted or degraded by a third party’s actions, whether by deployment of malware or direct manual interference (Figueiredo & Martins, 2010). Availability of the building can be seriously damaged when there are disruptions of the building systems hence preventing the building in its delivery of the needed functionality. The availability of risk type will depend on the kind of building as well as criticality of building service that is affected.

The owners of buildings have to consider what level of systems integration is needed or desirable in the course of specification, construction, design, as well as commissioning of buildings. The mitigation of risks need has to include an evaluation of features of building and its application is vital and hence requires highest protection (Eastman et al, 2011). The implementation and design of a building system in capturing information can be considered vital in supporting the investigation of accidents or incidents. It is important for security managers to consider frequent remote backing to capture information for use in case of evacuation of a building. Mitigation of systems risks have to consider suitable application of technology like Wi-Fi is susceptible to jamming and interference and has to be avoided in safety-critical as well as security systems. Operational risks have to be evaluated and comprehended from both technical and business perspectives (Stouffer, Falco & Scarfone, 2011). The knowledge and training of facilities management team has to be aligned with the sophistication of integration of systems and effect of system failure will pose on the occupants of building.

It is important to ensure cross-training of some building and IT support staff in order to enhance collaboration in the course of incidents as well as faults diagnosis. This is crucial because users will more often than not seek to circumnavigate controls if they are of the opinion they hinder as opposed to supporting the user. Various legal issues emanate from these risks and call for evaluation of the legal process as well as legislation available together what is applicable when something goes wrong (Spears & Barki, 2010). The security managers have to consider all these factors without fail to enhance safety of buildings and their occupants. Available legal remedies will rely on who is culpable for any failure, whether were as a result of an accident or were instigated deliberately. Risks as well as their mitigation have to be approached in a holistic fashion in case of any implementation but are crucial for multi-occupancy as well as multiple-use buildings whereby the priorities and needs of users vary.


Intelligent BMS has transformed security considerations for modern buildings to another new level. Security managers consider the use of sophisticate and complex technology that allows integration of technology infrastructure in order to enhance comfort and safety of modern building. Intelligent BMS is spreading to both commercial and residential sectors at a fast pace. Intelligent BMS has enhanced security but on the other hand brought some vulnerabilities and procedures that security managers have to consider during implementation and operation. Security managers have to ensure that necessary legal procedures are followed before installing any intelligent BMS. The role of the owners and the IT support staff is important in making sure that implementation of intelligent BMS is successful. Commercial buildings have seen the rise in the use of intelligent BMS in the recent years. All individual involved in implementation and operation of Intelligent BMS has to make sure that they play the role in order to make the system successful.


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