Looking Ahead: The Self Maintaining, Self Repairing Facility
Monday, March 17, 2008 at 11:17AM
Toby Considine in Enterprise Interaction, Intelligent Buildings, Markets and Innovation, System Architecture

So how do building systems fit together in the future? I have some pretty solid ideas about what it will look like, but it is hard to project the time sequence, or the time scale. Here’s what I see.

Building designers will come to recognize the importance of data stewardship. Building systems will deliver information back to the designers and owners on actual building performance. This information will guide future programming, design, construction, and operations. Similar informational interfaces will support the business and regulatory environment of the building.

Buildings will be designed and constructed to be an integrated system of intelligent systems. These intelligent systems will use the information from self monitoring equipment and systems to continuously optimize conditions and performance. Intelligent buildings will actively support business operations. Facilities owners, operators, and service providers will all be able to access the same systems information in real time. They will use this information to respond to changes in business and environmental requirements to ensure that the facility will continue to support each intended use, old or new.

Each building system will stand alone yet interact with others as the higher level of a business service. Each system will gather data from its sensors and manage its actuators to support and defend the service it provides. Each building system will hide its internal operations, exposing accurate actionable information for continuous decision support.

Within each class of service, systems will compete to deliver the most economical or highest quality service through standards based interfaces. Each system will analyze its own operations to flag problems and make recommendations for external intervention. Each system will share information transparently with other systems, without requiring deep integration with other systems. Building owners will take advantage of informational interoperability to select systems based upon the quality of information and of the underlying operations without regard to the specific technologies used within each system.

Resilient systems of systems will ensure optimal facility utilization and operation even during crises. Each systems will attain situation awareness through communications with its peer systems and with systems external to the building. Examples of external communications include weather stations, demand/response requests from the power company, and emergency (CAP) alerts from homeland security.

One mission of each system in the buildings is to support the effective and efficient performance of the business functions within that facility. The facilities operations of an intelligent building are energy efficient, environmentally correct, and sustainable while leaving a minimal [carbon] footprint.

Building systems will interact to requests in support of business operations and tenants using communications protocols and interaction patterns familiar to enterprise programmers. Because each system defends its mission and exposes only informational interfaces, these interactions will be safe and secure.

Facilities operations will define system performance by the provision of business services, not the operations of process and inputs. Examples of business systems expressed as services include healthful work environment, alert students, regulatory compliance and system metrics will align themselves with these measures. Landlords offering such services will experience lower vacancies and be able to charge higher rents as they are able to document the Quality of Services (QOS) they offer.

Article originally appeared on New Daedalus (http://www.newdaedalus.com/).
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