Both smart homes and smart buildings are buildings that are connected to the network through the Internet of Things and with the increased deployment of the 5G network that is capable of supporting thousands of connected devices at once. Thanks to this, these homes have fully automated systems and optimised management of resources such as electricity, security, air conditioning, access control, etc., to improve the quality of life of those who live in them.
The concept of smart buildings is applicable to all types of buildings, from homes to offices, health centres, etc., that are connected, with the specific aims of improving their safety and achieving greater energy efficiency.
What are the characteristics of a smart home?
Smart homes often share the same main characteristics as smart buildings:
- Energy efficiency. Smart homes, and therefore smart buildings, have systems that optimise energy consumption and prioritise sustainability and energy savings. They are also built with environmentally friendly materials, thus reducing waste and CO2 emissions.
- Security. They use various systems and installations that integrate cameras and sensors to monitor what is happening in real time.
- Up-to-date and flexible systems. Buildings adapt to continuous technological changes and upgrades.
- Comfort. The automation of functions brings comfort and convenience to users, as its goal is to make life easier for its occupants.
- What are the benefits of smart buildings?
Smart buildings cater for the practical needs of their inhabitants. Similarly, thanks to the use of new technologies and digitalisation, architects and urban planners can design flexible, functional, safe and more comfortable buildings and cities. Thus, through technological innovation, they are able to centralise all the building’s installations and integrate all the services and systems to automate their management.
Connected buildings have a very important ecological aspect and are designed to implement environmental strategies and achieve significant energy savings. In addition, they succeed in reducing operating and maintenance costs, as both owners and managers have real-time information on everything that happens in these spaces and are able to maintain a useful and economically beneficial building for the owner.
The role of the 5G network and the IoT in smart buildings
To achieve the objectives of safety, comfort and sustainability, intelligent buildings rely on the Internet of Things and Building Management System (BMS). They also maintain control of the facilities and ensure appropriate data management. An example could be the control of energy in the common spaces of the building such as adjusting the room temperature.
The IoT is not only used to automate the home’s procedures, but also to create consumption forecasts. With the information provided by each device (appliances, motion sensors, etc.), the smart home will analyse and respond to the specific needs of the owner or resident, generating the most efficient results possible. These systems are designed on top of the 5G network, which is capable of managing all the building’s massive data in a simple way.
The 5G network meets communication demands in a secure and unique way, while providing extensive connectivity, augmented reality services, 8K video and online remote support, among others. But, to achieve fully smart buildings, the staggered adaptation of 5G, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and other innovations such as the Blockchain are desirable. This would allow building managers to have information at all times on the condition, coding and use of the building, and to better predict the thermal, lighting, acoustic behaviour and personal flows of the space.
Building automation and home automation in smart buildings
The smart home is a concept that is connected to that of home automation, i.e., all those techniques aimed at automating a home, which integrate technology into security, energy management, well-being and communications systems. Therefore, building automation is the automation of the overall building operation, also through new technologies.
In both cases, the aim is to reduce energy consumption, increase comfort and safety, as well as the management of communication systems and optimise resource and waste management to improve the quality of life of users through the use of sensors and control systems.
In addition, thanks to real-time access to data, they help in maintenance and supply control tasks; for example, they are able to detect faults or adjust consumption according to weather conditions.