Five Signs Your Building Management System Needs an Upgrade

    Technology is evolving so rapidly that what is considered state-of-the-art today may become obsolete within a few years – leading many building owners and operators to manage their facilities with outdated technology. It’s similar to driving a classic automobile without the safety features, comforts and conveniences we expect of today’s cars.

    Just as modern vehicles have advanced options like park assist, blind spot detection and highway driving assist, modern building management systems (BMS) are designed to create operational efficiencies to help make buildings safer and more sustainable for operators and occupants. They can also help keep building maintenance and operations on track. Like an old car, when something goes wrong with your outdated BMS, finding a replacement part, or a technician with the skills to fix it, can be difficult.

    Building operators who want to minimize downtime and protect the value of their assets should consider an update of their BMS to a more advanced system. Here are five signs your BMS needs an upgrade.

    1. Your user interface is made for yesterday’s users

    Legacy systems can be difficult to operate and challenging to learn given their antiquated interface and limited integration capabilities. At the same time, many operations personnel are now 50 or above[i] and will be retiring in the next decade or so. As new generations enter the field, they’ll expect intuitive user interfaces that provide easy, instant access to information.

    With an updated BMS, operators can quickly identify a problem instead of clicking through multiple steps to find the issue. A modern BMS can allow operators to be more efficient and more effective in a shorter amount of time – often with less training required.

    2. Your sustainability goals are falling short

    Making buildings more sustainable and resilient is critical. Buildings account for 37% of global CO2 emissions, placing pressure on building owners and operators to reduce energy consumption. In addition, as extreme weather and natural disasters intensify[ii], buildings can suffer a wide range of impacts from power outages to floods.

    An upgraded BMS makes it possible to optimize systems, such as lighting, air conditioning and ancillary services, to better manage energy use. By contrast, legacy management systems may not provide the same level of optimization needed to support a robust sustainability strategy.

    With an upgraded BMS, building operators can closely track energy consumption and understand how it impacts carbon emissions and utility expenditures.

    3. You’re not automated

    An older BMS may lack automation capabilities, requiring operators to refer to manuals to determine the appropriate response to incidents. With a modern BMS, rules can be set up to trigger actions in predefined situations. These actions will promptly alert building operators about ongoing events and the automated actions undertaken to resolve the situation. Typically employing low-code/no-code automation, operators merely input the necessary instructions for specific scenarios, allowing the system to automatically conduct them in subsequent occurrences. For instance, in the case of a high-temperature alert from a hospital operating room, the building operator can automatically initiate actions to diagnose and resolve the issue.

    4. You’re not cybersecure

    Every building depends on operational technology (OT) systems, including elevators, lighting, fire safety, HVAC and more, to operate efficiently. If any of these systems fail, it could be disastrous for a building and its occupants. Where once OT environments consisted of isolated, air-gapped networks that were not connected to the internet, today’s OT environments require connectivity to deliver the advantages of a fully digital experience.

    Nevertheless, alongside this interconnectedness are potential vulnerabilities. Malicious actors recognize the importance of OT systems and are increasingly targeting them for ransomware attacks. The fundamental reality is that without adequate cybersecurity measures in place, today's buildings may face challenges to attain a desired level of safety, sustainability or operational efficiency.

    To protect your facility, building owners need to be highly deliberative and plan a cyber strategy around their OT environment and select products that are designed with privacy and security in mind to help keep bad actors at bay.

    5. Your building isn’t ready for the future

    In our increasingly AI-driven world, everything is getting smarter, including buildings. The only way to take advantage of AI and analytics – and turn insight into action – is with an upgraded BMS. A modern BMS can connect to advance software controls to improve indoor air quality levels and optimize energy-intensive assets like boilers and chillers.

    It’s also important to think about the future and to select systems that are open, scalable and modular while also providing ease of installation. For example, there are new options that use T1L technology enabling building operators to add their BMS to an IP network using existing building wiring.

    Like almost every industry today, the building sector is on a journey of digital transformation. Honeywell is committed to updating the way buildings work to help operators boost efficiency, promote sustainability and enhance the experience for all occupants. Learn more about our latest advancements in building controllers here.

    [i] Institute of Real Estate Management, Property Management Evolves to Attract the Next Generation of Professionals, June 29, 2018 [Accessed March 28, 2024]

    [ii] National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Extreme Weather and Climate Change [Accessed March 28, 2024]