What is a BMS?

A building management system (BMS) is a control system that is used to monitor and manage the mechanical, electrical and electromechanical services in a facility. Such services often include power, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, physical access control, pumping stations, elevators and lights.

A very basic BMS consists of software, a server with a database and sensors connected to an Internet-capable network. Sensors around the building gather data and send it to the BMS, where it is stored in a database. If a sensor reports data that falls outside pre-defined conditions, the BMS will trigger an alarm. In a Datacenter, for example, the BMS might trigger an alarm when the temperature in a server rack exceeds acceptable limits.

Depending on the system, BMS software can be installed as a standalone application or it can be integrated with other monitoring programs. More advanced BMS’s can monitor and manage a wide range of building services across multiple platforms and protocols, providing facility administrators with a more valuable single, shared view of the facility’s operations.

Drawbacks of a BMS system

There are many other restraints to a BMS but we chose a few that are the most restrictive to modern spaces and businesses

Often BMS systems are proprietary and require specific, expensive hardware and software. While the cost of smart sensors and data has plummeted, the cost of a BMS has remained stubbornly high. Many users have experienced a product journey that gets more restricted and proprietary over time and could culminate in totally unsupported systems and devices running totally proprietary protocols.

In a BMS system only the large power assets and significant items can be onboarded. In reality, buildings are usually made up of hundreds of pieces of equipment and it is severely limiting if operators can only gain visibility into a small fraction of the total. These blind spots or siloed pieces of information could hold the key to important dependencies, savings, waste or even real discomfort for users. Also modern businesses want a combination of physical and virtual assets within one system, not just the obvious elements.

Another real life limitation in using BMS data to optimize a portfolio of buildings or an estate is the inherent lack of interoperability and scalability. Perhaps each building in the portfolio has the same BMS vendor, but that is highly unlikely. Each vendor is going to have its own proprietary data protocol, which requires developing and maintaining. There will be a number of different processes and of course integrations. Not only is this hard to manage and maintain, but the BMS vendors often have competing products and thus are incentivised to make their data inaccessible to third parties.

The Future

The buildings and estates of tomorrow are very different to those the BMS was designed for and therefore a more modern approach is required to system architecture. A few of the advantages

*    System Agnostic – Work with vendors and manufacturers who understand that a modern system MUST be collaborative.

*    Open standards – The best systems will allow use of the best devices and other hardware. Operators, not manufacturers, must have control of using whatever they wish to use, then they can build the right system for their specific use.

*    Expansive – To really take advantage of the power of IoT, connectivity and any jumps in technology your system must be able to generate a total ecosystem, not just single use cases.

*    Built with the future in mind – From interoperability to security, a modern system has architecture that is different and this is vitally important. Backwards compatibility of open standards mean new management systems are future proof.

*    Capable – Have the ability to incorporate, legacy, existing and any future systems. If you are installing a new building or estate backbone (to incorporate IoT or other requirements) ensure they can unify and visualise whatever you have currently. You can then move over to new, better and more modern devices and sub systems as you continue to evolve.

Our focus is to make EVERYTHING accessible to the operators and users and to assist them in unification, collapsing costs, saving resources and building sustainable systems. If you would like to know more, please get in touch.