Smart Buildings are driving an increased need for reliability

As the environmental and security demands upon building infrastructures get increasingly complex there is an opportunity to rethink the approach to how buildings are managed. Today’s buildings and campuses support a wide range of control systems – access, environmental, video monitoring, energy efficiency, and more. These solutions are typically deployed in a stove pipe fashion on disparate platforms and this lack of integration has led to complexity, high costs and lost efficiencies.

In this next era of the Smart Building, the situation is changing fast and there are three technologies enabling this:

IoT (Internet of Things) devices – In the past the endpoint devices such as cameras, badge readers and thermostats in a building were proprietary and expensive. The introduction of low cost devices coupled with the adoption of consistent communications standards is resulting in more devices and increased integration between systems.

Virtualization – One of the things that has held back virtualization and the integration of building technologies has been the requirement for each solution to have its own unique infrastructure. Now that the devices are IoT based, this presents an opportunity to simplify the building infrastructure and lower costs through virtualization.

Analytics – The analysis of data from the increased number of end devices can lead to changes to business processes to drive efficiencies and manage cost.

These three advances are enabling the Smart Building, but the true core of Smart Building technology is the control applications that collect the IoT device data and transforms that data into analytics. In addition, these control applications may also have a role in managing the IoT endpoint devices and enabling audits and compliance in critical locations.

The need for a strong underlying infrastructure

Like any business critical applications, building automation and control applications have some specific needs and generally require a strong underlying technology infrastructure to be maximally effective. This foundation requires the following capabilities:

Standards based virtualization – It is expected that multiple vendors and technologies will be required to deliver the vision of a Smart Building. This means that the underlying infrastructure needs to be virtualization-ready with a wide range of support for different applications.

Continuous availability – Since these technologies are critical and will be consolidated to a shared set of server resources, unplanned downtime is not an option. There are many ways to mitigate the risk of unplanned downtime but a highly available or fault-tolerant solution should be easy to deploy without any specialized development or skill and easy to service in the event of a failure.

A holistic solution-oriented view – One of the most difficult challenges in operating a Smart Building is understanding and resolving operational issues. While virtualization greatly reduces the complexity of systems, the number of devices and possibly virtual servers will increase. This means that an end-to-end view of the entire Smart Building (devices, applications and hardware) will decrease the challenges of identifying and even preventing issues before they occur.

The Stratus approach

Stratus is the proven choice for leading companies such as Tyco Integrated Security, Johnson Controls and Rapiscan Systems. Our cost effective high availability solutions for smart buildings deliver continuous availability without the complexity of other solutions, with the ability to monitor and manage the various devices – cameras, access control devices, etc – and deliver fully connected smart buildings.

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