Creating Smart Buildings with IoT

May 08, 2017 | Post by Roland Feijoo | 1 Comments

Emergency Exit

Join Cisco and CompuCom on May 18 in Toronto at the Cisco Innovation Centre and learn how smart buildings and the Internet of Things are making our lives a little better, a little safer and a little more reliable – just when we need it most. Register today.

There is a moment in the movie Sully, (where Tom Hanks plays the heroic United Airlines captain who successfully lands a Boeing jet on the Hudson River), when passengers are listening to the safety drill. Flight attendants advise, “in the event of an emergency landing, floor lights will guide you to the nearest exit.”

It is a speech that many of us have heard ourselves, numerous times on numerous flights. It means nothing until we need the lights to guide us to safety.

A Quiet Revolution

Emergencies can happen anywhere, at any time, and yet, those life-saving floor lights are not available in most situations. In fact, even in an airplane, the floor lights aren’t “smart.” Remember the rest of that safety drill? “Before you exit the plane, check for fire, water or debris.” The lights aren’t smart, and so you need to be.

The Internet of Things (IoT) Designs for ‘Smart’

IoT and the digitization of our world is changing ‘smart’ by connecting disparate silos, devices and applications, and turning them into intelligent, collaborative systems that can do much more than has been possible in the past. By 2020, many organizations expect to see a 50 percent or more increase in the number of IoT connected devices. By 2025? It's likely to be nearly four times the number of IoT devices that are connected today. But we aren’t waiting until 2020 to get started, we are taking advantage of IoT now with Smart Buildings. We call our solution CompuCom Life Safety Powered by Cisco.

The Need for Smart Buildings

In Canada and the rest of the world, there are more and more headlines that remind us we are living in dangerous times. Fires, bombs, guns – sadly, they have become part of our conversation and part of our world.

Last year alone, Canadian schools in PEI, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Nunavat all needed to conduct evacuations due to threats, and all responded differently. There is no standard.

It Could Happen Anywhere, Anytime

At an elementary school, a small fire starts in a closet. Smoke fills the building rapidly. Teachers shepherd students to the nearest exit, but some students become disoriented and head the wrong way.

At a university campus, gun shots ring out. Some students run for cover while others look for hiding places. Across the broad sprawl of buildings and walkways, no one is certain what to do or where to go.

At a downtown office building, an explosion occurs. Elevators and stairways are damaged, leaving only a small number of safe exits for the thousands who need to evacuate the building.

What Happens Today

Let’s consider a normal day on a university campus and the sequence of events if a fire breaks out. Today, a sensor activates and triggers the fire alarm system, which automatically reports the condition, resulting in a dispatch of emergency services.

But what happens next? The majority of people on campus will not know where the fire is. In fact, most will be wondering if the fire is even real. Many individuals will ignore the alarms while others will evacuate based on the closest exit – sometimes unknowingly heading into a hot zone.

It’s Always Been Done This Way

This is how many facilities continue to manage emergency response – with a standalone system for notification (fire, police or other) and suppression. Why? It’s always been done this way

What Smart Buildings Deliver

When minutes and seconds count, IoT-based systems can reduce injuries, reduce property damage and perhaps save lives. In the same situation, an intelligent system integrated with the fire system is a game changer:

  • Smart LED lights guide people inside the building to the safest exit.
  • IP speakers broadcast specific information about the emergency across the campus and across the buildings.
  • Text messages notify everyone of a suspected emergency location, enabling those who are clear of the area to stay away. Knowledge prevents disorderly evacuation. 
  • IP phones play sound, text message, and turn video on while establishing a predetermined conference bridge for the event or by the event. This also means notification for the disabled, such as hearing impaired, are also included.
  • Physical security measures are activated. 
  • Depending on the nature of the emergency, lock down functions are automatic.
  • Smart occupancy sensors pinpoint individuals or groups in the building, facilitating rescue efforts to focus on those most in danger, reducing risk for first responders and victims. 

Forget about it’s always been done this way – this way is way better. 

We Can’t Manage the Incidents – We Can Manage Our Response for Better Outcomes

Smart Buildings offer organizations the benefits of some of the highest standards for safety and physical security during any kind of incident. When people respond appropriately in emergency situations, the outcomes are greatly improved. This includes stress-related health issues that often occur post-event.

Now is the time to enable smarter and safer buildings across our communities, our schools and our cities.

A Little More About CompuCom Life Safety Powered by Cisco

CompuCom’s Life Safety platform powered by Cisco uses IoT sensor-based networks to integrate elements such as smart LED lights with smart occupancy sensors, current fire alarm systems, IP paging systems, texting, message boards, and physical security such as access control and cameras. The system also automates emergency policy functions such as lockdowns, greatly enhancing emergency communication – clear communication in all circumstances improves outcomes. 

By leveraging existing networks and systems, the new sensor-based networks can be interconnected in a variety of ways – enabling automated, real-time mass communication to multiple locations. 

These networks also provide the ability to instantly link in local, district and offsite support from a single trigger, all while reducing the need for manual intervention.

Not only do these solutions provide powerful emergency benefits but also they reduce energy and are competitively priced. IoT-enabled buildings provide owners/occupant managers countless data points for analytics about the effective use and management of space.

Interested in seeing a live demonstration? Join me for a meet-and-greet and live demonstration on May 18 at the Cisco Innovation Centre in Toronto, Ontario. I will walk through the powerful capabilities of our IoT-based Life Safety solution that is part of Cisco’s Innovation Centre. 

Drop by for lunch or grab a cappuccino any time between 11:30 a.m. -2:00 p.m. – Register Now! Feel free to ask a question or leave a comment below.

The content and opinions posted on this blog and any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not those of CompuCom.

  • Roland Feijoo's picture

    Roland Feijoo

    Roland is the Executive Vice President of CompuCom IoT Solutions and Chief Executive Officer of Extensys, Inc.

     

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