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How IoT technologies optimize the performance and comfort of smart hospitals

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During these unusual times where world health is at the center of every preoccupation, hospitals are undoubtedly facing great demand. Healthcare workers and building operators have to face the challenges coming with this massive affluence and every building must be 100% available.

An open platform for managing and monitoring a hospital building

For years, Building Management Systems (BMS) have been installed for the monitoring and control of hospital buildings. Thousands of buildings (office properties, hospitals, shopping centers...) are supervised throughout the world, notably by PcVue Solutions.

This BMS, built around open protocols such as LonWorks or BACnet, makes these systems flexible, reliable and provides a multi-services platform.

PcVue recently collaborated with the door and window specialist GEZE to provide a comprehensive control technology solution for the Dresden Hospital in Germany.

 “We had to implement virtual buttons to lock down our building for different scenarios. With PcVue it was steadily possible in short-term. Thanks to the performance of the PcVue Software.”  Mr Mühlberger – KH Dresden Hospital

In order to avoid the multiplication of systems and applications to meet the general needs of a building such as performance, safety, energy optimization and maintenance, it is necessary to converge the objectives of all stakeholders through a common centralized supervision system. The design of a Smart Building Ready application enables users to reduce environmental impact through the quality of information automatically transmitted via, for example, intelligent mobile applications.

To meet the major challenges of the coming years, the ability of a modern building management system to analyze historical data and real-time actions should contribute to maintaining the comfort of occupants (patients, caregivers, technical and administrative staff) and improving performance and overall availability while ensuring that costs are kept to a minimum and regulatory compliance is maintained.

Integrating IoT into building management

Many factors are leading to change in the technological scope of BMS applications. Firstly, what some describe as the new industrial revolution, the arrival of IoT technologies (Internet Of Things).

More directly, in the sector of building management, new trends are emerging:

1.       The creation of Low Power Networks (LPWan) such as LoRatm or SigFoxtm

2.       The miniaturization of equipment thanks to increasingly powerful electronic component

3.       The low consumption of this equipment and its autonomy over several years.

These three technological evolutions make it possible to reconsider the paradigm of a GTB. Depending on the use case, it is now possible to instrument a building or a technical batch in an extremely simplified way at a reduced cost, thanks to the installation of IoT sensors, without wiring (neither Ethernet nor current) communicating on these low power networks.

During a renovation, it can enable operators or occupants to obtain more information about their building (presence detection sensor, CO2, T°, meter, delta pressure...). They will thus be able to benefit from solutions that are easy to implement, making the management and use of surfaces more efficient.

There are several technologies dedicated to the integration of IoT sensors. It is thus possible to connect your sensors to an 'operated' network and then retrieve your data in the Cloud. The sensors will communicate with operator/technology like: SigFox, LoRA, NB IOT or LTE-M.

The other solution consists in creating its own LPWan network at the heart of buildings thanks to simple gateways. This solution eliminates the need to subscribe to operators, but also avoids the need to distribute information in the Cloud.

A hybrid approach

This IoT revolution will only be effective if it takes into account the existing situation. Some components of a global "Smart Building" solution cannot be managed by this type of IoT solution for the moment, as they are not conducive to large data flows (high rate real time data or video for instance), security (electrical distribution, fire detection) or control (control of components).

It is to meet these new challenges that supervision platforms evolve and integrate communication with IoT equipment while benefiting from the fundamentals of data processing, control and security offered by the BMS product.

These solutions now make it possible to design a hybrid, multi-batches BMS application integrating IoT technologies for new or renovated buildings.

To date, several projects are being carried out on these hybrid technologies in Europe.

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Friday, 07 August 2020

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