Since the launch of Singapore’s Smart Nation agenda, many sectors in the nation have evolved significantly to keep pace. In fact, Condeco found that Singapore is well ahead of other countries, when it comes to installing smart building initiatives for their workspaces.
Beyond adding solutions to existing infrastructure, there is a very real opportunity to capture even more benefits for smart nations such as Singapore, by building smart features into the fabric of a project from the start.
The evolution of security cameras and associated video management technologies are a good example, as their role has morphed into something larger. With Video Management Software (VMS) – the glue that holds a smart building’s video capabilities together — looking at these features during the design phase adds immediate value and untapped potential for more smart solutions down the track.
Enabling enhanced workplace management and smarter retail
Workplace management is becoming an important asset for modern commercial properties. IoT-enabled devices, used in conjunction with a camera network and VMS, can detect things like maximum occupancy in a meeting room, can turn up air-conditioning in a heavily-populated space to maximise user comfort, or direct people to a meeting room by the fastest route.
Accessories that work in conjunction with a workplace management solution include TV screens, monitors and digital signage, as well as connected audio options, which combine to provide clear signals and messages to building occupants.
In the retail space, mapping the movements of consumers as they shop can provide deep insights into their behaviour, just as an organisation can actively track a modern office space and optimise things like employee movement, the use of meeting spaces and automated air conditioning and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning facilities.
Straight up, plugging a video analysis software solution into the building’s VMS will bring a host of smart features to that facility. These additional functions would therefore require that camera placement evolves accordingly, to maximise their benefits. In shopping centres, this may involve positioning 360-degree fish-eye cameras above the entry way, in order to capture a whole-store view, which can be analysed for consumer heat mapping. In the case of an open-plan professional workspace, it may require a network of ceiling-mounted cameras working in conjunction with one another, as well as IoT nodes to record and analyse the entire space, then optimising the use of desks and common areas to improve workplace efficiencies.
Facial Recognition (FR) is another feature of the modern smart building, and one that can enhance the facility’s security mission, and at the same time make life easier and more efficient for building users. Integrated with an open platform VMS, FR technology can recognise individual facial features and bring up information about that individual. This in turn can activate an access control solution and allow or deny them entry to a specific part of the building — without the hassle of presenting credentials such as an ID or proximity card.
To paint another example, FR technologies can aid in the recognition of VIP shoppers creating a seamless experience for them. Imagine walking into your local car dealership for a service and having all the paperwork ready for you at the desk or walking into a coffee shop and using your face to get your regular order, without waiting in queue.
As seen in the installation of the Video-based Parking Guidance System (VPGS) at Changi Airport, licence plate recognition works the same way as FR – with cameras now able to recognise number plates within a millisecond and allow vehicles access to secure parking facilities or help visitors identify the exact location of their parked vehicle. Conversely, the system can be set to identify unauthorised vehicles, or those on a particular watchlist, and notify administrators that the vehicle is trying to enter a certain space.
Access control is another important factor for smart building development, providing a direct link between the individuals entering and using the space, and the security ecosystem that lies behind it. Secure perimeters can be linked to automated doors or barriers, and accessed by FR, a card, identity tag, biometric scans, or secure mobile phone credentials. Again, an open platform can tie in with many other integrated solutions to help provide a faster, safer and more efficient building.
Smart facilities are here to stay, and the huge scope of opportunities they provide can make life better for the people who frequent them — be it to work, live or shop. Now, not only can the solutions offer ways to improve general conditions in the buildings, but also offer opportunities to monetise these spaces, or at least maximise their usefulness to offer tenants more value and potential.