What are BMS and smart buildings?

Smart buildings are buildings which are augmented with technology. That technology might include sensors and systems designed, among other things, to: 

  • Monitor the conditions in the building and maintain them at an optimal level for comfort 
  • Improve safety 
  • Reduce the total cost of ownership for the building 

The principle is that the data gathered by the various sensors and systems installed in the building is interpreted by a computer system, known as a building management system (BMS). The BMS will either adjust various conditions automatically, or alert the facilities manager that action is needed. A very simple example of the smart components in a building is lights that turn on and off automatically when someone is in the room. The lights are connected to a sensor, and that sensor makes the building more energy efficient by ensuring lights are only on when they are needed. In reality, many smart building systems are far more advanced than this, and feature BMS that can predict when components like light bulbs, heaters or windows are likely to need maintenance or replacing. 

A major driver behind smart buildings and BMS is the continued focus on sustainability. Smart buildings have the potential to dramatically reduce the emissions and carbon footprint of a building, while also making them cheaper to run. Of course, one major consequence of smart buildings is that there’s a greatly increased need for cabling in buildings. The various sensors in the building may connect to the BMS via WiFi or Bluetooth, but they will still need power – and many may rely on wired connections to the BMS to reduce latency or due to poor wireless coverage. 

Since smart buildings are often multi-floor, large-scale occupancy buildings, most BMS cables are also available with LSZH (low smoke zero halogen) insulation and sheathing to provide protection and aid evacuation in the event of a fire. 

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