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Intellectual Building

References / Intellectual Building

Automated control system of upkeep of building (ACS) is one of the basic components of Intellectual building. ACS is a system of software-hardware, the primary task of which is providing reliable and guaranteed management of all systems forming life-support infrastructure of a building and actuation mechanisms. The system is capable to make the correct decision and perform corresponding action, to inform the corresponding service about the event, due to complete non-separate data from all operated subsystems.

Structured approach used nowadays by the majority of solution providers consists in creation of Intellectual building infrastructure on SCS basis. First, Structured Cabling System is designed, then necessary functional systems are connected to SCS.

We consider functional approach more promising: there is a list of requirements and wishes to infrastructure; then the primary task of design engineer is to integrate these systems into the unified "organism", according to the assumed model.

The basic objective precondition of making a building Intellectual is abundance of services. Quantity of services is almost equal in any building, objective standard here is intensity of their application, counting on conventional square meter.

If, for example, security system of a building is limited to five cameras on its perimeter and detectors on windows and doors, then such building does not need intellectualization. Besides, services should be provided by the building itself, instead of being external towards it: when heating system is controlled only from district boiler-house, and lifts - from local Maintenance management, they do not belong to the building in some sense. So, Intellectual building should integrate a fair number of services belonging to the building.

Intellectual building can be interpreted as "reasonably constructed".

It means that the building should be designed and constructed in such a way that all services can be integrated with each other with minimum expenses (criteria are: finances, time, labor intensity), then their service is organized in an optimum way.

Besides, procedure of Intellectual building system modification means addition of new services as soon as they appear.

The following situation is an illustration. In the evening employees leave the building. Someone can return, stay up late, but sooner or later everybody leaves the building. Security system defines that at some time all employees working in some zone (floor, section) have gone home. The reaction to it can be de-energizing of a floor lighting system and also switch-off of desktop computers in the network (this function is used in many modern network adapters).

Energy saving is obvious in this case. To add partial switch-off of heating system (during winter time) or its transfer into low power mode at night, and material benefits will be quite evident. Definition of employee presence in the building can also be useful from the point of view of data security. If the employee left the building his accounting record in information system gets blocked, and nobody, even knowing the password, can enter the network under his name. Moreover, having the information about workstation from which the intruder tried to enter the network and about the one who exactly was indoors at that moment authorized persons can assume proper measures.

Historically, the concept of Intellectual building was promoted first of all by SCS manufacturers. Having come to the concept of universal structured low-current cabling system of a building, they logically decided to spread this approach from communication environment to other systems. First of all, it was necessary to get rid of additional conductors connecting automation devices. This problem was first solved in 1978 by the companies X-10 USA and Leviton which developed technology for household appliances management through household electric system wires. Today standard X-10 is the most widespread. However, X-10 is already considered slow and outdated as it was created for electric-lighting devices management. While updating, many manufacturers united into Electronic Industries Association (EIA) which is engaged in development of Consumer Electronic Bus (CEBus) standard approved in 1992.

Nowadays, the standard is open, and any company can produce equipment using communication protocol CEBus. Steering signal is transferred through household electric system wires, twisted pair or coaxial cable, in radio-frequency or infrared band. For various devices it is possible to choose the most convenient way: for example, lighting devices - through electric wiring, video equipment - through coaxial cable, conditioners - through twisted pair, infrared rays and radio signals are universal. Actuation mechanisms or home network nodes communicate through routers and data bridges connecting various signal and data carriers.

The main advantage of CEBus in comparison with X-10 is data exchange rate reaching 10 000 bps, irrespective of carrier type. It provides the necessary rate of system response and short time of active state of nodes. In our country the concept of Intellectual building began to be promoted directly after SCS installation business began to develop. Recognition of Intellectual building prospects led to the fact that the leading installers either brought their businesses on integrator level, or cooperated with organizations professionally engaged in various subsystems of a building (or both). The leading SCS manufacturers act the same way by making agreements with manufacturers of equipment for various subsystems of a building. Today, technologies of automation control and monitoring systems have already reached the level of unified standards, mass production and, as a consequence, reasonable prices.

Standards for the "foundation" Intellectual building Ц SCS exist for a long time and are implemented in practice. Thus, the idea of Intellectual building has turned from theoretical into practical one. Only one barrier Ц mental Ц is left on the way of Intellectual building concept. Like all perspective innovations, the concept of Intellectual building deals with national mentality features during introduction in our country. Experts recognize that during implementation of Intellectual building projects so far they manage to reach approximately 40-60 % of really possible "intellectualization level". There can be many reasons of such state of affairs: from stereotypes formed in the environment of developing Russian business to banal budget constraint of the client.

One of the toughest problems is separatism of certain services, especially in the regions. Separatism is caused by both personal and professional interests, and also by discrepancies in requirements of various regulatory documents. The main demonstration of separatism is unwillingness to have something in common with other services. Common argument in this case is that everyone should be the complete owner in his subsystem, do everything there paying no regard to others and be responsible for everything. Any penetration of the territory considered by the chief of subdivision as his own, is considered a personal insult. In turn, a number of regulatory documents prescribe how fire and security systems should be organized. They were made a long time ago, without regard to technologies development, but heads of corresponding departments often prefer to adhere to them even if everything works much worse "by rules".

