Home Computing Despite the Cloud’s Rise, Edge Computing Remains Vital for Critical Building Systems

Despite the Cloud’s Rise, Edge Computing Remains Vital for Critical Building Systems

We have fully embraced cloud computing; ninety-four percent of companies worldwide now utilize this technology. Indeed, our reliance on the cloud has been building for some time. The pandemic significantly accelerated its adoption as companies sought ways to accommodate hybrid work models. To keep up with our insatiable demand for off-site computing, data centers are being retrofitted with more powerful processors. The growth of cloud computing shows no signs of slowing down, with key sectors such as AI, computer vision, big data, robotics, and bio-engineering all heavily reliant on cloud technologies.

Despite the widespread shift to the cloud, there are still essential applications where “edge” computing remains critical. One such area is building systems management. Even as many building operations migrate their systems to the cloud, the physical hardware controllers—those devices that unlock doors or turn on furnaces—continue to operate on-premises. This on-premises requirement is crucial in environments where there is little room for error, such as nuclear power plants or high-security facilities. These controllers must remain operational, independent of external networks, as the safety and functionality of some of the country’s most secure and important places depend on it.

Edge computing excels in scenarios requiring immediate, autonomous responses, such as security systems where local data processing allows for swift actions like lockdowns or immediate notifications to authorities without the delays of cloud communications. It is also vital in hospitals to ensure that life-support and emergency protocols function flawlessly during network disruptions. Similarly, schools benefit from efficient security and environmental control, while industrial facilities rely on it for real-time monitoring and decision-making in manufacturing processes. These diverse requirements across various building types underscore the indispensability of robust, reliable edge computing solutions to maintain continuous operation, safety, and security.

On-board processors do more than provide redundancy; they enhance a building’s ability to autonomously monitor and control its environment. “We have edge computing, and with that comes edge intelligence,” Billal Hammoud, President and CEO of Honeywell’s building automation segment, told me during this year’s Niagara Summit. This annual developer conference is where industry professionals gather to learn about the Niagara software framework, which many building controllers utilize. Hammoud highlighted the advantages of processing data locally: “If you centralize the processing of all fire alarm signals, you might end up with false alarms. However, if each controller processes its data locally, it can better understand and accurately report what each sensor is detecting.”

Edge computing also facilitates better integration with mobile technologies. Not only must buildings enable mobile access control for occupants and guests, but they must also support mobile functionalities for the facility management teams. A significant concern that emerged at the conference was the impending labor shortage in the building management industry. The sector has seen little influx of new talent, and it’s not commonly listed among the career aspirations of younger generations. It is estimated that about forty percent of all facility managers globally will retire within the next eight years. This shortage threatens not only the safety and efficiency of building operations but also the pace at which new technologies are adopted. Less experienced personnel might struggle with the sophisticated systems used in modern buildings, leading to increased errors and safety issues.

To address this looming gap, building technologies need to become more accessible and user-friendly. “We will have no choice but to hire less skilled workers,” Udaya Shrivastava, CTO at Honeywell Building Automation, remarked. “The software is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and we can’t expect incoming workers to instantly possess advanced technical skills. We need to develop software that simplifies operations. Good design is the key to future usability.”

As our computing infrastructure increasingly moves to the cloud, there will always be a subset of applications that continue to require on-premises systems. This includes various building management systems. The need for redundancy, the benefits of edge intelligence, and the necessity for mobile connectivity will keep some building systems from migrating fully to the cloud. Utilizing both edge and cloud computing offers significant advantages, including enhanced security measures that help prevent accidental or malicious changes to system code. Although we might be moving towards a cloud-centric computing world, our buildings will always maintain at least one foot firmly on the ground, ensuring stability and responsiveness in critical situations.



Denial of responsibility! TechCodex is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
DMCA compliant image

Leave a Comment