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Smart Thinking for Smart Planning: Control

The third entry in our series on preparing to design and build a smart building brings a new set of questions and possibilities, based on four themes: Connect, Collaborate, Control, and Conserve.

Here’s what Control means to us.

How will:

  • the design make being in the building enjoyable?
  • it control temperature, ventilation, and lighting?
  • it keep people and networks safe from intrusion?
  • it let maintenance teams know which areas need immediate cleaning or repair?

We might use sensors to control temperature and lighting in a way that mimics circadian cycles, which can increase cognitive function and reduce stress. This would be terrific in hospitals or in situations where people can’t get out of the building during the day.

We might specify smart glass that gets darker when sunlight is too hot or too bright for comfort.

We could monitor air quality, increasing ventilation and activating filtering systems when dust or chemicals are present.

We must design effective security monitors, with clear lines of sight and automated responses to unwelcome intrusions.

We might have digital ID cards that let us know who’s in the building, at what times, and in what usage patterns.

If we’re collecting data about individuals, we could give them a way to opt out.

We might select a cloud-based hosting provider to provide cybersecurity—they have the best and most current security software, malware info, and encryption systems.

Other monitors could survey shared areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms, or dressing and stock rooms, to send out maintenance updates on a real-time basis.

In areas with frequent extreme weather or seismic events, sensors could collect information about stress in the physical fabric of the building that would activate alarms when strain is detected.

Retail outlets could use RFID tags to monitor stock for freshness and inventory.

Geo-fencing—GPS-based detectors—would let retailers create virtual barriers around sensitive locations, and send alerts to managers when products are moved past the fence.