In government agencies it is practically impossible to overpersuade such votaries of the letter of official documents. However, Intellectual buildings cannot be regulated by any GOSTs, because subsystem interaction in them is not described at such a level. Reasons of cost cutout due to optimum use of manpower resources at upkeep of building convince very few people. Human labor is still considered the cheapest resource in our country.

Besides, heads of divisions who think by categories of department budgets and staffing table limits cannot be pleased by reduction of expenses for the personnel. Finally, problems can arise during interaction with construction organizations. Builders prevent a considerable part of contract from being given to another party in every way. Besides, the client, as a rule, receives many offers from other organizations to make each separate subsystem faster and cheaper. These problems, in general, are quite solvable, but take a lot of time and nerves from all participants of the process.

One more source of problems is misunderstanding by the client of what Intellectual building is, but we will not consider it separately, because the article sets the task of its elimination. Work on any difficult project implies active participation of all interested parties. Construction of Intellectual building demands certain solutions from its future owner. First of all, he should understand what it is needed for.

We should notice, by the way, that at equal functionality expenses for the centralized building control system will be approximately equal for buildings of different scales. Thus, incremental cost of "Intellectual square meter" is inversely proportional to the project scale, while cost of "manual" management is directly proportional. Accordingly, construction of Intellectual building makes sense when the expected difference of these overall costs is fine with you. Besides, building intelligence should correspond to the value of contents.

If processes occurring in a building bring good income, and time of employees and information are valuable assets, then expenses, for example, for developed system of control over movements and access to premises appear quite justified. If strict labor discipline does not matter much, and most data are open for all employees, then it is irrational to make big investments in this direction. Functionality of Intellectual building should compensate expenses for its construction, otherwise, there is no point in it.

Finally, almost traditional recommendation Ц do not save on scalability expenses. No reasonable system expandability margin will take more means than its subsequent upgrading, the cost of which can overlap the cost of annual system operation.

Certainly, no review can give exhaustive picture of how Intellectual buildings are constructed. Besides, the concept of Intellectual building is multidimensional and supposes a lot of variations depending on problems it has to solve. And, finally, at competent designing intellectual level can be increased gradually, distributing investments in time. In the near future Intellectual building can become a duplicated solution with quite reasonable price not only for super-rich customers.

The main thing expected by many companies from "intellectualization" of buildings is reduction of expenses for energy consumption. Intellectual buildings connected to the Network allow extracting data on energy consumption by various devices, in order to make reasonable decisions on energy policy of the enterprise. According to ARC Advisory Group calculations, it helps reduce energy consumption to 20 %. Among other advantages of Intellectual buildings is reduction of labor costs for monitoring of various subsystems installed in different structures, from the general centre. The important basis of saving is also increase in labor productivity of employees by providing more comfortable working conditions.

  • Flexibility increase 28,1 %
  • Provision of safer and more comfortable working conditions 34,4 %
  • Security enhancement 43,8 %
  • Integration of operations 46,9 %
  • Reduction of energy consumption 68,8 %

Concept of Intellectual buildings construction

If we distract from advertising slogans, intellectual building is one equipped with means of automatic control over all life-support systems. Life-support complex of intellectual building is formed by the following systems:

  • anti-intrusion protection with subsystems: a) perimeter defense, b) control of access into the building or separate premises (security locks, intercoms); and c) detection of unauthorized penetration inside and movements in the building (various sensor devices);
  • external and internal video monitoring (video camera, video servers);
  • fire-protection (fire detectors, automatic sprinklers etc.);
  • control over water and electric power consumption (slave counters intended not only for visual control, but also for transfer of measured parameters to higher level of ACS; their requalification, indices adjustment, activation-deactivation, etc., can be performed remotely through digital interface);
  • information (provides access to internal and external network resources);
  • management of power equipment and lighting (lighting inside the building, external lighting, elevators);
  • climate control and ventilation;
  • telephone, with output to telephone urban set;

and other specific equipment not influencing safety and functioning of a building (for example, electronic boards of exchange rates and illuminated advertising).

Control over system operation can be distributed or supervisory. Thus, the watchman or local guards can operate systems of video monitoring, access control and anti-intrusion protection; person in charge of fire safety - fire-protection system, and local area network administrator - access of building network users to external and internal information resources, for example, file servers or public networks (Internet).

The difference of "Intellectual" building from the automated one mainly consists in possibility to program controlling systems so that reaction to events within the building perimeter is predetermined by scenario. Any of such building subsystems either functions completely off-line, recording its actions into event log, or communicates with the operator on-line, requesting for confirmation of actions. For example, if ignition occurs in a building, depending on configuration, the system can automatically initiate a call of a fire-fighting team or send the message about a fire to the panel of the responsible operator. In the second case, the decision on firefighters call will be made by the operator.

All life-support systems can be covered by integrated cable structure, or each of them will be constructed on its own cables. Switched network Ethernet, for example, can serve as common information-carrying medium. However, reliability of system as a whole will be lower in this case, since in case of cabling damage functioning of all systems connected to this segment of cable is disrupted.