Smart Moves

JOHNSON CONTROLSYou can achieve smarter buildings with an outcome-driven approach.   

By Jim Nannini

To develop a future-ready intelligent building, building owners must first define their vision. Operational efficiency, a safer and more resilient facility, and improved sustainability – these results are all possible when undergoing smart building transformation. Whether for a hospital, school, airport or corporate headquarters, once building owners define their desired outcomes and priorities, they can strategically put that plan into place with a smart building partner who can drive forward the vision from design through building optimization. The result is a customized, comfortable and connected environment that supports better outcomes for the building owners and occupants that rely on it. 

Why Systems Integration is Smart

Converging building systems and technologies on an intelligent infrastructure allows previously siloed systems – such as HVAC, building automation, security, lighting, information technology and communications, vertical market and more – to operate more efficiently and sustainably while improving comfort and safety. Technology convergence is a crucial foundational step toward a smarter facility, as these integrated systems are the keystone of a truly connected building. 

This more unified, secure and resilient infrastructure allows for data-driven operations that can drive better operational results for building owners and a more comfortable, productive environment for occupants. 

For example, hospitals can link the systems with surgical scheduling technologies to optimize operating room usage. Meanwhile, in patient rooms, integrated lighting and HVAC systems allow patients to customize temperature or lighting hues depending on their needs and preferences. The result is a more comfortable and pleasant environment that can help improve recovery times and the overall patient experience. These connected technologies work together to provide a tailored environment for patients, staff and visitors depending on their needs. 

But how can owners ensure the right technologies are being implemented to achieve their operational goals? Engaging in a design/assist process and with a technology contractor can simplify and streamline the complexities of achieving a smart building. 

Optimizing Technologies 

Design/assist is a collaborative and data-driven approach to building with the end in mind. Whether for a new construction or retrofit project, this process bridges the gap between key stakeholders – including building owners, the design team, construction managers and general contractors. By engaging stakeholders at the earliest opportunity, the process aligns all involved to meet desired outcomes throughout the entirety of the project. 

An early-engagement design/assist process provides a structured, interactive process for assessing and prioritizing technology and investments, and ensures that key goals are at the forefront during concept and design phases, ultimately making construction and optimization of the building a smoother and more cost-effective process. Design/assist can optimize the layout of integrated systems to produce a building connected by technologies and solutions that are smart, secure and sustainable, and ready for any future technology implementations. It also reduces the risks of redundant systems, cost overruns, interoperability issues and loss of system functionality throughout the project. 

For example, a school district can utilize the design/assist process to determine the best-fit technologies and solutions to meet their needs – such as high-tech, modern classrooms and upgraded security systems – and design the facility with those outcomes in mind. In this case, by considering the most critical desired outcomes before the construction process begins, the school district can invest in the right technologies to deliver the most impact and potentially stretch its budget further while avoiding the deployment of redundant technology.

Technology Contracting Delivers Efficiency and Value  

After the design/assist process takes place, technology contracting helps maximize the efficiency of technology selection, integration and optimization. It provides a single source of accountability throughout the process. In contrast to working with multiple separate entities, a single partner from start to finish can help reduce costly miscommunications and construction delays during the project by providing expertise on the optimal technologies to purchase and install to maximize the value of the project. This outcome-driven approach to building optimization ultimately focuses on a facility’s unique needs and goals, creating a more efficient path toward achieving a high-performing, customized and truly intelligent facility.

Delivering a connected and intelligent building that works toward specific business needs and goals, regardless of the type of building or industry it serves, will enable more actionable and meaningful data that results in efficient, cost-effective building management, such as energy usage trends and predictive maintenance needs. No two organizations are the same, and that means no two facilities should follow the same technology integration plan. Since organizations can’t undergo a smart building transformation alone, establishing a long-term partnership with a smart building partner with experience in delivering, optimizing and maintaining these systems is a must. 

Connected building can drive improved outcomes across a variety of industries. Building with an outcome-driven approach, from design through construction, is the foundation needed to achieve a truly smart building that delivers value for building owners and occupants, now and in the future.

Jim Nannini is vice president of Building Wide Systems Integration North America for Johnson Controls.


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