Modern buildings are dense, high-performance structures containing complex systems.
The users, on a daily basis, are often unaware of the efforts that were necessary to achieve the final result. They have few interactions with these systems and see only the terminals and equipment at their disposal. They also perceive, as a human being, the advantages of healthy air, right temperature, pleasant luminosity, high acoustic comfort. If any deviation is occurring, they will very quickly feel it, with an immediate effect on their comfort at work, and even on their productivity. These terminals and equipment would be nothing without the complex engineering that went into designing, sizing, estimating and testing them.
BMS – Building Management Systems
The modern building relies on numerous analysis and automation systems. These are grouped under the control of one or more Building Management Systems (BMS), or Centralized Technical Management. These complex systems are essential to respect the environmental and regulatory constraints imposed on buildings that have been in place for several years now. Their importance will only increase, as will their interaction with the building.
The BMS is a world where there are a lot of highly qualified specialists, which makes the understanding of these concepts delicate for the end user. At the same time, the industry lacks standardization in this field. The various solution providers promote their systems for BMS. This leads to a lack of compatibility of the equipment and their communication protocols. This disparity leads to many difficulties.
These systems are often misused, or misadjusted. This can be explained by the problems’ complexity they help us solve. They can only be adjusted by the specialists mentioned above.
There are gaps in the understanding of these complex systems among the actors of the AEC industry (Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry), at the level of project management and construction management. Unlike other industries such as automotive, building systems are not always well identified as critical to the final outcome. Thus they are sometimes (often?) disqualified in terms of importance in projects. This can sometimes happen at the very beginning of project estimation.
What are the possibilities and avenues for improvement in this area?
Let’s use an analogy to explain our point of view at Catenda. Let’s imagine that a building is assembled more or less like a computer. In this perspective, we have many complex components to implement. These must work together in logical sequences, and must perform operations in response to external commands from a user.
Example: I want to adjust the temperature of the meeting room by +2 degrees Celsius.
To date, the users have only one interface available, a thermostat, or other terminal, allowing them to adjust the temperature. Using the computer analogy, they have access to the computer keyboard. However, they have no screen or device showing them the actions they have just initiated, and no feedback on the possibility of that action.
Furthermore, if they want to adjust the brightness of that same room at the same time, or make some other setting, they would most likely have to use another terminal/switch. The latter will also not provide any feedback on the realization or possibility of their action.
Computers have solved this concern by using an operating system. This is a software layer that connects and organizes actions and information transfers between specialized components. Interaction with the operating system is done through software, providing a user interface, easy-to-use after a short learning period.
BOS – Building Operation Systems
Buildings now need operating systems, or Building Operation Systems (BOS), to be operated more efficiently. They also need to provide an optimal user experience, in compliance with regulatory and environmental issues.
Catenda Duo (previously Catenda BOS) is intended to be a service software operating on the basis of a Building Operating System.
A Building Operating System (BOS) solves some of the problems mentioned at the beginning of this article. It standardizes the communication between the different systems and their equipment. It also provides an additional level of service through its interoperability with other systems not restricted to the building industry.
In addition, a BOS can connect to the Internet, as well as the full potential of existing services in the world of data and online services. This software interface benefits from the power of the associated algorithms. As a result, the collection and analysis of data becomes relatively simple, and above all, automatic.
Different professionals can then join our industry (i.e., construction industry) to bring their skills and knowledge.
What are the main advantages of having a BOS installed in your building?
- Centralized supervision of systems;
- Use of IoT equipment;
- Centralized collection of system data;
- Interoperability with third-party software services;
- Ability to aggregate new services and systems in the future.
There are still many challenges to overcome. A BOS is a complex system, requiring the acquisition of new skills and know-how. Above all, it is imperative to make the different systems already on the market communicate in the most fluid and efficient way possible.
For Catenda, the emergence of these Building Operating Systems opens up new possibilities. It is now possible to combine building systems and software. With Catenda Duo (previously Catenda BOS), we offer to bring our expertise to the world of connected buildings, with the objective of facilitating the use of data. Catenda Duo (previously Catenda BOS) provides a service to the daily users of a building, and more generally to non-specialists. It allows them to benefit from a simple and intuitive interface with the advanced systems of their building.
Julien Benoit, Chief Customer Officer (CCO) at Catenda.