What is a BMS system? According to BMS-System.com:
“In a nutshell, BMS-System otherwise called as BAS or building automation is computer-based control system which reduces the workforce, automate the system, and saving the energy consumption in buildings by monitoring and controlling the mechanical and electrical equipment in modern-day buildings or any industrial plants.”
Building management will never go away nor will its systems, it will always be a requirement. However traditional systems are going to be disrupted and it’s going to happen sooner than you think.
In this blog I am going to explain why, I am going to explain how and then I am going to explain to you with what…
Why are traditional BMS systems going to be replaced / disrupted?
15 years ago, we all drove into work, we plugged a network cable into our laptops, and through the LAN (Local Area Network) we were able to access the file server, intranet and in some cases the internet.
Cloud computing was in its infancy and it was VERY expensive to operate at speed and scale.
Fast forward to today and the only cable you plug into your PC is a charging cable, networks are wireless and they get you straight on the internet without hassle! Your organisation has most likely selected a cloud provider, Amazon, Google, Microsoft… this is where you and your colleagues work, if your local hard drive crashes its no big deal as you can be up and running again in no time.
The world has embraced Cloud Technology and it will never look back – let’s face it, without cloud computing, the stay at home orders would not have been possible. These pandemic responses would have resulted in economic collapse without the existence of cloud computing.
The same will be true for connected devices in buildings, the way it was true for remote working. Let’s discuss how a traditional BMS system works and how it is made up? Please refer to the figure below:
For more information click here.
Most buildings you enter into today will have a BMS system, very much like the one shown above. These systems are totally operational on site, they are hard wired and in some instances controlled from the HMI (Human Machine Interface) control room. Some of these systems may have laws which mandate they are locally controlled, for example fire systems & PA systems – these cannot solely rely on the cloud and most likely never will. This being said, nothing stops us from connecting local systems to cloud based information technology services. This will allow for important storage of this data, which in turn could be used for data analytics. (Note: most systems cannot be controlled via HMI, they can only be monitored and then relay information to the HMI for display/alert purposes + data storage).
How will traditional BMS systems be disrupted?
Let’s discuss a water tank at facility X - when the water tanks level drops below a certain point this event will trigger a notification in the way of an email, text or visual alarm at the HMI, this event would be recorded and stored on the local server’s hard drive. A supervisor in the HMI control room would then be able to call maintenance to get them to attend to the low water level in the tank, or they would be able to notify the relevant contractor to action the rectification of the event. Once this is done the system will return to a healthy condition, which will be displayed on the local HMI.
Let's discuss the same water tank at Facility X with the presence of a smart platform - A low tank level alert is received, the plumber who is the authorised contractor for the site also gets notified of the event. They login directly from the email notification, they view the IOT sensor on the smart platform dashboard. The contractor can see there is a problem and decide to issue a digital job card to the plumber “technician” closest to the facility. This is received via Push Notification on his mobile device. The technician arrives on site, goes to the water tank and scans the Unique Asset Identifier “QR Code, Barcode, NFC chip” this pulls up the relevant tank checklists where the technician is able to verify his findings on arrival. Once the asset is rectified the technician is able to rescan + verify the tank is fulling up again, all of this being recorded digitally and in real time. The issue may be resolved before the Facility Manager even knew there was an issue.
For an explainer video which shows the above process in action click here
What will traditional BMS systems be disrupted by?
To put it simply - It is smarter, smaller and cheaper IOT devices; these devices communicate with the cloud, which in turn communicate with various different platforms. These platforms will handle the notifications and events in a similar manner to a traditional BMS system, the only difference is the data would be stored in the cloud! Correct ☺
This is where understanding SaaS benefit is key. It's all about pay as you go and there is no infrastructure or setup requirements. Access to these platforms is available from anywhere and they leverage continuous innovation through software releases. Storing and analysing the sensor data can then allow us to make intelligent decisions through AI, which in turn will drive automated processes in response to incidents and events. Machine learning may be applied to the sensor data, which in turn will enable identification of anomalies and potentially predict future incidents. Potential inefficiencies can also be highlighted and this can help reduce TCO, (total cost of ownership), for buildings and their operations.
Further to the above, we must assess the solutions available and ask ourselves, is this really what the building owner and client are looking for? Multiple platforms and multiple workflows triggered should an event occur? Probably not! There must be a better way of handling all of this data and information. It's at this point the SaaS pool becomes a bit smaller and one would hear the term "Enterprise Asset Management" with solutions like, IBM Maximo, SAP, where you would need to get in consultants & developers to connect the building to these platforms. This immediately opens a different can of worms, Enterprise Asset Management? Consultants? Developers? What would that cost and what budget allocation would you need, this all just sounds very expensive and out of our reach - right?
Typically you would be correct, however with SaaS technology advancements there are increasingly more options available. They are simpler to deploy, readily available and they don't come at the cost of bulky legacy Enterprise Asset Management solutions. A SaaS platform like the AssetPool Smart Inspection platform can provide an elegant solution with huge savings:
Let’s discuss some of the benefits of a cloud based Platform replacing traditional BMS systems:
- Removal of the level 2 Automation & network costs – THIS IS HUGE!
- Faulty cabling to sensors will be a thing of the past, you don’t even have to worry about paying for it or its installation in the first place.
- IOT sensors are easy to replace and with newer more advanced devices as they arrive on the market
- You can view your connected devices in real time from anywhere in the world, download powerful reports for discussion at management meetings.
- SaaS platforms like AssetPool continuously improve, new features, notifications, reporting, it just gets better and at no cost to you.
- Cloud hosted; failover protection provided by AWS across its network of data centers. (Note: Data storage can be region specific if required)
The above makes a compelling argument for you to relook at any BMS plans you have going forward and to rather speak to a platform provider like AssetPool. Not only will you get a better and more cost effective BMS system, you will benefit from Smart Workflow management & Smart Inspection.
Embrace the Power of Smart - Smart Monitoring, Smart Workflow, Smart Inspection
The above is the digitally advanced, efficient and greener way of managing your building/s - contact us today and let’s get you connected the Smart Way!