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Three Key Elements for Future-Ready Commercial Buildings & Parking Facilities

Published: 2024-02-29

Commercial buildings must unceasingly advance to meet user demands and the growing volume of technology needed to provide state-of-the-art functionality and technological benefits. The commercial building market is growing steadily, along with the size of individual buildings, directly increasing the need for always-on, full-coverage connectivity to service-connected devices and to manage energy consumption.

Beyond the commercial building itself, many of the elements of a smart building have now extended to the parking facility. Parking facilities have evolved from simple concrete structures that only need to consider the distance from a building’s entrance, to more complex structures that need to incorporate safety, security, access control, sustainable lighting, communications, Internet of Things (IoT) enablement and electrification for electric vehicle (EV) charging.

We will focus on three elements of the commercial building and associated parking facilities that must be considered to ensure a future-ready, IoT-enabled smart building: sustainability initiatives, infrastructure and technology. Integrators should have a solid understanding of all three of these elements to create smarter outcomes for their customers – the building owners and operators.

Due to rapidly changing demands around connectivity, data usage, health and safety needs, as well as concern for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments, commercial building owners are looking to integrators to help them establish future-forward sustainability initiatives to meet their customers’ expectations.

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Having determined sustainability initiatives alongside building owners, the integrator can design a well-planned infrastructure layer, which is perhaps the most critical step for a successful, future-ready smart building. Knowing that the infrastructure for your smart building project must be efficient, robust and reliable in order to support the technology and applications needed today, it also ensures reliable performance and scalability for the digital innovations of tomorrow.

With a future-ready infrastructure layer in place, integrators can then implement the technologies and systems for a future-ready solution to achieve the sustainability initiatives for their customers through improved building efficiency.

These efficiencies offer cost reduction on utilities, maintenance, operations and waste management, and can simplify operational processes and automations to provide for increased productivity and labor savings. Ultimately, each of these three key aspects leads to greater operational and budgetary efficiencies, which provide greater ROI while improving the built environment to meet and exceed customer expectations.

Commercial Buildings: Technology & Infrastructure

Smart buildings are no longer a trend, they are an expectation. Within the commercial building, technological advances and IoT enablement improve operations of environmental controls, lighting, safety and security – all with positive implications on sustainability initiatives. And the development of the connected ceiling has led to an entire ecosystem directly above our heads that enables not just lighting, but access points and a multitude of devices.

Technology and data are driving the need for a more robust and resilient infrastructure with more power, higher bandwidth and extended distances within buildings and their parking facilities. As IoT increases and more devices are introduced to the commercial building environment, businesses are combining disparate building systems into a converged infrastructure. Converged infrastructures work to optimize building systems, operations and maintenance. All of this leads to greater opportunities for integrators to provide more for their customers, while increasing share of wallet.

This makes the relatively small increase for your customers in upfront infrastructure investment an obvious decision. Having an infrastructure capable of supporting these escalating bandwidth needs throughout multiple generations of technology – without having to upgrade the cabling infrastructure in the middle of its lifecycle – provides a cost savings for the building owner and allows for more device installations down the road for the integrator.

Sustainability

Sustainability is an outcome delivered by the efficiencies from a future-ready infrastructure and new technologies from IoT enablement. But sustainability initiatives are also considered a leading factor to your customers for both the cost-saving benefits and as an environmental necessity.

Sustainability initiatives must be planned for to promote a healthier built environment, but they also create a positive position for investors, tenants and occupants who place an emphasis on green initiatives. Sustainability initiatives will vary for every commercial building owner and operator, but no matter where they are in the sustainability journey, it’s imperative for integrators to discover those sustainability strategies so they can plan the project accordingly.

With a growing demand for buildings that can enhance energy efficiencies, improve the occupant experience and show themselves to be sustainable, there are clear benefits to embracing a smart, future-ready commercial building. But sustainability is more than a buzzword, it’s an opportunity to lower costs, innovate, build more resilient operations and make a positive impact. From the board room to the plant floor, companies are rethinking how they impact people, society and the world by achieving sustainability goals.

A Future-Ready Solution

Future-readiness may be summed up as the ability to prepare for what could be, without the knowledge of what that might be. In the early days of the cellular phone, no one could have dreamed of the vast numbers of abilities and applications that are now standard. The same is true for commercial buildings. No one could foresee the emergence and demand for healthier indoor environments or a distributed workforce with newly created needs for virtual and on-site collaboration. IT/OT convergence, IoT enablement and digital transformation may well be in their infancy, with new requirements appearing seemingly on a daily basis.

The successful deployment of a smart building depends on the elements of infrastructure, technology and sustainability working together and building upon each other to create smarter outcomes for building owners, occupants and visitors. The integrator must be a steward of the industry by not only providing current technologies but also educating customers about future-ready infrastructure and staying abreast of new technology selections.


Jay Williams is Vice President of Sales, Global Network Infrastructure at Wesco.

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