The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Thursday, 2 April

Managing Not Monitoring - the Rise of the Real BMS

Simon Blazey of Tridonic believes that for too long the BMS has not really been able to manage buildings but now, with the advancements in Smart technologies and connected lighting this might be about to change.

Years ago, the only way to change the conditions within a building would have been to open or close the doors and windows, light a candle or stoke up the fire. However, in the second half of the 20th century developments in technology and automation saw the birth of a new concept, the environmental management of commercial buildings. The leading players at that time included Honeywell, Landis & Gyr, Satchwell and Siemens, and it was they that coined the phrase BMS; Building Management System.

However, did that name really explain what they were offering? I think not, and the term 'building monitoring system' would be a more realistic description of their capabilities. Some cynics might say that all they were really offering was an expensive electronic time clock.

Now some 70 years later, a comprehensive, interactive, value enhancing building management system is a very real option that will give facilities managers far more insight into not only how a building is performing, but also how the interior spaces are being used and thirdly, and possibly the most interesting, provide new unexplored business opportunities.

In the past when designers and developers wanted integration and interoperability from building systems they were hampered by silo systems, protocols and gateways. These included individually designed, wired and installed systems for telephones, lighting, access, CCTV and security, each with their own protocol. These installations led to the unruly mass of cables and wiring that is still seen today in the ceiling voids of many commercial buildings. The complexity of each of these discrete systems was variable and influenced by the end-user's business activity. The 'BMS' would be an additional stand-alone network, linked to contact points including thermostats and ventilation controls and would allow a basic level of monitoring and consequently adjustment and control of the environmental factors, usually on a floor by floor basis.

Now finally, with the reality of the Internet of Things (IoT), BMS will be able to deliver on its name and it is all thanks to IP connected lighting. The single converged IP network is now possible and the best way to transition to this format is via lighting because of its ubiquitous presence, installation and its ability to offer a low power wireless mesh network for communication. This provides the backbone for the digital connected ceiling and allows constrained IoT devices to use the lighting IP infrastructure to reach their service application. The BMS is still king in the plantrooms of buildings but it is now lighting that is king in the ceilings and corridors of buildings. With open API’s simple integration between these two systems it allows the BMS to finally live up to its name for the whole building, not just the HVAC plant. Lighting manufacturers can customise their luminaires and embrace IP and IoT technology, taking lighting beyond illumination and offering enormous potential and benefits to stakeholders. This digital connected ceiling allows traditional BMS devices and other systems to either co-exist or interoperate with each other without the need of a bridging gateway. The digital connected ceiling will facilitate the  co-existence or interoperability of traditional BMS devices and other systems without the need for a bridging gateway.

The Internet of Lighting, IoL, is a massive opportunity for all building system solutions providers. Now is the time for the egos of these two big system powerhouses of BMS and lighting to be put aside so that we can finally deliver on an open connected building that runs throughout the whole building. However, to makes this a reality is going to require a fresh approach from consultants, contractors and clients in planning, procurement and partnership. But that is for another discussion!

Picture: Tridonic's Simon Blazey

Article written by Simon Blazey


Related Articles

Clock Running On Daylight Energy Savings

Get ready to set the alarm an hour earlier this weekend - Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday March 26. At 2:00am, the clocks will be put forward an hour officially...

 Read Full Article
What Are You Doing To Welcome The Most Agile Working Generation Yet?

In this guest post, Luis De Souza provides some interesting insights on accommodating Generation Z into the workplace. De Souza is the CEO of NFS Technology Group,...

 Read Full Article
How To Tackle The High Costs Of Wasted Workspace

The spiralling cost of wasted time in meetings is a hot topic according to industry expert Luis De Souza of international software business NFS Technology Group. He...

 Read Full Article
Measuring the Cost of Stress in the Workplace

Pressure is part and parcel of most work environments and to an extent, our modern way of life. At an appropriate level, pressure can help us to maintain our motivation...

 Read Full Article
Railway Hell - It's Time To Boot The Commute

After the recent rail disruption with more to come, Graham Bird explores the effects of a daily commute and explains how the rush-hour race can be reduced. ...

 Read Full Article
LEDs - Nice But Dim

With light emitting diode (LED) technology being the energy efficient choice to refurbish existing lighting in both commercial and consumer environments, electrical...

 Read Full Article
Designing for the Oldies

Joe Huddleston says the workforce is becoming increasingly diverse, however, there’s more talk about millennials in the workplace than anyone else. In stark...

 Read Full Article
Ultraviolet Protection Explained

We are warned before we go on holiday of the dangers of the sun and ultraviolet (UV) rays but more should be done to make outdoor workers aware of the risks and how to...

 Read Full Article
Get A Move On

Graham Bird explains why workplace exercise can be of benefit to both employee and employer. Earlier this year, the British Heart Foundation announced that more than...

 Read Full Article
The Big Lunch

With stress, anxiety and obesity all on the rise, the benefits of communal, healthy meals shouldn’t be overlooked in the fight to combat workplace stress. This...

 Read Full Article