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2024 Predictions for Smart Buildings, Smart Equipment, and IoT


It's January 2024, and the team at J2 Innovations is so excited for the new year and all that it will bring. As with tradition, we asked a few key team members to identify trends and predict what's in store for smart buildings, smart equipment, and IoT. Here's what they had to say.

Edge controllers will evolve

Over the last five years, supervisory controllers utilizing BACnet IP have become the norm. In the BAS market, IP connectivity is pervasive, and there's less demand for physical layer translations. In the future, supervisory controllers will be all about data and less about protocols.

"My prediction for 2024 is that supervisory controllers that simply translate protocols and physical layers will evolve to become more powerful edge devices providing a rich data source and independent data layer (IDL) for smart buildings." - Scott Muench, VP of Customer Experience. 

Through the use of data standards such as Project Haystack and software technology such as FIN, IDLs will become more accessible to small and midsized buildings. 

System integrators and end users demand more

There has been an underlying trend in our HVAC industry where system integrators and end users have voiced discontent with the status quo for BAS solution implementation and usability. 

"I believe the use of metadata in BAS software will unlock new ways for system integrators and end users to get more done in less time than with traditional labor-intensive software. For example, one control strategy could be linked to many pieces of equipment (similar to how graphics are relativized today) without creating multiple copies and linking them." - Jeremy Wolfe, VP of Sales North America.  

For end users, it will no longer be acceptable to pay for the engineering of three bespoke graphics (desktop, tablet, and smartphone) for each piece of equipment when responsive HTML5 solves the problem with one. 

More user-centric technology

In 2024, there will be an increasing move towards creating a more sustainable future for our buildings, equipment, and energy solutions. This will involve the integration of smart building designs with advanced energy-efficient equipment and intelligent systems to reduce carbon footprints. Technology will continue to evolve, and AI systems will become increasingly prevalent. However, the focus will be on placing people at the core of these advancements.

Innovations in smart buildings, equipment, and IoT will prioritize user-centric design, catering to individual needs while promoting sustainability. This user-centric approach ensures that technological advancements align with human preferences and lifestyles, empowering individuals to engage with and benefit from these innovations.

"By integrating user feedback, personalization, and accessibility into technological solutions, we will foster a more user-friendly, simplified experience. Looking ahead to 2024, the convergence of technology and human-centric design principles indicate a new era where people drive and shape technological advancements, ultimately leading to more impactful, bespoke, purpose-driven, and socially beneficial innovations.’’ - Joanna Benbow, Global Marketing Manager. 

More democratization of building automation

Organizations who manage "simpler" buildings want (and need) technology that makes deploying building systems easier, simplifies the user experience, and makes data more accessible. We will see the rise of plug & play automation systems for especially smaller buildings.

"The democratization of buildings hails an opportunity to make drastic improvements in reducing the energy use in buildings. Access to building automation can be drastically increased through simplifying the engineering and operation of such systems. We predict a growing demand for simpler, yet powerful building automation technology ." - Alex Rohweder, CEO.  

HVAC equipment providers become digital system and service providers

Equipment manufacturers expand from HVAC and related controls providers to full BMS providers, particularly in buildings that have not been democratized (the other 80%).

"I believe equipment manufacturers will invest more strongly in on-site edge data management, provide higher level controls capabilities, add analytics, and provide sophisticated digital services on top of their equipment." - Alex Rohweder, CEO. 

AI makes its way into the building

Many of our team members predict AI tools will make their way into building systems. 

"I believe AI will have a bigger growth and impact on all IT-related industries in 2024. Smart buildings will make no exception to this. I'm looking forward to seeing how we can make it part of our journey." -  Ioana Petrescu, Director of Quality and Testing and Global Head of Strategy.  

"Based on a solid and structured dataset, we will see the first AI tools, which will provide the first step in supporting the facility manager and technician in troubleshooting and operational decision-making. In the next step, we will also see AI taking over fully 'autonomous' control of parts of the building based on continuous reference to available building data and other related data sets. As such, the rise of AI will also further proliferate the need for open data standards such as Project Haystack." - Alex Rohweder, CEO. 

"The growth of AI will bring intelligence at the edge in focus again. As more AI possibilities mature, it will become clear that there is a critical need to invest in intelligence at the edge to gain the advantage of system responsiveness and cost sustainability. Even further, this will create a needed balance between edge and cloud as both must work together smoothly to provide a practical AI solution. A key challenge the industry will meet is delivering edge device architectures that can effectively process AI models at a reasonable cost." - Hisham Ennarah, Chief of Technology.  

BMS redefined

Alarming, scheduling, trending… is that all a BMS can do? No!

"Based on a solid BMS dataset, enriched with urgently needed metadata, we will see the classic BMS come to an end and make space for a next-generation Framework. This technology will serve as the basis for a holistic approach to building management, energy management, asset management, or even maintenance and facility management." - Domenico Di Canosa, Sales Director of Southern and Eastern Europe. 

"In smaller buildings, building owners cannot afford to run and operate multiple pieces of software, yet they still feel increasing pressure to manage their buildings more professionally and holistically and see software as a key lever to do that. BMS "2.0" is the answer."

Powered by FIN Framework

As we continue to innovate and redefine the landscape of building management systems and IoT solutions, a key trend we foresee in 2024 is the increasing adoption of "Powered by FIN Framework" by OEMs across the globe. 

"As we step into 2024, the adoption of the 'Powered by FIN Framework' by more OEMs will mark a new era in smart building, smart equipment, and IoT solutions. This framework not only elevates the capabilities of each product but also signifies a collective stride towards a smarter, more interconnected world. Expect to see more of the brands you trust and discover new ones that are embracing the power of FIN to deliver exceptional solutions in building automation." - Matteo Pierone, Global Head of Sales and Services. 

One thing these trends have in common is putting more edge software into buildings and collecting/making better use of data. FIN Framework will continue to be a key enabler to help these trends become a reality. Happy New Year! 

B. Scott Muench

Scott joined J2 Innovations as a partner in 2011, and is now Vice President of Customer Experience. He has a wide range of responsibilities including evangelism, business development, training, and operational excellence. Scott is well known as an industry expert in smarthomes and smart buildings. He is a past president of ASHRAE, and is currently a board member for Project Haystack. Scott attended Clarkson University for Mechanical Engineering and graduated with a BS/Business in Organizational Innovation.

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Topics from this blog: J2 News & Events IoT Smart Buildings Smart Equipment Energy management FIN Framework Technology sustainability Industry Democratization BAS

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