Monday, October 11, 2010: 07:51:55 PM


CISCO and the internet

Cisco has used the Internet to facilitate operations and connectivity in buildings. Times Journal of Construction and Design investigates

Internet technology plays a vital role in real estate transformation. With the help of technology, new buildings can be connected and managed like never before. These buildings will transform designing, construction and operation dramatically and rely on the Internet’s connectivity to improve the occupant’s experience, maximise operations of the building while preserve existing investments, and conserve scarce resources required to build and operate. The Internet enables an innovative and responsive environment for all parties involved. In addition, this technology will create a well-connected building for stakeholders based on their need for flexibility to live, work and play.

The idea is that the Internet's connectivity should exploit opportunities created by this technology wave. The Internet is used as a platform for transformation, to connect buildings and make them a real-time element of the enterprises they house and the functions they serve. These could include shopping or leisure activities, universities or even hospitals.

Once the buildings are connected, they will adapt to the constantly changing needs of all stakeholders. This approach to infrastructure considers future requirements and builds in the capabilities for enhanced space allocation, security, regulatory constraints, privacy, conservation, cost management, scalability and safety.

The networks that these buildings share are the platform for delivering information, services, business processes, and assets to a diverse and dynamic set of real estate stakeholders.

How does this technology help?

􀁘 Improves building operations

􀁘 Utilising valuable resources to cut costs and manage capital expenditures

􀁘 Reduces operating expenses

Why the Internet?
􀁘 This method generates new revenue by offering differentiated services rather than the typical ones

􀁘 It enables new business models that offer the opportunity to increase market share and profits

􀁘 Helps increase the value of property

􀁘 Improve the productivity of the workforce with mobility, unified communications, and collaboration tools

The way ahead
With this technique, the user can deliver value to all key stakeholders in business and real estate. Convergence of Real Estate is the model of the future. It can increase the profitability of real estate developments and provide new, differentiated business opportunities with the potential for incremental revenue. It will also enhance the well-being of employees and individuals by improving comfort, safety, and healthy environment.

There are also financial and operational advantages to the construction, real estate, and property services industries and their customers. It addresses the needs of all kinds of properties such as hospitality, residential, multiplexes etc. It is helping to transform the business model for the entire real estate market from one based on creating and offering space, to one that provides IT facilities and services.

The technology looks at a building’s lifecycle from concept, design, and construction, to maintenance and operation. Forward-thinking real estate companies have already found success by using this model and they are building this network-centric approach for their future properties.

It changes the traditional role of communications and information networks in built environments. This approach positions the network as an information utility that delivers critical data and new services to everyone throughout the building. The network becomes a platform that facilitates new opportunities and transforms real estate projects by reducing costs, increasing revenue, and creating experiences.

Present day scenario
New technology needs to be included in basic building design to provide what could be the most important utilities: information and connectivity. But unlike traditional utilities, the provision of communications and information networks is currently left to tenants.

In multi-occupancy buildings, multiple parallel networks are likely to be installed on a gradual basis where the tenants are responsible for meeting their own requirements. Additionally, a real estate developer must install multiple networks to support the many different systems that ensure building performance such as heating, ventilation, air-conditioning; lighting; access control; security; fire alarms; vertical transportation and parking. But this approach is inefficient, costly, and difficult to manage.

The construction industry has spent the least on technology as compared to any other industry: a meagre 2 per cent of total building expenditure. However, technology spending is increasing rapidly as tenants demand buildings that include an infrastructure for basic connectivity, and those which are more responsive to their needs. The challenge is to be smart about this spending and move to a well-planned utility that will serve and benefit all.

Green Buildings and Technology
The demand for connectivity and ‘green’ buildings creates new business opportunities for owners, landlords, and developers. The network can act as a delivery channel for new services and features supplied to tenants and users. In fact, the network becomes an information utility, as fundamental as water, light, heating, and cooling.

