by Gina Rae
How does the internet of things (IoT) drive smart building infrastructure? What types of in-building solutions exist to support it? How do landlords and developers get these solutions into their buildings?
IoT has actually been around for some time, but with over 10 billion devices talking to one another, the concept finally has a name. Simply put, IoT is the network of physical objects/devices that communicate with one another and exchange data. The transmission medium used for this communication is a hybrid consisting of copper wires (outdated), fiber runs, and radio frequency waves (wireless).
Subscriber requirements for on-demand information, ranging from submitting an insurance claim from their cell phone to the wireless monitoring of a manufacturing plant’s environmental conditions, is increasing exponentially. This is what drives IoT expansion. People used to be satisfied with the simplicities of texting or receiving email via their cell phones, but now they want more from their devices . . . all of their devices, and this connectivity must be available at all times. But what might this kind of network look like?
Wireless connectivity can be achieved using many solutions. A Distributed Antenna System (DAS) brought cell phone coverage to citizens of Boston in the Central Artery and can also be used for in-building solutions. Timberline Communications, Inc. (TCI) has successfully integrated many DAS networks in universities, hotels, and even sports stadiums.
Another option is a converged design. Corning, a leading material science product manufacturer, developed the Corning ONE solution on which virtually anything that has an IP address can be supported. ONE is a single, simplified in-building infrastructure which “provides cellular with connectivity for Wi-Fi or other Ethernet backhaul over an all-optical network.”* It is secure, scalable, smart, and sustainable.
So how do landlords and developers get these solutions into their buildings, whether they be pre-existing structures or new developments? A team of experts is required: engineers, equipment manufacturers, and executers. To deliver the best design solutions for buildings, TCI partners with manufacturers like Corning as well as engineers such as Evolution RF. The engineers design the most suitable solution for the building’s needs. Manufacturers provide the equipment. The wireless executers handle the installation. All parties work together to achieve a discrete, virtually invisible solution that achieves superior connectivity for tenants. It is this connectivity that is the foundation for a smart building.
*Source: Optical Network Evolution (ONE) Solutions, Convergence Design Guide (https://www.corning.com/catalog/coc/documents/selection-guides/CMA-465-AEN.pdf), page 8.
Gina Rae, PMP, is an executive leader at TCI.