Approximately one year ago, we published a series of three blogs discussing the “universal truths about networks.” These pieces talked about how networks never stop transforming themselves, stretching across the enterprise or operating at higher speeds. And we carried that theme throughout the year with our LAN-focused blogs.

The information we shared about how networks are changing led us to this: We predict that the industry will see the rise of the digital building this year.

What is a Digital Building?

A digital building is seamless in operation, thanks to its connected infrastructure. Building systems that have stood alone for years using a combination of twisted-pair cabling, AC power and video cable – voice, data, wireless, lighting, security, AV, etc. – can now be networked together using one common infrastructure. All of these devices, which use Internet protocol (IP) to send and receive data via the network, converge under one umbrella for cost savings, easier maintenance and better building control.

Because digital buildings are so connected, devices and systems talk directly to each other and make necessary adjustments instead of requiring manual control and human intervention. The data gathered by these IP-enabled devices is sent back to the network – and to other devices – for evaluation. Based on what these devices “see” and experience, adjustments and enhancements are made in real time throughout the day to keep expenses down, reduce energy use, maintain comfort and prevent performance problems.

IoT - The New ConvergenceThe best way to explain it: In a digital building, the infrastructure functions much like a human nervous system. Your nervous system’s network of cells transmit information and communicate with each other to make adjustments and modifications that keep things running smoothly. When you run, for example, you don’t have to manually control your body’s response: your heart automatically beats faster to direct blood to your muscles, your breathing automatically increases to provide an influx of oxygen to muscle cells, your legs and core automatically keep you upright and your circulatory system automatically diverts blood flow to your skin to cool you down.

The same thing happens in a truly digital building. You don’t have to manually turn lights on when you enter a room – the building “knows” you’re there. Temperature settings don’t have to be adjusted daily – the building can tell whether more heating, cooling or humidification is required for comfortable temperatures. You don’t have to manually check each of your building’s fire extinguishers – the extinguishers automatically send alerts when they expire or require maintenance. How? Because of the data captured from sensors in the devices that are connected to your network as part of IoT (Internet of Things).

What Does a Digital Building Call For?

A digital building provides everything an enterprise needs to run smarter, automatically and efficiently. It has technology and infrastructure to support:

  • Convergence: Bringing previously disparate, unconnected devices to our networks for direct communication and integration without any human interaction or intervention to share information, deliver high-quality AV, ensure life safety and improve building management
  • Reliability: Constant uptime that allows business processes to continue, keeping revenue and productivity as high as possible
  • Efficient Powering Solutions: The ability to support local powering and higher-power Power over Ethernet, which delivers power of up to 100W through Ethernet cables to devices
  • Productivity: Systems and technology that allow people and devices on the network to complete their jobs quickly and efficiently, without delays or bottlenecks
  • Analytics: Usage statistics and data that can be used for more informed decision-making
  • Environmental Solutions: Human health, workplace well-being and green building initiatives to improve the environment, tenant/occupant satisfaction and employee productivity

These things are all possible through an infrastructure that supports the systems that make up a digital building: wired LAN, wireless and WiFi, HVAC and building system controls, AV and collaboration, lighting controls and life safety and physical security systems.

Belden: Your Digital Building Partner

As a layer 0 provider, Belden has always taken a holistic approach to networks and buildings. We believe that you should always looking beyond the cabling itself to consider the enterprise networks at play, especially within your own unique environments and applications. We’re prepared to help you in your digital building quest by providing solutions that:

  • Support the convergence of end-user connectivity and building management connectivity onto one ubiquitous, efficient IT infrastructure
  • Connect people and devices seamlessly so enterprise work environments become more productive, enjoyable, efficient and safe while adapting to the business and its occupants
  • Use the best cabling, connectivity and rack and cabinet systems technology to offer the most reliable and efficient IT infrastructure possible
  • Are backed up by the industry’s most comprehensive certification and warranty program to cover your entire building’s IT cabling infrastructure

If you want to learn more about digital buildings, then stay tuned! We’ll be talking a lot about them in 2017, and providing helpful content through a variety of blogs, white papers and webinars. Subscribe to our blog now so you don’t miss a thing!