Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Building Automation Moves to Next Level: Experts Predict BAS to Provide Automated Data and Automated Actions

Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Building Automation Moves to Next Level: Experts Predict BAS to Provide Automated Data and Automated Actions

Article excerpt

The latest advances in building automation systems (BAS) embrace the movement toward the Internet of Things (IoT)--the internetworking of physical devices embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data. Manufacturers that supply the nation's hospitals agree that this trend will improve building performance as it continues to evolve.

More hospitals are using smart building solutions to improve their operations and patient care, such as giving personnel access to critical building information via mobile devices.

IoT innovations

"New software platforms for including our BAS workstations are designed to be part of an entire IoT ecosystem. This ecosystem allows the acquisition of building performance data and the creation of actionable information to improve performance," says Darcy Otis, director, analytics and fault detection, Siemens Industry Inc.'s building technologies division, Buffalo Grove, Ill.

All of Trane's BAS are IoT-enabled, according to Gene Shedivy, BAS product leader, Trane, Davidson, N.C. The company offers cloud-based, device-level connectivity via its Tracer SC controls as a gateway--both on Trane equipment and other manufacturers' equipment.

One exciting aspect of IoT is the merging of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), says Warren Rosebraugh, director and health care solution architect, Schneider Electric, Andover, Mass. "As more and more building systems become cloud-based, the partnership between facilities and IT personnel will continue to grow in importance.

"In the past, OT systems largely acted independently of their IT counterparts," Rosebraugh continues. "What we see now is a rapid switch to a convergence of building systems including HVAC, lighting, energy management and security into a centralized hub."

Kevin Callahan, product owner and evangelist for Alerton, Lynwood, Wash., a Honeywell Building Solutions (Morris Plains, N.J.) business specializing in BAS, uses the term "the Internet of Systems (IoS)" instead of IoT. "When we talk about IoS, we are talking about cloud computing and collecting the massive amounts of data from all of the systems in a facility.

"It's not about integrating dissimilar systems, but coordinating all of the dissimilar systems so that they are operating in unison," he continues. "For example, you want the HVAC system, the lighting system and the security/access system to be coordinated so that all three act and operate together to provide comfort and safety for all occupants."

Possible platforms

New BAS incorporate features that make IoT a reality. For example, Honeywell's latest release of the Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI) R500 leverages the connectivity of buildings to help make them strategic assets to the organization. New EBI features enable managers to more easily turn building data into actionable insights to deliver outcomes in real time.

The EBI R500 features an open platform capable of communicating with industry-leading protocols such as BACNet, OPC and LonWorks. This enables large organizations to easily integrate multiple facilities without having to replace existing systems. It also gives hospitals greater flexibility in scaling their BAS to suit the organization's growth.

Honeywell also offers Command & Control Suite, a smart building technology that integrates with BAS such as EBI to turn complex facility data into recommendations and easy-to-implement changes that lower costs, minimize risk and reduce downtime.

"When it comes to BAS, having a simple, intuitive graphical interface is paramount," says Larry Bacher, northwest region manager, Automated Logic Corp., Kennesaw, Ga. The company's WebCTRL provides this through an open architecture with enhanced visualization, which provides a comprehensive look into what is happening throughout a hospital. …

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