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Why your smart building development needs an overarching technical strategy

Jul 2021 • 9 min read

Your technical strategy is the DNA of your smart building. A joined-up technical strategy at the development stage ensures the faultless running of all your systems in the long term. This enhances your tenant satisfaction, attracting better tenants and increasing your yields. The implementation of an overarching technical strategy from day one is essential to a smooth development and flawless running. An integrated approach unites all of the complex systems in your building, drawing your performance data together into a manageable format. In this article, we will find out how.

What does an overarching technical strategy achieve?

Smart planning ensures your smart buildings’ systems work together cohesively

Smart building systems are the way forward for facility management. When planning a smart building strategy, there isn’t a one size fits all solution. A great deal of consultancy, technical expertise and a deep understanding of smart building features is required. Every smart building has different infrastructure and different architectural objectives. All of these are closely examined when engineering your smart building strategy. Many construction companies are confident with building the structures but may lack the technical expertise of how to join up disparate systems with complex controls. This can cause chaos and a scattered approach.

The criticality of a robust strategy

The Cambridge dictionary defines strategy as “a detailed plan for achieving success in situations such as war, politics, business, industry, or sport, or the skill of planning for such strategies.”

The goal of your smart building’s technical strategy is to join up all of your systems so they work harmoniously on a secure and reliable network. How do we achieve this? To create this strategy, you need skilled and experienced smart building consultants. This is what ITVET does. We have managed many prestigious smart property development projects. Our team work hands-on with your software and systems developers, contractors and site managers. Working closely with them at every stage of the process to gain a firm understanding of your smart building’s technical strategy. 

A logical approach to smart buildings

The most successful smart building development projects require ninja-level coordination skills and technical expertise. Successful deployment requires a specialist skillset to synchronize your software controls, security, mechanical and electrical systems. Relying on individual subcontractors to execute this strategy can result in added complexity and chaos. Subcontractors with deep expertise in their own mechanical and electrical systems may not necessarily understand the importance of network security. They may not know how their system integrates with other (IoT) devices on the network. More than likely they do not understand the various layers of an IT network and how all the technologies converge to work as a harmonious system. To work properly and avoid conflicts, all the operational technologies must work together flawlessly.

ITVET team speak the same language as your individual technology providers. We translate both software and hardware technical requirements into workable solutions. As smart building project managers, we can advocate for you, problem solve and deliver a technical strategy that works reliably first time.

What happens after your smart building is created? With ITVET, you have guaranteed IT support as part of your overarching technical strategy.

How does your smart building benefit from an overarching technical strategy?

It’s vitally important that your smart building development project objectives are deeply understood and met. What are your architectural drivers for using each smart building technology? Why are you harnessing smart building technology? You may be aiming to enhance your energy efficiency, create a unique customer experience, or ensure your property stands out in a crowded property market. Your smart building strategy ensures that you meet all of your objectives.

Ensuring your priorities are upheld

ITVET’s smart buildings team create a tailored digital strategy that fulfils your functional, design and operational requirements. ITVET’s experts create strategies that are scalable, customer-focused, and custom-made for your asset. We work with you to ensure your technical strategy meets your brief. We also ensure objectives are upheld in the design, construction, and maintenance phases of your smart building.

Identifying and solving problems

The nature of smart building features is that they are logically interconnected with the fabric of your building and woven into your network.  Understanding the interoperability of each technology and driving a smart integration strategy is critical to your projects’ success.

ITVET work with you to create your overarching technical strategy to remove any limitations from your project.  We help you select the right technical services and solutions for you and your tenants.

Investing in a robust smart building strategy

As part of your long-term smart building strategy, you will be thinking about your future objectives. These may be positioning your building favorably in the property market to avoid rental gaps. Or, simply pushing to lower your operational costs. In the fullness of time, you may use behavioral analytics and crowd monitoring technology to further automate and enhance your users’ experience. Real-time occupancy monitoring enables you to understand your tenants needs as they evolve and tailor your user experience around them.

The Consequences of not having a technical strategy

Harmonious communication

Without a clear technical strategy, it’s hard to ensure your projects’ priorities and goals are upheld. You may manage multiple subcontractors, all skilled for the service they provide, yet these subcontractors don’t work together or communicate with each other. This approach creates a slow and disjointed building process fraught with risk.

Lack of connection and flow   

A smart building is smart because all of the components are linked to one IT network. This idea of connection is fundamental and needs to be in the overarching technical strategy. When you hire multiple subcontractors to implement your mechanical and electrical systems, they may only work at the physical network layer. They don’t always understand how the IoT and other technical solutions are layered with your mechanical and electrical solutions. Additionally, they may not understand what you need from your systems’ data and where it needs to go to optimize performance. These things can cause a number of problems at the smart building development stage. A solid smart building technical strategy ensures a truly frictionless user experience. Our experts deeply understand how your smart building is interconnected, ensuring faultless performance.

How stable is your network?

