The Cornerstone of a Safer City
What is Building Automation?
Today's commercial and industrial buildings tend to have a variety of heterogeneous systems, say HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning), security, lighting, energy management, elevator/escalator, garbage disposal, fire-fighting, etc. Building Automation, or “Smart Buildings”, is a growing trend to centralize a variety of these systems onto one management platform to allow the automatic control of the whole building.
Building Automation and “Smart Buildings” are often mentioned together because Building Automation makes a building smart and responsive like human-beings and eventually work better. Building Automation not only reduces energy costs but also brings more comfortable and healthy environment for occupants. Building Automation also increases the value and sustainability of a building. It provides a building with an environment-friendly public profile that poses as a green marketing tool.
Where it all began
By the 1970s, the U.S. had its commercial buildings and industrial facilities together account for about half of the country’s total energy use. Some building were even historic. So the earliest purpose of Building Automation was to make older buildings energy-efficent and cost-effective. In the following years, the demand for Building Automation increased for the purpose of comfort and convenience for occupants. Later in the recent two decades, the technology for Building Automation skyrocketed with the revolutions of digitalization and broadband network. Building Automation stretched to the automation of HVAC, firefighting, video surveillance and so on. Today security has become another important benefit that Building Automation can bring. Some of the features can even be used remotely on a smartphone, tablet, or PC.
Technologies that make Building Automation happen
The core technology needed for Building Automation is the application that collects and transforms system device data into analytics. Sometimes system devices are also managed by this application.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical objects with an IP address for Internet connection. The Internet allows the communication between these objects even though these devices belong to different systems. In the past, heterogeneous system devices such as camera, access card reader, thermostats, etc. were proprietary and expensive. However, the introduction of resistors, microprocessors and digital computers in the last decades has brought more devices and increased integration between heterogeneous systems.
- Data Analytics
IoT is a network with a large number of heterogeneous devices installed on disparate locations. These devices produce a vast amount of data, and therefore the network needs an efficient and capable mechanism to handle and analyze these data. The meaningful results drawn from the analytics will be used to improve system performance and prevent predictable system failure.
The Biggest Rewards of Building Automation
Although the very first purpose to automate a building is for cost and energy, the biggest rewards Building Automation can bring are security and safety. Imagine how an automated commercial / industrial builiding can work: It can shut itself down after working hours. It turns off the lights and re-adjusts utilities and room temperatures when the clock strikes 5:00 P.M. If some of the office workers want some extended hours of paper work, it’s alright with the building as long as they swipe their ID cards at the card readers at the front door. The building will restore the service for them. The building will reactivate relevant elevators, shed a light on the corridor they go by and weatherize the office room for them again.
If a burglar tries to break in from the back door, the building will turn on the light, tilt the camera lens at the burglar and send an alarm notice to the building’s property management team. The property managers can speak to the burglar through public address or by the two-way audio featured by some sophisticated IP cameras.
In case of a fire, smoke detector will sense smoke and signal the building to close all fire doors, put down all smoke barriers in all fire compartments, and issue an fire alarm to the control room while sounding an audible or visual alarm to the building occupants.
The challenges to overcome
Being so advantagous, Builidng Automation takes a lot of a nasty jobs, the so-called “system integration”, to achieve. In the past, it meant troubles and chaos when it came to system integration. For example, there are lighting fixtures, HVAC, public address, car park, elevator / escalator, fire fighting, energy management, security, garbage disposal and so on. They are so diverse, and they use different data structures and software applications. The data acquisition structure alone poses many challenges. System integrators need to decide a communication protocol for different systems to work together and exchange system data over the network.
GVD’s 3rd-party system integration
GVD has a variety of NVRs with Modbus support. Modbus is the most popular serial-communication protocol widely-used for Building Automation. With Modbus, GVD’s large-scale centralized video platforms, CMS & VMS, can quickly integrate with the automated system of a building without extra effort of engineering work.
- NVR Modbus Slave support – collects status data from a video channel
GVD features a variety of capable NVRs that support Modbus Slaves to real-time collect status data from a video channel when recording starts, video is lost, motion starts, and DI point becomes active, and send them to a 3rd-party system.
- CMS Modbus Master / Slave supports – send and received 3rd-party system data
GVD CMS ("Central Management System") is one of GVD's centralized platforms covering multiple NVRs to control up to 600 channels to safeguard a project. The CMS supports Modbus Master to collect the status data from a 3rd-party system. It also supports Modbus Slave to send the status data of a video channel to a 3rd-party system.
