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ASHRAE to develop IoT standard

Society president discusses the importance of using technology wisely and the need for cybersecurity, in view of the increasing adoption of smart systems

Darryl K Boyce

DUBAI, UAE, 11 November 2019: “Understanding how the industry is going to change in the future is another area we want to begin investigating,” said 2019-20 ASHRAE President Darryl K Boyce, highlighting how technology is constantly redefining the way buildings are designed, built, operated and maintained. “Using technology wisely in the future is a challenge, and I think it’s time that we stepped up and really took it on,” he said, adding that there is a growing need for standardization in this field, which ASHRAE aims to address. “I have been talking to a number of organizations about the fact that we should really have a standard for the use of the Internet of Things data in the built-environment,” he said. “The standard would need to cover how to use the data that’s coming from all sorts of devices effectively but also securely, so that cybersecurity issue is covered, as well.”

Boyce said ASHRAE has been in talks with BACnet organizations as well as with a number of building automation companies, to see potential areas of collaboration in order to create and develop the standard, which is expected to be rolled out in the next one to two years. “They feel this is necessary,” he said, “Even with existing systems, cybersecurity is a big issue. We are talking about working with the CIBSE group in England to create a guide on cybersecurity for building automation systems.” Boyce said CIBSE group has already developed a Version One of the standard. “They want to work with ASHRAE now to have a more comprehensive guide to cybersecurity in the built-environment,” he said. “These are the things we are working on.” Boyce said that while the standard is still a work in progress, it aims to cover all buildings and systems that contribute to the built-environment, including mission-critical facilities, such as healthcare, data centers and District Energy plants, taking into consideration how they are controlled and operated.

Boyce said that such a supporting infrastructure is needed, as technology will continuously play a vital role in enhancing operational performance of buildings. “One of our largest challenges in the built-environment today is actually getting these buildings to operate effectively – and that’s not just energy-efficiency-wise, it’s also about the indoor environmental quality,” he said. “We want to find ways that these buildings can be operated effectively, so that the people in the buildings are productive, yet they do not waste energy. I believe that technology could play a great role in that.” Boyce added that analytic software and artificial intelligence could greatly help operators and building occupants operate the building more effectively and achieve an ideal environment by being able to assess the activities and number of inhabitants. He said, “It can work with people responsible for operating and maintaining the building to keep it in a condition that it will provide good indoor environment without wasting energy.”

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