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Smart Buildings and the Use of Cables in Smart Building Technology

While smart technologies have been evolving over a long period of time, what is relatively new is that, with the development of software, communications technology and common standards, we now have the ability to collect, store, analyse and distribute vast amounts of information. Crucially, this means that not only can we observe, monitor and control individual processes in isolation, we can also see how they interact or how a change in one can affect another.

IT infrastructures in smart buildings are integrated between the networking equipment running the server, infrastructure management software, telecommunications, camera systems, video systems, access control, imaging systems, LAN, energy management, environmental control, and safety/fire systems that are all cabled throughout the buildings. To ensure easy identification of all these cables, efficient labelling must be implemented at the time of the install.

 As part of the smart infrastructure of the building, devices will use the same type of cabling system which simplifies the overall implementation of cables in the building by design. This innovative design allows the productivity to increase for the build, using a structured cabling system. The utilisation of space in a smart building due to innovative cabling is a key point in modern design. This symbiotic nature of the cables means that labelling of cables has become a major requirement.

To bring a building to a level that it can be considered smart also requires many extra features, which are all backed by technology, making even more cables in a smart building than what would have existed in a traditional building. In every aspect of technological advancement in the smart building, cables are at the core. Maintenance and repair of any of the cables would be made much more difficult if there isn’t any organisation within the cables. 

Many Cables – Many Uses

Organisation is critical for smart building cabling, even more than it would be in a home. If the maintenance or repair department is not aware of the function of each cable, the amount of down time overall will be greatly increased. There will be a fear that business operations could be significantly delayed by shutting down the wrong cables by virtue of not knowing which ones the right cables are without trial and error.

Cabling across the smart building will allow the organisation of shared data, and there will always be a possibility that new changes will be brought out in terms of smart technology which the building will incorporate in the future. By labelling each of the cables, the time it will take to wire new technology in will be minimal. Whether the building is just being constructed, or a revamp is being done on an existing building, working with the cables will be an initial challenge.

With the popularity of smart building construction, an immediate requirement exists for what to do with all of the cables. Managing cables in smart buildings will require an easy way to arrange the cables so it will be clear in the future what each cable is for. Choices to identify the varying cable usages on the cable itself range from wrap-around cable labels, flag labels, or tie-on cable labels.

Two Cable Method

In a smart building, one advantage that engineers will note is that there is usually a two cable method used across the entire building for all computer and IT needs, either a fibre cable or a Cat6a cable. The number of different functions that are being run across a smart building is exponential compared to their consistent delivery over one of these two cables. Cable labelling is imperative for the identification requirement, at every point that a maintenance technician might need to access the cable. Imagine how difficult the job of identifying the right cable would be without a label near the problem! The energy needs, security needs, and IT needs across an entire smart building are being delivered through two different cables, making the cost of any possible mistake in shutting down a cable for the wrong reason quite high. Ideally, a workplace can keep functioning while a repair is being made, as long as the area being worked on is clearly identified to the technician.

Smart Building Requirements

The link between cables and smart buildings of any type is vital – for one of two reasons, the services supplied via internet and electronic or cloud technologies are interdependent on cables to create their value. Smart building features are constantly monitored for their efficiency levels, which integrates excess technology wiring within the building than a traditional property would have. This creates one solid reason why cables are vital; the second reason is that the service itself is often aligned to services which are external to the building, such as smart property protection like remote viewing CCTV, and links with alarm companies.

The services which are being provided on a basic level have changed over the course of years to the point that traditional services are also linked to internal cabling. This means that the number of cables in any building is far more than they ever have been before, and the advent of new technology will continue this trend. It becomes vital to be able to wrap cables in a categorical way for easy reference in the future, and to have different options of how to incorporate labels onto the cables. This could be for space reasons, or for accessibility.

Conclusion

The pace at which smart technology is gaining space in the building markets is explosive, and the future trajectory of building is one that will see smart buildings of all types become commonplace. The core of every smart building is the technology that runs its internal and external environments; one commonality exists across all these technologies and that is the requirement for cabling to facilitate them. The choices for labelling cables include wrap-around cable labels, flag labels, or tie-on cable labels, which ensures that in the future when a technician is sent out, the minimal amount of time and effort will be spent to find the proper cable needing work. This can prove to be a solid time saver, or a complete drain of resources, depending on whether the cables are labelled clearly at the outset.

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