Smart Building

Avoiding Network Downtime in Smart Buildings

Daniel Charles

When your IT network – and the systems that connect to it – are running, then everyone can rest easy knowing that technology isn’t slowing anyone down. When your network fails, however, things come to a standstill quickly.

The risks associated with network downtime are what can make IoT and convergence seem scary. When the majority of our systems and devices connect to a network, downtime means that almost nothing will work in the event of a failure. (And, when nothing works, nothing gets done.)


The 3-30-300 Rule

We’re at the dawn of a new frontier, where labor productivity is as crucial as ever – especially with smart buildings. For this reason, network infrastructure – cabling and connectivity – are taking up larger chunks of building investments. And rightfully so. But it can be hard to make that justification when there are so many other areas that deserve time, attention and funding.


Thinking about the 3-30-300 rule from one of our Synergy partners, JLL, may help. This rule is driven by the fact that productivity saves money (or improves profits) and uses the following values as an example:

  • $3 for utilities
  • $30 for rent
  • $300 for payroll

In other words, if an organization pays $3 for utilities per month, they likely pay $30 in rent and $300 in payroll per month (these numbers obviously scale, but the low numbers make it easy to follow).


This holistic view of real estate considers hard costs and their impact on people inside the building. Many organizations focus on utilities and lease rates as two areas where costs can be reduced, but the biggest money savings can actually be found through productivity improvements (which indirectly impact payroll – more work is getting done for less money).


In the 3-30-300 rule above, for example, a 2% energy-efficiency improvement would result in savings of $0.06 per square foot. A 2% productivity improvement, however, would result in savings of $6 per square foot through increased productivity from the people who receive a paycheck each month.


True Costs of Network Downtime

ITIC, a Boston research firm, conducted a study in 2017, asking 800 organizations about network downtime.


More than 98% of large enterprises with 1,000+ employees said that, on average, one hour of downtime costs their company more than $100,000. Three in 10 (33%) stated that one hour of downtime costs their firm $1 million or more.


These costs expand far beyond potential lost sales or other obvious losses you may think of when you consider network downtime.


In the case of a U.S. airline that suffered 12 hours of network downtime a few years ago, costs included employee overtime, as well as transportation, hotels and meals for stranded travelers and crew members. In total, the airline lost at least $54 million in half a day. This is a great example of how IT connectivity now has the biggest impact on productivity – much more so than a long lunch or chatting with a colleague at the water cooler.


The Secret to Achieving Convergence

The smallest issue can create a big impact on reliability. If you have a simple connectivity failure at a centralized location, for example, that failure can impact an entire connected building.


So what makes true convergence possible without the looming fear of downtime? Complete network infrastructure reliability.


In a smart building, for example, if connectivity isn’t working in the telecommunications room, that failure can take down all of your meeting rooms and sever your network and internet access. In addition to the work that can’t be done when the network is down, it’s likely that IT will need to be paid overtime to troubleshoot, find and address the problem.


Selecting components designed and built with smart buildings in mind when creating your layer 0 (how we refer to cabling and connectivity) gives you peace of mind in terms of performance. Systems designed to ensure uptime won’t be the weak link in your chain.


Investing in quality and reliability over “fast and easy” also helps you reduce your technical debt (the implied costs of rework caused by poor performance).


Even knowing these facts, there is still (understandably) aversion to trying something new. Sticking with what you know and have seems easier, even if it results in the accrual of technical debt and an increase in network fragility.


Even if an “okay” network infrastructure has given the illusion of stability for a while, that reliability won’t last forever. And a sudden catastrophic failure can be difficult to respond to – and come back from.


Connectivity Designed for Smart Buildings

In short: Minimally compliant cabling and connectivity solutions that aren’t designed to meet the speed and power demands of today’s smart building applications can lead to dropped links and a slow network – decreasing productivity and costing you money.


Belden’s REVConnect® Connectivity System was designed for uptime. It’s not only built to support smart buildings through its excellent reliability, but it also supports easy and versatile connections to your network.


During installation, it decreases rework and reduces deployment and testing time by 10%. Afterward, end-users can switch back and forth between jacks, plugs or couplers as needed – without needing a professional installer or technician.


Want to learn more about why REVConnect is the right choice to ensure uptime in smart buildings? Learn more about this game-changing connectivity solution.