Smart building performance relies on many sensors and interconnected IoT devices. Each send individual data streams across your network. But what if your data network goes down? If your appliances such as air conditioning or lighting are reliant on your network connection your tenant satisfaction vastly decreases. Some smart buildings even control key functions like toilet flushing via their network. In this case, a network failure could make the building very uncomfortable, very quickly.

Strong security system in a smart building

How secure are your systems?

What if someone unauthorised obtains malicious access to your data network and all of the information it contains?

Core IoT systems are vulnerable to attack

With the rise of IoT devices generally, there is a specialist part of the cybersecurity skillset that is growing more than others. The IT world is waking up to the fact that the IoT approach of connecting physical devices and making them report back their data creates many security vulnerabilities. The cybersecurity niche called Operational Technology (OT) is responsible for ensuring that critical systems remain protected from cyber-attacks. The best approach to security is prevention. Therefore, building your entire network architecture with layers of embedded security is optimal to mitigate data loss or attack.

Here is how ITVET keeps your network safe:

  • Consultation and design – Our dedicated network specialists work with you to design a network that forms a structured backbone for all smart building functions and systems.
  • Network installation – Our deployment engineers have years of smart building experience. They install state-of-the-art data networks in flagship building projects all over the UK. They manage this process from end-to-end. This includes physical cabling, data cabinets, and switches.
  • Infrastructure audit – We audit and monitor the integrity of your cabling switch infrastructure. 
  • Network security – We penetration test both externally and internally to ensure the security of your network.
  • Network monitoring – Our advanced systems monitor your network 24/7.
  • 24/7 network support – Our team of qualified IT Engineers support your network round the clock.

Often, during smart building projects, we find that little to no consideration is given towards network security. Security is a vital component to the creation and maintenance of a smart building which is why it must be given high priority within your strategy.

Use your data smartly

A KPMG survey on real estate technology discovered that only 29% of firms use data analytics techniques, and 54% don’t have current plans. As a result, these firms struggle to make fast decisions that meet the needs of their customers. Many industries deal with data chasms where they collect an exponential amount of data, and don’t know what to do with it. To effectively understand your data, intelligent tools are required to enable customer-led decisions.

ITVET’s data software

ITVET’s data analytics software clearly displays your collected data metrics. These metrics deliver invaluable insights. This software aggregates data from many places into one management console. We tailor the software to your buildings’ requirements with custom-built modules. This allows you to access your metrics at any time. Having clear access to your property’s data analytics increases your yields and feeds important management decisions.

ITVET builds the data aggregation into the smart building software. Our analytics software enables you to easily interpret this data. This would include occupancy hotspots in your smart building, what equipment is touched, the routes people take and much more. This real-time behavioural and performance data enables you to make decisions to ensure your asset’s performance remains high.  

How ITVET can help 

ITVET work with hundreds of clients to create custom smart buildings that are reliable and successful. We provide a frictionless experience to create your overarching technical strategy. Our on-going support, and network monitoring exceed normal checks. Providing you with the tools to drive returns within your smart building. This includes our data software so you can see how your asset is used, and how you can optimise it. An overarching network, systems, and data strategy means you don’t need to rely on the collaboration of disparate subcontractors. You can expect a clear vision from day one and know clearly that your criteria are always met.

ITVET’s strategy examples

ITVET has worked with hundreds of clients to create bespoke overarching technical strategies for many smart building projects. We listen to our clients and create logical smart buildings with unique features that really stand out in a crowded market. Here are two examples:

One Heddon Street

The slogan of One Heddon Street is ‘Work. Space. Redefined’. One Heddon Street ensures workers have the perfect environment for productivity. They offer flexible memberships for tenants to use their space. It’s the smart building features that make the space attractive. Tenant comfort was the ultimate priority in the creation of the technical strategy.

Here is what we provided through our strategy:  

  • Superfast internet – 1GB of resilient Wi-Fi backbone.
  • Thermal comfort – tenants have access to change the temperature of where they are sat to suit them.
  • Biodiversity – There is a living wall, an indoor garden, and trees are planted on each floor to create a relaxed ambience.
  • Indoor air quality – The fresh air supply to the offices is 50% above the minimum recommended level.

The Crystal

Events venue The Crystal is accredited as one of the world’s greenest buildings. Located in the Royal Docks, this smart building has seven equipped meeting rooms, a state-of-the-art auditorium, and a number of event spaces. The smart building features allow The Crystal to attract eco-conscious clientele to host their events there. This was fundamental to the strategy. ITVET used smart building features to reduce operating costs and the asset’s carbon footprint. Here are the solutions we implement in the overarching technical strategy:

  • 80% of its hot water is heated by solar energy and ground source heat pumps.
  • 70% less COemissions compared to other offices in the UK.
  • Tenants can easily control lighting, temperature, microphone volume, all from a tablet or phone. 

Smart buildings require intelligent thinking. ITVET are experts in smart building strategy. We use a custom-made technical strategy to ensure a seamless experience in the creation and maintenance of your smart building. Want to find out what your strategy could look like?

Get in touch today.

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