Building Management System Architecture & Trends

Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

With the need to increase profits and minimize the effects on the environment, building management has become a hot topic. In this lesson, we'll take a look at building management systems, their architecture, and some trends.

The Need for Profit

We live in a world where profit overshadows all. Indigo Chapters wants to sell more books, Amazon wants to increase the number of products they offer, and Google wants to multiply the reach of its advertising business. All, for the elusive dollar! It makes sense then that the idea of profit would extend to virtually every business there is, and it does. In fact, even in businesses like real estate, property managers and building owners are looking for ways to increase profits. They also need to consider environmental impact. To get a handle on this, they've turned to an increasingly popular technology known as a building management system.

What is a Building Management System?

A building management system is an umbrella system that monitors and controls the numerous other systems in a building, for example:

  • Power - monitors usage and flow to the various areas within a building.
  • Climate Control - monitors air flow and temperature within a building.
  • Building Entry/Exit - monitors activity at all entrances and things like intrusion detection, alarms, and logging within a building.
  • Water (pumps) - monitors and controls pump activity for water distribution within a building.
  • Elevators - monitors car occupancy and movement, and controls their operation within a building.
  • Lights - monitors power consumption and conservation, along with control of the many lights within a building.

What is a Building Management System Architecture?

A building management system architecture is the high-level organizational description of the elements that make up a building management system. As you might imagine, these elements vary greatly from building to building, depending on the business objectives of the property managers or building owners. Some of the elements include:

  • Server(s) - the central processing and storage capabilities of the system. Think of them like the servers in your company's computer room.
  • Workstations - the monitoring and control points for key personnel, such as the building administrators. Think of them like the personal computers you have on your desk at work.
  • Sensors - remote devices spread throughout the building that capture relevant data from the various systems in the building. Think of a sensor like the speedometer on your car. They provide continuous feedback on operations.

You should note that these elements are similar to what you would find in any company's network, and in fact use the same technology. The only real difference is the sensors, which are specific to this type of application. From a visual perspective, the architecture might look like this:

A Building Management System Architecture Example

What are the Trends in Building Management Systems?

The trends in building management systems are pretty much what you would expect:

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