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Smart buildings and building operating systems

Due to the many connectivity and implementation challenges in the construction industry, enabling the digitization of buildings through software platforms is key to achieving a smart building revolution. The Building Operating System (BOS) facilitates, accelerates, and orchestrates the development, deployment, and use of digital applications in buildings.

While operating systems (iOS, Android OS) transformed mobile phones into smartphones, BOS can make regular buildings evolve into smart buildings. BOS is the foundation for making smart buildings a reality around the world.

But what is it exactly? A building operating system is the core software platform, also known as middleware, that creates a bridge between building equipment and external applications. The role of a BOS provides quick access to data from the building team.

The BOS rationalizes and mutualizes the data from the field equipment (boilers, gas meters, sensors, etc.) The data is structured and translated into the format required by the smart building application.

What is the difference between a BMS and a BOS?

Building Management Systems (BMS) are designed to specifically control and monitor the mechanical and electrical equipment of a building. They provide a technical interface for building managers. When property owners, facility managers, or technicians look to install predictive maintenance or energy performance tools, they find themselves faced with a messy IT architecture known as Spaghetti Ware.

Spaghetti architecture represents the multiple layers of incompatible components and impenetrable architectures that are added to buildings.

The problem with such a fragmented and complex hardware architecture is that it’s really hard to configure, test, and maintain. Each intermediate piece of hardware in the network adds significant manual work to the integrator, reduces the data and functions available in the BMS, and induces costly maintenance work.

The key difference between BMS and BOS is that building management systems were not designed to rapidly implement new applications, let alone exchange data. On the other hand, the BOS does. It serves as an open platform that introduces endless applications in the building management industry to improve living conditions for tenants and better working conditions for operators and owners.

What are the components of the BOS?

BOS is the progression of traditional building automation and management systems into an information system. It enables digital service providers to easily connect to the facility and interact with equipment data points by imposing a layer of abstraction, known as an API, on top of the spaghetti and field complexity.

These are the features and technical capabilities that make up a BOS platform.

API. An application programming interface provides a two-way communication channel with devices managed by the platform.

User console. A real-time graph database management system allows users to visualize IoT/BMS data points.

Distributed orchestration system. Manage acquisition processes on each floor, analysis processes in separate server rooms, user interfaces on any medium.

A secure rights management system. Access controls for the different profiles involved in the BOS, such as administrators, users, integrators, facility managers.

Local computing. To manage critical issues in real time on a secure server for data privacy, data flow restrictions, and system resiliency, a BOS must be able to be deployed locally.

What are the benefits of BOS?

The main function of the BOS is to abstract field complexity from complicated assets to enable technical scalability of smart building applications. BOS gives owners, facility managers the opportunity to offer value-added digital services.

Currently, equipment data is underexploited due to technical complications and the expense of connecting applications to buildings. Access to data can create enormous value for buildings and improve the way we manage them, optimize energy consumption, reduce maintenance costs and prevent malfunctions.

Source: El Economista

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