Building operating System, BOS, everything you need to know

Building Operating System – What you need to know


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.

Modern buildings rely on numerous systems to function efficiently and effectively. Two terms people will hear increasingly are BMS (Building Management Systems) and BOS (Building Operating Systems). What are their primary roles, and how do they differ? Let’s delve into these questions in this article!

What is the difference between BMS (Building Management Systems) and BOS (Building Operation Systems)?

In essence, the key difference between BMS and BOS lies in their primary roles and operational scope. BMS or Building Management Systems primarily focus on automating and controlling the building’s resources such as HVAC, lighting, and security. They ensure optimal performance of these systems, often providing real-time monitoring and analytics for energy consumption and equipment performance.

On the other hand, BOS or Building Operation Systems, act as a middleware, creating a bridge between the building’s equipment and external applications. They are designed to manage the complexity of the building’s infrastructure, providing quick access to data from the equipment and enabling interoperability and integrations between different systems. They extend the functionality of BMS by facilitating data collection, analysis, and automatic operations based on this data.

BMS – Building Management Systems

Modern buildings rely on a complex network of analysis and automation systems. These systems, often grouped under the umbrella of Building Management Systems (BMS) or Centralized Technical Management, are essential for ensuring buildings comply with ever-evolving environmental regulations. As buildings become more sophisticated, the importance and interaction of these systems will only continue to grow.

However, the BMS world presents a challenge. Its reliance on highly specialized professionals can make the underlying concepts difficult for end users to understand. At the same time, the lack of industry standardization means different digital service providers promote incompatible systems and communication protocols, leading to integration difficulties.

Misuse or misadjustment of these systems is a real concern, often due to the complexity of the problems they aim to solve. Only specialists mentioned above can properly adjust them.

This lack of understanding extends beyond end users. Actors within the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) industry, particularly in project and construction management, often lack a comprehensive understanding of these critical systems. Unlike other industries like automotive, building systems are sometimes undervalued during project planning and estimation, potentially leading to suboptimal outcomes.

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 platform, previously known as Catenda BOS, is a service software built upon a Building Operating System (BOS) foundation.


Catenda Duo Logo


A Building Operating System (BOS), Catenda Duo for example, 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 and integration 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 benefits 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.

Catenda Duo for Smart Buildings: Software System Empowering Non-Specialists

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 platform (previously Catenda BOS), we offer to bring our expertise to the world of connected buildings through an intensive set of features, with the objective of facilitating the use of data.

Catenda Duo platform (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 information systems of their building.

With Catenda Duo, facility managers can collect all the data of the buildings and optimize them. This easy-to-use Building Operations System enables them to reduce the environmental impact of your buildings.

Want to dive deeper into BMS, BOS, and how Catenda Duo can help? Reach out to the Catenda team here!

Julien Benoit, Chief Customer Officer (CCO) at Catenda.