Intelligent buildings are no longer a futuristic sci-fi vision. Dedicated information systems called Intelligent Building Systems, which enable broadly defined building automation, are increasingly used to support the administration and operation of buildings. This trend has become an inspiration to create the Smart Building application, which was created by our Product Design team. This tool, among others, visualizes data collected from sensors located in rooms for convenient and smooth management of environmental conditions in the offices. The creation of the application supported by dashboard visualization is a response to the needs of having a 360 tool for intelligent building management, from the stage of space design and placement of sensors, through their real-time monitoring to the management of your own office space.
Jakub Kubacki, Synergy Codes’ Software Developer and co-creator of Smart Building app talks about the goals that drove to creating the application, surprising solutions implemented within the tool, and long months of work on the mobile and web app versions.
Q: Where did the idea to create this type of application come from?
A: Synergy Codes wanted to create a comprehensive data visualization application for managing and using the intelligent building space. We wanted it to be able to integrate with the existing sensor infrastructure. We know that there’s a need to have applications on the side of people responsible for managing modern office spaces or people who use them. Usually, functions such as: placing sensors in the office space, monitoring building parameters, or reporting faults are controlled by various systems. This leads to purchasing them from various suppliers, causes problems of their integration, and ultimately higher costs are generated. Synergy Codes, or more precisely, Product Design Team, has developed the Smart Building application that allows you to manage the building in an advanced way using modern technologies to make life easier for the users. We are talking about sensors that measure parameters such as temperature and lighting in real-time presented via diagramming software. Other parts of the system are responsible for adjusting the above-mentioned parameters to obtain the best conditions for work and everyday indoor use. Thanks to this, we solve probably the biggest issue of an intelligent building manager, i.e. the lack or limited integration with other systems functioning in the building (e.g. those responsible for maintaining optimal environmental conditions), which, if properly managed, allow achieving measurable energy savings.
Q: Who will benefit from the Smart Building application?
A: The application provides functions for 3 categories of users. The first of them is the property manager. His job is to make sure that nothing disturbing happens in the buildings under their control. The Facility Manager can expect our interactive dashboard to inform him if something happens in the building that he should know about, e.g. the temperature will rise rapidly in many rooms. But not all failures can be detected automatically. We usually learn about defects such as a leaking tap in the kitchen from building users as they spend the most time in it. The Smart Building mobile application already allows building users not only to report failures but also to control intelligent devices installed inside. We can mention, among others, air purifiers or humidifiers, lighting, or blinds. Additionally, thanks to the data collected from the sensors, the application will help to plan the meetings. Besides, the application offers the possibility of spatial design of advanced sensors, the arrangement of furniture, and intelligent devices. The interactive editor is more than a design tool, because it allows you to check the compliance of the project with health and safety regulations in real-time, but also … with the budget. The main benefit of space design directly in the application is the ability to send the project to the building manager.
Q: What was the application development process path?
A: The work lasted for many months – from the moment of the idea creation to the implementation of our solutions. To create the Smart Building, we engaged a specially appointed Product Design team, which focused its work on creating the application from scratch to the final result. This is the first project done by the common work of selected developers and designers. We chose our standard work path. Thanks to the close programmers and designers’ cooperation, we were able to provide the best, well-thought-out UX. The really comfortable thing for us was the lack of a high deadline. So we were able to work out the next design stages, implementation, and testing at our own pace. I have to confess, that this was the first project in which we expanded our competences in GraphQL and React Native technologies. On the example of the Smart Building, we have expanded our competence in crafting mobile applications, which is the direction we’d like to develop. The overall effect brings a great visual diagramming tool with beautifully designed data viz dashboards.
Q: What modules is the Smart Building equipped with?
A: As I mentioned, we tried to cover the needs of three groups of recipients of our application. The mobile version, as a handy and intelligent management tool, can significantly simplify work. From this level, we can schedule meetings, as well as report faults, and check the conditions in the office. The desktop version, on the other hand, includes automated building monitoring with all parameters displayed on an intuitive dashboard. It’s also possible to optimize the space in terms of seating, electronic equipment, lighting, and temperature. If someone’s involved in building management, we also have a dashboard on hand to control utility consumption and access to monitoring notifications and alerts.
Since such solutions have emerged, it’s believed that an intelligent building should meet all safety standards. Both those related to the proper functioning of the installation and the elimination of unauthorized access to selected areas. It is known that immediate alerting of life-threatening situations (fires) and quick system response to protect against the spread of a threat is a key issue when it comes to building management. The wireless system must guarantee both multi-range command transmission as well as secure encryption, adequate coverage, and two-way communication in real-time. Therefore, an intelligent building should detect any failures, inappropriate settings, or life-threatening situations.
The Smart Building is an application with implemented data visualization dashboard that provides a high work standard not only for people who stay in an intelligent building daily but also for those who build this type of construction. To implement IoT requirements, with the support of modern technologies and expertise from the Product Design Team, we want to create a status quo that is already underway.