Increasing urbanisation and the necessity of conserving resources demand intelligent, connected building services in ‘smart buildings’. Once the digital control systems are intelligently interlinked, they can make buildings more economic and more secure, as well as reducing their energy needs. Solutions for this will be on show at the world’s leading trade fair in its field, Light + Building, in Frankfurt, Germany from 8 to 13 March.

In particular, the connection of safety and security systems with each other and with other building services installations offers lots of possibilities. Even today, for example, alarm systems can already be maintained at a distance. These systems are frequently linked with personalised access control. If they are, additionally, linked to fire alarm systems, then, in the event of the fire alarm going off, it is possible to establish immediately whether all employees have left the danger zone or are still in there.

Other imaginable scenarios are still things of the future: building users with mobile devices or other connected ‘wearables’ receive a personal warning in dangerous situations and their smartphone, which is linked to the building automation system. The mobile device then displays a safe escape route out of the building, via an indoor navigation system. An adaptive escape route guidance system evaluates information from the connected mobile devices and avoids dangerous bottlenecks in the escape routes thanks to an intelligent regulation or alteration of the dynamic escape-route signage.

Greater security and efficiency
When systems are linked effectively with one another, modern building services engineering pays for itself in economic terms, too. The combined use of sensors, security systems and building services opens up opportunities for additional functionality. So, for example, the movement sensors of the burglar-alarm system and the temperature sensors of the fire-alarm can, together, provide valuable data, which can then be used to regulate the ventilation in a building.

A precondition for the seamless and efficient functioning of models like this is interdisciplinary digital planning and prioritisation that spans all the installation trades, together with universal standards for everyone involved in the design and operation of the systems. At the same time, high levels of IT and cyber security and good data protection are indispensable, if the security systems are to be protected from unwanted consequences in the network and malicious cyber-attacks from outside.