This information can reduce a property’s cost and operational complexity. The key is to replace communications, security, and building systems with one simplified, flexible, and scalable IP network. In addition, a single network is proven to reduce design and engineering time, limit costs with simplified installation, and minimise the requirement for cabling, cable trays, and riser management.

A single network also allows real estate developments to centralise building management and administration within a single property or between buildings and deploy a more streamlined and effective building information network. Energy management over an advanced network provides constant visibility to monitor the temperature and energy consumption, ensuring that the lighting systems is adjusted to suit user demands. Because systems are constantly monitored, reaction times to unexpected developments such as energy surges or loss of power are significantly improved.

In addition, centralised energy management eases the increasing regulatory pressures to comply with the stringent environmental standards under which buildings need to currently operate. A good network ensures that the risks of noncompliance can be managed effectively with a preventive rather than reactive approach.

Shared network architecture gives property operators access to all building functions, data, and operations. Gainingaccess to all information within a building or across multiple properties can have a direct impact on the ongoing costs of operation and maintenance.

Problem Solving by the system
Real Estate Internet technology solves many problems associated with campus environments, where independent systems are usually monitored and managed on-site on a per-building basis. It uses the Internet to link geographically dispersed locations and centralises administration. This technique permits real estate spread across a wide geographical area to benefit from centralised administration. Similarly, campuses with multiple buildings in one physical location can derive considerable operational and financial benefits from adopting this new approach to building control.

Cutting Operational Cost
This network provides a technology foundation for streamlining building operations and improving their performance, ultimately reducing operating expenses. This strategy helps reduce tenant operating costs, enables more productive work environments, helps improve flexibility and start-up, and enhances user/landlord responsiveness. It also helps optimise building and tenant management.

Cutting Capital Cost
Using a single converged technology infrastructure as the basis for a building information network can have a significant impact on the capital expenditures for new facilities, or on improving existing buildings. Builders and owners can benefit from simplified and streamlined design and engineering, cost reduction due to less need for materials and less riser space and accelerated completion time.

Industry research supported by a growing number of real-life examples worldwide shows significant savings in infrastructure cost. This research also proves that consolidating similar yet different network infrastructures can save 15 to 25 per cent in these costs.

It helps remove redundant networks such as, 50 per cent of cabling costs on labour. This techonology helps consolidate cabling contractors achieve labour savings upto 25 to 40 per cent equating to a savings of 12 to 20 per cent in cabling contract consolidation. 30 per cent of a typical building system installation relates to cabling thus equating savings to a 4 to 6 per cent savings on all systems.

This also helps reduce project management costs as fewer contractors and subcontractors means less need for management. Typically, 30 per cent of the project management cost can be eliminated through convergence. If project management is estimated to be 8 per cent of the total cost of all systems, an estimated saving of 2 to 3 per cent can be achieved.

Typical capital expenditure savings of 15 to 20 per cent can be achieved, but these savings are dependent on market dynamics, labour costs, and building size that are hard savings. However, many soft savings can also be realised through improved efficiency and processes.

Another benefit of Connected Real Estate related to capital expenditures is that the functions of various building systems can be intelligently shared for other similar functions. Consider the replacement of an intercom system with a combination of video surveillance and telephony devices, two common investments in most properties. A detailed, integrated design process can achieve synergies between investments in typically isolated systems, reducing the need for more systems and devices.

Cisco aims at the transformation of the services of IT and physical environment in a way that enhances experiences and provides new services with the possibility of generating new revenues, optimising space utilisation, and introducing new ways of working and living. In this way, real estate and IT become more relevant and strategic for all businesses, and greater value is created for the owners.

A combination of information and communication building systems, safety and security systems into a common IP network which helps in reducing operating expenses and capital expenditures while optimising building management operations and performance.

Basis of the technology
It looks to create a network for omnipresent connectivity. The network’s foundation should be as flexible and scalable as the facility's information utility.

These principles form the flexible foundation of the Connected Real Estate solution. It is about creating new environments, improving the building experience and meeting the changing demands of users daily. Connected Real Estate ensures cost efficient buildings that are both high performance and sustainable.

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