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The evolution of smart buildings: 5 trends you can't ignore

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Smart or intelligent building infrastructure allows organizations to rapidly benefit from the latest developments and designs in construction and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Smart buildings give you the tools to achieve levels of efficiency, automation, and awareness of our built environment in ways that were difficult or impossible to achieve until very recently. Moreover, this industry is booming, with expectations that it will have more than tripled by 2029.

We recently covered six smart building technologies you should pay close attention to if you own, manage or invest in commercial or multi-residential properties. But the range of new technologies is growing so rapidly that we have five more we think you’ll see a lot more in the coming year.


Flow control and metering sensors

Flow control sensors in smart buildings are a must-have if you want to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure safety. These sensors allow for real-time monitoring of the water that flows throughout the homes and offices in your building. You can then use this real-time data to predict and adjust daily consumption levels.

When combined with other sensors, like water leak detection, you not only have direct knowledge of any leak or burst pipe, but you can begin to predict when and where failure will happen, knowing to replace parts long before you suffer any actual losses or damage.

Suppose you have an HVAC system that relies on water to distribute heat throughout your building. You can use these same sensors to adjust and optimize the flow rate, ensuring these systems run at peak performance, resulting in energy savings.


Liquid Level Sensors

Complementing flow control and leak detection sensors, liquid-level sensors give you real-time monitoring of any tanks or reservoirs in your building. This doesn’t just involve water but any other fluid chemicals you might use.

What sets these sensors apart in the IoT space is the precision and speed at which they can track fluid levels. After all, the concept of these sensors has been around for some time: there’s one in the gas tank of every modern automobile. You can get sensors that use capacitance probes, ultrasonic, or radar technology, depending on the fluid, the context it’s being used in and the size of the tank.

By providing precise data on liquid levels and centralizing this information using a network, it becomes easy to use IoT to scale your fluid usage up or down and reduce the risk of accidents by over or underfilling.


Structural Health Monitoring

IoT technology has enormous potential to expand and scale our awareness of the condition of our buildings, bridges, and other major infrastructure. Before, structural integrity monitoring relied on engineers and facilities management taking manual measurements with few or no networked sensors.

The technology has now developed to a point where it is both affordable and uncomplicated to have sensors throughout a new building that track all the strain, stress, and vibrations experienced by the building and use machine learning algorithms to estimate the lifespan of a structural beam, wall, or foundation, and when it is ideal to replace or renovate it.

This can dramatically increase the safety and longevity of a building and reduce the costs and uncertainty associated with repairs and maintenance, where you might not know the extent of damage or wear until you’ve taken out a wall or dug a hole.


Water Quality Sensors

Water quality sensors are an essential tool in smart buildings’ integrated IoT networks. These sensors track key water quality metrics, such as pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen levels and even water hardness.

By integrating these sensors into an IoT network, building managers can have a real-time view of water quality throughout the building and receive alerts when the water quality drops below a certain level. This only has obvious benefits for ensuring the safety and well-being of building occupants. It also reduces the costs associated with water management by making it easy to detect and track even small changes to water quality.

Chemical Quality Sensors

Quality monitoring sensors aren’t restricted to water in pipes anymore – Chemical quality sensors are an important tool in manufacturing and assembly line facilities. This includes a family of transducer-based gas and fluid sensors that monitor chemical composition

Some of these sensors will be familiar to you. Even uncommon ones have been around for a long time – the main innovation within IoT is having them networked and being able to centralize and analyze data from them together – think carbon monoxide detectors or ozone monitors, but also things like hydrogen sulfide sensors which are used in both hydrogen fuel cell production and can be used to monitor for certain kinds of food spoilage.


Make your building smarter with LAIIER's sensors

We contribute to smart building development with water detection technology that can fit in all the small, tight spaces that are a part of my industrial, commercial and multi-residential facilities. We can do this because we make our sensors as smart tape – you can stick it around pipes, joints, and structural areas where water commonly leaks in and then, using our proprietary network technology, alert you if even two drops of water get in where they’re not supposed to.

You can learn more about our technology here. If you’re interested in finding out if we could be an excellent smart tech choice for your buildings or facilities, you can sign up here to be one of the first to get them for our next production run.


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