What makes a smart building tick?

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Written by Karl Fazakerley, Product Manager- Device Connections

A building automation system (BAS) is a network designed to connect and automate various functions inside a building. In your own homes, if you enjoy telling your Alexa off for playing the wrong music, then you know Alexa gives you the ability to interconnect your heating, lighting, cameras, and various other interfaces through one set of controls. Albeit it far more complex, the same principle applies in commercial and industrial settings. 

We like to call them smart buildings. 

What makes them smart? Well, a BAS system gives us the ability to manage and automate a building, or network of buildings, to always run at peak energy efficiency levels. We can also track the status of the building through sensor devices within the system to detect any abnormalities. HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) is a key fundamental part which, 9 times out of 10, you will not think about as you do not see it running in the background. However, you will most certainly notice it if there is a fault. BAS and BMS (Building Management Systems) allow us to check and conduct preventative maintenance which helps to safeguard the building and drive down unnecessary costs. Leaving your systems unchecked and unmaintained can become costly and not good for the environment.  

For building automation systems (BAS), input and output devices connect with a controller and a user interface. These components all work together to gather, process, and adjust information. 

Most BAS have five main components: 

  • Input devices (sensors): measure data (like CO2 in air and humidity) 
  • Controllers: the system’s “brain” decides how to respond to that data 
  • Output devices (actuators): carry out the controller’s programmed responses 
  • Communications protocols: a language for the parts to “talk” to each other 
  • User interfaces (UI): screens and dashboards to review building data reports 

Building Intelligence is also changing how we look at device connectivity. Different applications need to be networked together via networking and IOT (Internet of Things). To achieve this, standardised device connections are needed so that the individual building systems and their applications can communicate with each other quickly and easily. Phoenix Contact solutions enable you to secure your long-term competitive and environmental edge in building automation. 

  • Smart networking: Device communication with suitable connections for IP-based protocols such as BACnet IP, Modbus/TCP, REST, and MQTT 
  • Comprehensive product portfolio: Connection technology and electronics housings for devices in building automation
  • Beyond the standard: Individual designs for intelligent devices for technical building services 
  • Excellent services: Expert advice and design-in support for quick connection solutions 

We offer that and more. Please have a look around our interactive 3d tour and see the possibilities of your next design. 

For more information, contact Karl on 07919 005153 or email kfazakerley@phoenixcontact.com



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