Buildings must account the needs of new technologies. Source: Shutterstock

Buildings must account the needs of new technologies. Source: Shutterstock

Strategic architectural designs are key to 5G and IoT deployments

ARCHITECTS must have a strategic direction in mind when designing the buildings of tomorrow as the world is progressively moving towards a more digitalized and automated living ecosystem.

Buildings — commercial and residential —  as a result of the dense materials and poor design, are limited to certain technology applications and unable to support connected solutions like 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Modern architecture must account for the needs of stable transmissions and strong wireless internet connectivity to enable 5G and IoT, the technologies that enable smart buildings for the new era.

One of the important things about smart buildings is that they use sensors to help administrators to remotely manage the facilities in an automated manner.

With the market value of smart buildings expected to increase to US$105.8 billion by 2024, architects can no longer afford to design buildings that are not equipped to sustain the demands of the digital world.

To enable 5G, buildings must have enough room to host the connection points as it requires a dense setup for its nodes. Further, buildings need to provide a lot of open spaces to allow the 5G signals to travel effectively and connect at their highest capacity.

Once 5G is enabled, IoT solutions can be leveraged and deployed fruitfully to make tracking and indoor mapping possible to benefit residents, enterprises, and industry key players.

One of the main functions of tracking is to secure the whereabouts and conditions of assets in a building by having constantly-connected IoT devices communicate real-time data through internet-powered sensors.

Users are also able to receive relevant data from IoT devices to gauge the condition (physical state) of the assets. In industrial buildings, for instance, management authorities would be notified about sensor-powered conveyor belts that suddenly stop working.

Additionally, smart IoT devices allow users to remotely control certain functions of assets, as long as connections are reliable.

Indoor mapping, on the other hand, allows architects to define the boundaries of an area. This allows for better security management of a building and provides alerts when assets are moved outside the set boundaries.

Further, the feature allows electrical components like lights, ovens, air conditioners, and refrigerators to be switched on or off automatically – on when there is a human present and off when there are none.

With indoor mapping, tracking can be done on a more tactical scale. Both can be used to automate the accessibility of certain areas to relevant visitors. In huge open spaces like airports, indoor mapping and tracking work well to help travelers find their way to desired locations and plan their journeys with a real-time ETA.

Moving forward, architects must not only aim for smart buildings but also smart designs — with these functions in mind. After all, smart buildings are only the beginning of world-scale digitalized infrastructures.