As businesses use the internet of things to drive IT standards and smart building outcomes across the enterprise, many are finding it challenging to create a smart, efficient, connected environment when following the traditional building and technology integration approach. Realizing the full potential of smart buildings requires integrating technology systems that communicate to fully optimize the environment and improve operations.
Disrupting the traditional method
Historically, construction managers are often tasked with connecting various systems types, from HVAC and security to communications and business management systems, to enable smart building outcomes. The various systems, technologies and subcontractors that are involved across the building leave the potential for systems and infrastructure duplication in addition to subpar data utilization to drive owner outcomes and data security across the enterprise.
This is why, increasingly, building owners and their teams are selecting a single point of responsibility for technology systems early in the process. Technology contracting is the process of managing the design-assist, installation and integration of complex building, business and specialty systems. The technology contractor will involve all parties — owners and design and constructions teams – early in the planning phase to collaborate on data-driven connectivity and interoperability decisions. Discussing integration and installation efficiencies during the planning phase makes better use of time and resources and enables a more successful smart building that exceeds energy, technology and operational objectives.
A better smart buildings approach
While every project will differ based on the purpose of the building or space(s) and defined outcomes, this approach allows the technology contractor to ensure the building is created not as a collection of systems, but as a functional whole, conceived, designed and delivered with the end in mind. Building-wide systems integration can be applied to create smart buildings in virtually any industry, yet it remains an unfamiliar model or approach to many architects, engineers and general contractors. To function effectively in the technology contracting role, a firm must have knowledge of smart connected equipment, building controls, fire and security, IT networks and systems, and specialty business applications. It must also be well-versed in planning, design, construction, installation and commissioning.
Buildings are huge investments. Particularly in mission-critical environments, such as hospitals and life science facilities, or public spaces, such as airports, courthouses, museums and sporting venues, the efficiency and integration of systems can substantially affect the occupants’ business performance. By leaning on technology contracting and taking an enterprise-wide approach to technology, businesses can enhance integration, optimize technology usage and maximize budgets, ensuring building technology fulfills its goals and vision.
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