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How the IoT Technology is Changing The Way Buildings are Protected

Feb 26, 2020

Gone are the days when securing our homes and buildings only meant buying the thickest locks and installing a tall fence to enclose our prized properties. It’s also time to finally say goodbye to the era when fire protection meant having an extinguisher on standby as well as storing a good amount of water to sprinkle in case a combustion occurs.
Because guess what?
Thanks to IoT solutions, we can finally create a comprehensive security and alarm system that senses burglars and smokes, creates alarms for emergencies and intrusion, identifies who to let into your building or if someone is in danger, and allows you to remotely check what's happening in your premises while you are away. Today, we thought we would pivot slightly from focussing purely on intumescents, and instead look into the future to see how the Internet and technology will transform how we protect our properties from accidents and unauthorised entry.

The Internet of Things

Technology is increasingly becoming a part of daily living. Thanks to the Internet of Things, technology allows us to engage with our premises and products. But not as a response, but as a dialogue.
The evolution of smart buildings has been astounding. Aside from the convenience of having a fully automated commercial complex, there is also the added benefit of security. IoT helps reduce threats and risks by integrating different measures into what it now known as complex IoT environments (CIE). But how exactly is IoT playing a growing role in making buildings more secure? We’re glad you asked.

Connectivity is still the backbone of IoT.

Ok, so yes, the IoT requires you to have an IT infrastructure set up, but one that is capable of huge throughput. To be truly considered smart, buildings have to be fully equipped with good Internet connectivity that allows communication of both large and small data to flow seamlessly. 
This is the backbone of IoT and it plays an integral role in making sure that information is delivered in push-and-pull mode in case of emergencies.

Mobile device integration is crucial to safety.

Unlike homes where you’re only managing limited square footage, buildings are a lot harder to keep secure because of their size and location. And when you consider that commercial buildings are more prone to security threats and risks both from the inside and outside, having real-time updates is a massive advantage. 
Smart buildings can now be fully integrated to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, with built-in notification systems alerting owners to any emergency in real-time. 
For instance, if a fire has been detected on the top floor of the building, the system can be configured to notify the owner right away through SMS or even voice so you can call in emergency response quickly. 
Our expectation as we move towards the next decade is that mobile device integration is will become a core component of fire rating design because it allows for quicker actions, which will help managers and owners to incur less damages and mitigate losses for your business.

Artificial intelligence and big data are playing increasing roles in predictive maintenance.

Asset digitisation is one of the key roles of IoT where inexpensive sensors are used to capture real-time data about crucial assets like HVAC systems. This allows for proactive measures that help prevent accidents. 
But let’s look it in construction and maintenance terms: When you install sensors in your building, it can monitor your rooftop units, cooling towers, and chillers. This IoT-powered technology will help provide critical information like compressor run ties, vibration and flow rates, and fan speeds that will help building managers determine if predictive maintenance is needed.  Any potential issues flagged will give the owner of the information the ability to take corrective action as needed ahead of any issue, thus reducing the costs of repair as damage is reduced.

IAQ doesn’t only protect the building but also its occupants.

While a lot of IoT advancements are now focused on making smart buildings more secure, there’s also an opportunity to protect building occupants from health hazards that affect their productivity, concentration, and overall well-being in the long run. 
Studies have shown that poor air quality in a building causes nasal irritation, nausea, headaches, and breathing difficulties. To address this issue, indoor air quality (IAQ) monitoring is now being implemented in most smart buildings. 
Air quality is monitored in real time and information sent to building managers and owners for them to evaluate and address humidity, temperature, and carbon dioxide levels in different parts of the facility.

AI and IoT integration allows for better control of building access.

With buildings being more prone to unwanted visitor access, AI and IoT are now being increasingly used to prevent any unauthorized people from gaining access to the building. 
Sensors are installed throughout the premises to capture real-time data that help building managers initiate quick response to possible threats and improve their safety measures to prevent more incidents from happening in the future. 

IoT visitor management systems, for instance, allow for full control of a person’s access to the building. So if an employee has already resigned or is becoming a threat to security, a building manager or owner could deactivate his access to the building and the business’ information at any time.

What it may Mean for Fire Rating

We already mentioned that we see IoT being important for the role it will play in development of fire rating design, but we believe that as technology advances, so too will the application for the fire rating industry. Some of the things we would like to see, or which we believe may become a reality include:

  • Low-cost temperature sensors installed to steel beams which allow fire crews to see just how safe one area of a building is over another

  • Batch control monitoring – allow applicators to scan materials and those materials to be mapped to a central database. This will allow better product quality control and improve product accountability

Smart interconnected devices which monitor multiple sensors and draw resources to or away from certain areas of a building to help control fire. EG shutting fire door dampeners to prevent oxygen flow, whilst simultaneously increasing water to an area.

​Conclusion

Actionable data is definitely one of the biggest benefits that IoT offers. It will work to keep buildings safe and secure from both threats within and outside its premises. Preventive measures and quick response processes will not only help building owners save money but also protect their assets and employees from the increasing threats in security these days.
It is an exciting time ahead, and one that stands to benefit all.

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