Future Building Management Systems (FBMS)

In a recent article entitled Future Building Management Systems author Jim Sinopoli PE described his vision for a building management system of the future. We think BuiltSpace is there today.

Jim defined the requirements as

  • The platform for the FBMS must be similar to that of smartphones and tablets. The base FBMS platform will have an operating system, much like Apple’s IOS or Google’s Android, where third parties provide the applications. Everyone is familiar and comfortable with that model.
  • The base operating system for the FBMS will to do the heavy lifting: acquiring data from different building systems, standardizing or normalizing the data into an open or standard database, possibly using something like XML/SOAP.  This is really extensive middleware, in that the operating system can not only deal with the BAS communications protocol standards and data formats, but also non-standard data (i.e. some PLCs), as well as other facility management and business systems, such as work order systems, asset management and incorporating data from BIM files.
  • The FBMS must allow third-party applications for specific manufacturer equipment. Given that, every company that manufactures a valve, fan, sensor, etc. will create an app for their equipment, much like they have for product objects in BIM. These apps are likely to be much richer in monitoring and managing the equipment and will create a burgeoning marketplace.
  • Third-party analytic software applications to optimize the building’s performance are critical as they will keep high performance buildings performing at their peak. Recent industry experience with fault detection and diagnostics have been very positive and provide a rationale for similar analytics in many other building systems. Applications that can consolidate issues and functions across systems, such as alarm management and master scheduling will become popular. Building managers will be able to test, compare and pick and choose the applications they need from a variety of third-parties.

    The integration capabilities of the FBMS must be extensive. It has to go beyond the typical fire, HVAC, access control and elevator integration domain, and progressively integrate any building system, facility management systems (work orders, preventive maintenance, inventory, etc.), business systems, the smart grid and external data such as weather and energy markets.

  • The FBMS must be an open and secured system. That doesn’t mean it’s free, but it does require the tools and rules that program the FBMS be transparent so the building owner has options and choices in maintaining and programming the FBMS. System security, which is almost non-existent on traditional BMS, is a must on an open FBMS and probably best dealt with via IT security appliances and software.
  • The FBMS must be able to “data mine” a user’s use of the FBMS to identify their preferences and particular data that appears to be important to that user. Each dashboard is meant to convey important information and key indicators and requires an examination of the needs of individual and group audiences. FBMS analytic tools of users’ routines, usage and interactions with the FBMS will help in determining what the user really needs to see.

Jim, we agree with you that the FBMS user interface will be mobile technology. When there is an issue in a building it’s unlikely that a desktop will be nearby. Access is via Smartphone, accessed by QR code scan in the room or on the asset where the issue occurred, positively identifying the user location.

The BuiltSpace platform does all the heavy lifting, not just for a single building, but for a diverse portfolio of buildings. We can talk to existing BAS but also offer a full suite of tools to manage assets, asset service history, occupant relationships and supplier/vendor interactions. Integrating service histories from outside vendors? No problem. Oh, and we incorporate data from BIM files.

BuiltSpace is built on Microsoft SharePoint, an open platform designed for collaboration, with extended multi-level, role based security features designed by BuiltSpace. SharePoint provides configurable “webparts” which can encapsulate secure third-party applications for specific manufacturer equipment. With extensive Microsoft SharePoint expertise available at BuiltSpace, or in the marketplace, there is little doubt that our FBMS can be extended to meet client needs. The system is robust, secure, and open.

We also recognize that people operate and maintain building systems. The FBMS must have the ability to connect with the physical building using machine readable barcodes, allowing direct access to key asset or space data or documentation, based on user need to know, and the ability to update service records on-site, using any Smartphone or tablet.

And, BuiltSpace is designed to manage portfolios of buildings of any size, economically. When over 97 percent of buildings are less than 100,000 sqft in total floor area, it only makes sense. Web-based,with a software-as-a-service model, managing a single building or a portfolio of buildings with a total floor area of 100,000 sq.ft. will cost under $3000 annually.

Jim, I think the future building management system you envision is here.