- Open platform & modular designs
Open-platform design is one of GVD’s core value. Both GVD VMS and CMS come with open-platform design to take in a 3rd-party system without much trouble. GVD has successful 3rd-party integration cases including GE for access control system, BOSCH for fire panels, and Honeywell for digital alarm receivers. GVD products also provide SDK & APIs to provide users with the best way to develop their own applications.
- VMS Integration Gateway – Interoperates with a 3rd-party system
GVD VMS is an all-in-one modular platform that features an integration gateway to provide a wider support of 3rd-party systems ranging from ATM, POS, ACS, LPR, fire-fighting, alarm, and so on. Well-known 3rd-party systems are supported including GE for access control, BOSCH for fire panels, and Honeywell for digital alarm receivers. GVD products are also provided with SDK & APIs for 3rd-party system integration to provide a Smart Building with the best way to develop their own application to best meet their needs.
- Modbus support & TCP message – promises Smart Buildings and Smart Cities
GVD NVR features powerful alarm management, capable of sending TCP messages to alert the property management team of the building. These advantages make the NVR highly competent for the promising solutions such as Smart Buildings for DCS (distributed control system) such as Siemens and Honeywell and Smart Cities for CAP (common alerting protocol) such as IBM IOC
GVD cutting-edge features
- Enterprise & multi-site designs of GVD platforms
A standalone commercial / industrial building or a complex of them such as an enterprise, factory, shopping mall or campus may need hundreds or thousands of cameras and sensors to safeguard the property. GVD has two centralized video management platforms, VMS and CMS, to answer such a need. The CMS allows 600 channels while the VMS supports 8000 channels. Project scale-up is easy through flexible add-ons of GVD products. Both platforms are designed with open platforms to integrate with an automatic building system. GVD CMS supports Modbus to communicate with 3rd-party systems while the VMS additionally features an Integration Gateway C5001 to provide a wider support of 3rd-party systems.
- Scalable up to 8000 cameras
For basic infrastructure, GVD has CMS to attend 600 channels. For even larger-scale building, GVD has the VMS to manage 8000 channels. Both are smartly designed to allow easy expansion of the video platform, and both are provided with special applications and special tools such as powerful alarm and map integration to let the building’s property management team quickly pinpoint an incident and take prompt reaction when it happens.
- Dual Monitors
GVD CMS allows simultaneously display of maximum 80 live video on two monitors. When you are searching and viewing archived video on one monitor, you can still monitor live videos and receive events on the other. No more switching between multiple windows or going through layers of menus when you are just trying to perform a single task. Effectiveness and simplicity are what the friendly interface is all about.
- Reliable NVRs for long-term stable running
GVD has a variety of capable NVRs to wedge into the VMS or CMS platforms to control a multitude of cameras. All NVRs are loaded with a “virtual hard disk” (VHD) to recover stable system state within 5 minutes once a serious system failure or software corruption occurs. Some of the NVRs are extra robust with redundant hardware to withstand 24x7 video recording at high speed. GVD VMS in particular supports high storage capacity and excellent writing bandwidth to allow uninterrupted video recording for at least 1~6 months.
GVD software highlights
- Support of HTML-based floor plans
When a building has a large amount of cameras and digital I/O points, it can be difficult for the building’s property management to efficiently retrieve a video or manage a DO point. GVD CMS allows users to insert a floor plan in the system to get an geographic overview of a monitored floor. An unique utility named Map Editor is bundled to load a floor plan with a linked graphic or text to conjure up a video or an associated file. This feature combined with “video tour” can help property managers save much time in keeping an eye on the vast floor areas of a large building.
- Powerful user management
A commercial or industrial building often has a professional team to manage the property and the real estate. Such a team may come in various departments. Both of GVD’s video management platforms, CMS and VMS, come with powerful management of user accounts and user groups. The CMS allows system administrators to manage a user name, password, department, job title, email, phone number, logon schedule and the most important of all, the permission to use a feature or access a part of the system. The permission settings are optimized and categorized in a number of groups, including camera operation, alarm management, camera/system configuration, etc.
GVD CMS User/Group Management
- Hardware health monitor & powerful alarm
GVD CMS comes with friendly GUI to let you jump seamlessly from the localhost to a remote video channel, or from this function to another. The platform has a powerful alarm management tool to let you define which condition to form an event and which sophisticated reaction for the NVR to take. A variety of hardware conditions can be monitored such as HDD temperature, CPU temperature, fan speed and so on. Users can also set the NVR to email a notice or pop up an alarm message onscreen to call your prompt attention once a noteworthy event comes up.