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Sunday, February 13, 2022

Future of Work Reimagine IoT and Smart Buildings

One of a number of good pieces 

The Future of Work Part 4: Reimagine IoT and Smart Buildings

Greg Dorai  in the CISCO Blog

Part 4 of the 6-part Future of Work Networking Series: Reimagine IoT and Smart Buildings

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Operational Technologies (OT) in Smart Buildings are essential to make hybrid work safer and better for people and better for the planet. The importance of environmental sustainability continues to increase as a growing percentage of consumers rate how “green” organizations are as a factor in whether they want to work for them or buy products from them.

Smart = Sustainable, Simple, and Safe

A key element of environmental sustainability is reducing an organization’s carbon footprint, especially in terms of energy consumption in buildings. Smart buildings can support a more sustainable hybrid work experience on campus by efficiently powering IoT and OT devices with Power over Ethernet (PoE) and continuously adapting building environments by automating management of lights, shades, and HVAC based on changing occupancy, weather, and time of year.

Smart building updates like these can have a significant impact on energy consumption and result in significant operational cost savings. Ideally, these benefits are achieved without creating a separate and independent network for smart building management by converging IoT and OT with the enterprise network in a simple, secure manner that provides end-to-end visibility, monitoring, and management from a single pane of glass. Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and BLE enabled environmental sensors can use the same access points to join the enterprise network yet be segmented from corporate traffic to maintain security policies.

Smart buildings are an important part of the future of hybrid work and driving wireless use cases in the coming years. Operational resources like printers, lights, shades, cameras, screens, HVAC, doors, and vending machines will be integrated through converged IT and OT networks, with a building’s operational technology interconnected and managed by the IT network.

The most compelling part of this approach are the new levels of automation that will make managing buildings be easier while at the same time driving down operational costs. In fact, by tracking people and their real-world work patterns through artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI and ML), the smart building will learn to manage itself.

Instead of just maintaining a temperature range, reimagine the thermostat. You probably already have a smart home thermostat, programmable and monitored from your smart phone. Imagine a building with thousands of these in workspaces, galleries, and conference rooms. They all interact with other sensors to detect the density of people in rooms and adjust the temperature, airflow, shades, and lighting accordingly.

Smart buildings will also simplify our hybrid work experience. The same IoT capabilities that conserve energy can also be used to make work more frictionless. For example, people can get real-time availability of meeting rooms and other office resources and services through Cisco DNA Spaces. A smart system can “know” when a large group of people is going to meet and turn on the HVAC ten minutes earlier to cool down the room to prepare for the incoming crowd. .... ' 

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