With growing concerns over energy and environment, and limitations achieved in a wired infrastructure, wireless technologies provide solutions to most of the problems that the building automation industry is facing today. Wireless technology has created disruptive opportunities for the building automation industry in terms of the capabilities that are offered, when compared to conventional wired infrastructure. This is a key offering that has a number of implications, and indicates a paradigm shift in the building automation space.
Frost & Sullivan finds that Advances in Wireless Protocols for Building Automation provides an identification of various needs and applications of the building automation industry associated with wireless technology. Classified under short range wireless communication requirements, the study has focused on wireless protocols that encompass wireless personal area network (WPAN) and wireless local area network (WLAN) landscapes. The focus of this study is IEEE 802.15.1, IEEE 802.15.4 and IEEE 802.11 standards with Bluetooth, wireless fidelity or Wi-Fi. Several low–power, low-data wireless network technologies such as ZigBee are analyzed in detail.
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“In recent years, wired building automation systems have taken building operations to new heights through the deployment of sensor networks, embedded intelligence in field level devices, greater device integration and decision making control strategies,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Ankit A. Shukla. “The deployment of wireless technology translates into a future of building automation, which will provide excellent comfort levels, state-of-the-art security and optimized operational costs.”
Currently, building automation processes include concepts such as ’intelligent buildings’ and ’green buildings’. However, for these concepts to materialize in the near future, a change is required in the attitudes of industry participants. Traditionally, technologies adopted in areas such as industrial automation see a potential consumer for its products and solutions in building automation. Technology deployment in buildings should not be seen as a secondary sector of application, but as a drive technology development that will achieve state-of-the-art excellence in its operation.
The amount of electricity consumed by commercial buildings is a major source of concern. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), commercial buildings in the United States alone account for 32 percent of the total national electricity consumption. Consumption of electricity in this sector has doubled in the last 18 years and expects to increase by another 25 percent by 2030 if current growth rates continue. Reducing energy consumption is of paramount importance for the building industry and is the topmost challenge faced by the industry at present.
“The ability to carry out sensing, computing and manipulating activities related to the physical world is not practical on a wired infrastructure consisting of a number of instruments,” explains Shukla. “It is not that wiring sensor networks is not possible, but it requires a lot of effort, consumes time and is very costly, hence users generally do not prefer this.”
After analyzing the entire scenario, there is no doubt that wireless technologies have a huge impact on building automation. However, the cost associated with the current state of wireless technology, which is based on the ratified protocols, is going down very fast resulting in most of the ’nice to have’ scenarios to become ’have to have’ scenario. This is likely to take place once wireless products and solutions show better performance and reliability compared to traditional wired technology.
Advances in Wireless Protocols for Building Automation is part of the Environment & Building Technologies Growth Partnership Services and it looks at the opportunities each of these stakeholders see in the adoption of wireless technology. Technologies that make a great deal of impact on the overall industry are in the purview of this study. It also includes patent analysis, which provides vital information regarding intellectual property activity taking place with the emergence of wireless technologies in the building automation space. Interviews are available to the press.
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