What Is The Purpose Of System Integration?



System integration is a hot topic these days because of the increasing advances in building automation technology. Software such as BAS (Building Automation Systems), CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Systems), security software and building performance visualization software can now be integrated into a single seamless system. An integrated system promotes efficiency and reduces costs, but without integration, the management of facilities can be very cumbersome.


Building systems, materials and products must be integrated into a successful project in order to create a unified whole that achieves the desired functional purpose. The integrated solution results from a design approach that considers the characteristics of each component proposed in the project and looks for opportunities for dual functions or volume sharing. This system integration approach represents a paradigm shift in the field of building design and construction.


When individual systems are not integrated, staff at the facility must learn how to operate each element separately. For example, the fire alarm system triggers the HVAC system to control smoke and ventilation, the access control system provides an exit for evacuation, and the elevator system brings the cabins to the floor.


These separate elements need to be manually adjusted at different times and do not promote efficiency. System integration needs to be established when it comes to better management of facilities and truly efficient methods.


Building system integration has potential benefits for enhanced functionality and automation, as well as more focused and meaningful information for building performance monitoring and management.


The origin of system integration or interface started with fire systems triggering reactions from other related building systems; HVAC, access control, elevators, etc. Today, system integration includes all control systems in the building, but also encompasses facility management systems, business systems, and eventually utility grids.


Despite where the industry is now moving forward, there seems to be little in the way of structured education or training for building system integration that is actively involved in system integration projects that exposes real life integration issues with data, clients, contractors, the BAS network, etc.


Purpose Of System Integration In Buildings:

System integration is an umbrella term that refers, at the most basic level, to ties between elements of the HVAC system—still far and large the most common type of integration. The next step is connectivity between HVAC and other systems, such as protection or fire safety.


At an even higher level, an integrated system may link building control systems and facility management software packages such as CAFM (computer-aided facility management) or CMMS (computerized maintenance management systems). The newest approach involves connecting building systems to enterprise-wide business applications such as enterprise resource planning.


Integration may reduce the time it takes to respond to problems. At higher levels, integration may provide information sharing and control options that improve maintenance, enable facilities to tap utility incentives or benefit rates, provide building users with some control over building system operating parameters or feed facility performance data to senior executives.


Other Purposes and Benefits:

Performance – Integrated systems are performing well. Most users of integrated systems are satisfied with the way the technology operates, which shows that system integration generally meets expectations and is easy to use.

Improved Response Time – When integration is done properly, real-time alerts will be sent through work orders or alarm systems. Many software companies now offer mobile capabilities, so they can get alerts through their mobile phones or other devices.

Energy Saving – Integration can reduce energy consumption and lead to significant energy savings. Tying together and monitoring temperature fluctuations, as well as making the necessary adjustments or repairs to the equipment, can generate energy savings almost immediately.

Single Work Station – System integration allows facility managers to work from a single workstation. Problems can be resolved and changes can be made with a few clicks instead of visiting multiple computer systems. It makes the process simpler and easier to manage.

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