Technology Refresh Part 2

In the second part of his blog, Graeme Rees looks at the advantages of a phased approach to upgrading a building’s BMS.

In last week’s blog I examined the rate of progress in various forms of technology, such as cars, televisions. This week I will apply that analysis to the technological advances made in our building systems.

Commercial buildings are continuously evolving and adapting to the needs of their occupants thanks to the latest smart BMS controls technology and for this to be done effectively it is necessary for building owners and occupiers to plan for technology refreshes, transitions, upgrades regardless of original manufacturer. It is not only unwise, it is frankly impossible for system manufacturers to maintain supply and support of older systems as they are built on old technology design and electronic components, many of which are simply obsolete – replaced by the rapid churn in processors and component technology driven by the electronic giants who create the mobile and smart device technologies.

We also often forget that the underlying operating systems, the firmware within the ageing systems, is much like the operating systems on our PCs. How many of us would be happy still using Windows XP – or even Windows 3.1? Just like the electronics, the underlying software also needs to be refreshed, not only for performance enhancement but to avoid any potential of cyber security threats.

So, what do you get by upgrading? By planning and taking steps towards a planned and phased technology refresh or transition you can position your building so that it is ready to adapt and add new technologies to the BMS without having to replace an entire system. A phased approach also dilutes any initial high cost of change and the building owners and occupants would soon benefit from the most efficient, the most capable systems that bring enhanced security. There would be significant improvements to user comfort, wellbeing and the occupants’ productivity too.

There is also the added peace of mind that the disruption caused by downtime failure is reduced to a fraction, and access to the future of a truly smart building where systems interact, self-learn, self-diagnose and report are viewed and interacted with from a single view.

It goes without saying that all of this would be built upon a truly open platform that facilitates unhindered future expansion and development. But, if it’s easier for most of a certain age, compare Dad’s old Cortina to today’s Hybrid, and Saturday’s World of Sport on the Radio Rentals 19-inch Baird to a 4k Netflix stream. There’s no contest, surely?

Graeme Rees

BCIA Vice-President