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Smart buildings need smarter security solutions

Physical security has long been a priority in the commercial real estate sector, one that has only been heightened by COVID-19. However, the technical implementation of security features has traditionally been treated in a silo, distinct from the core IT and operational infrastructure in buildings.

The need for reliable, robust security meant that there are plenty of good reasons for why this has been the case. However, as a consequence, security deployments have typically remained niche concerns and now many organisations are dealing with ageing proprietary security infrastructure that can only be modified and maintained by a handful of specialist providers.

Clearly, from an operational and commercial perspective this is less than ideal. But it also means real estate owners and operators are missing out on huge opportunities to derive even more value from their security infrastructure.

Rather than simply keeping buildings secure, physical security technology has the potential to become the lynchpin of smart building infrastructures, particularly as we start to emerge from the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. However, what’s now required is a major overhaul in how we view security systems in the overall picture of building technology and infrastructure.

Occupancy control

Take the example of visitor management. Thousands of people enter and exit commercial buildings every day, and there has always been a traditional access control -and health and safety- requirement to manage those ins and outs.

Due to the pandemic, building owners also now have additional responsibilities to manage social distancing and occupancy limits. Of course, it’s possible to view these extra requirements as a straightforward extension of the traditional access control agenda. CCTV cameras, access control readers and turnstiles can make this process as smooth as possible by ensuring that the right number of users are accessing the facility while maintaining a safe distance and taking precautions such as wearing masks and using hand sanitiser upon building entry.

But this is a good example of where there is a bigger picture – where there are significant benefits to seeing the security requirements as fundamentally interlinked with the wider infrastructure of the building, rather than an isolated consideration.

The ‘access control’ data derived from these functions can also provide insights into space occupancy, or you might want to integrate the access data with room booking systems or location tracking. The key here is combining the CCTV analytics, location sensors, and other access control systems with the core IT platform to achieve a more comprehensive view of what’s happening in each building.

To create true smart buildings, it is vital that security data is shared with other business critical applications and systems – and that is simply not possible if security remains in its traditional technology silo.

Continual convergence

Visitor management is just one example of how the convergence of security and the core IT infrastructure can be incredibly valuable. All security systems produce a lot of very important data that can support building owners with effective decision-making, contribute to overall building wellness, evaluate facility usage and ultimately help them to make the right strategic decisions for their overall real estate portfolios.

Fully unlocking this potential requires a new approach. Deploying security technology into a corporate IT environment, and integrating with the networks and the systems they interact with, requires a broader technology provider – not just a security specialist.

LMG has a wealth of experience in these types of deployments. We realise and fully understand how to maximise the value of the occupancy data produced by security systems in the wider context of the built environment and how to use it to make sure your buildings are delivering maximum value across your portfolio.

To read more about our security approach for smart buildings, read our case study here.