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How can mall management be improved using building automation solutions?

Gaurav Bali
Gaurav Bali

16th September 2022

Introduction

Shopping malls and retail centers have a huge responsibility to keep their customers safe and pleasant; therefore, mall and retail facility managers have challenging duties to make workflows run smoothly. It isn’t easy to maintain these places since they are dispersed over such a broad region and operate on so many different systems. That’s where the building automation system comes to the rescue. More than merely making tasks in the retail environment more efficient, building automation has many other advantages as well.

Almost all facets of your commercial business will profit from it. It gives you the tools you need to manage costs and resources, enhance customer experiences, and make your brand more pertinent to consumer needs. Automation offers all the advantages a contemporary retailer could desire, whereas traditional retailing consumes excessive labour and time and consequently limits an organization’s profitability. Retail automation is becoming more and more prevalent. In addition, a Statista analysis estimates that by 2026, the global retail and commercial automation market will be valued at $23.58 billion USD. In this blog, we will discuss building automation systems and how mall management can be improved using building automation solutions.

Building Automation Solutions – Explained!

Building automation refers to the use of control and automation systems to monitor and control equipment used throughout a building, such as the HVAC, lighting, alarms, security cameras, and access points. A smart building is created by integrating these components into a single, IT-managed network infrastructure.

Over a third of all energy consumed globally is used by infrastructures like malls, apartments, and residential facilities. They are making a major contribution to carbon dioxide emissions. Waste energy for buildings accounts for 21% of all energy production worldwide. The problem can be resolved by swapping them out for effective building automation systems (BAS), control, and management. Building automation systems guarantee that failed equipment is maintained proactively to raise occupant comfort levels. Small and midsize structures under 200,000 square feet account for about 35% of worldwide building automation revenue. IoT resembles commercial BAS quite a bit. It enables you to control the systems as precisely as possible!

The building automation system uses a predefined algorithm to regulate the building functions and controls from a central hub. It manages controls in accordance with the direct inputs and predetermined conditions that result in a smart building. With this technology in place, four fundamental functions may be guaranteed, such as

  • Fully having control over the building environment
  • Operational systems are accessed according to occupancy and energy demand.
  • Monitors the performance and efficiency of the systems
  • Remaining aware or having alarms sound when necessary

How Does the Building Automation System Work?

Electricity, heating and air conditioning, and water and sewer are the three types of utilities that are monitored and controlled by building automation using sensors and controls. Typical examples include temperature-controlling thermostats, occupancy sensors for lighting control, humidity gauges, and detectors for smoke and fire. Building utility automation has developed at varying rates. Each utility system has traditionally been controlled separately.

Building management systems (BMS), often referred to as building automation systems (BAS), have been created more recently to aid in the eradication of siloed activities. These systems incorporate standard control interfaces to operate a variety of building automation operations. Smart building systems enhance building automation by utilizing the fourth utility, in this case, a building’s data network. In order to manage the ecosystem of the infrastructure or building in real-time, they achieve this by not just linking but also connecting sensors and other devices. Buildings become programmable and responsive to the user and building manager needs when building data is used and artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) are applied to the data.

Features of BAS

Reduced operational costs

The data that a smart building automation system gathers can be used to lower its operational costs. For instance, altering the shades to let in more natural light, can aid in reducing the use of electric lights. Such lighting control has been shown to significantly reduce electricity consumption.

Reduced energy expenses

Building managers can automate temperature, shade, and lighting adjustments based on the time of day and occupancy by connecting equipment such as HVAC, lighting, and shade systems. Buildings can then become more energy-efficient in order to adhere to or even surpass strict standards for greenhouse gas emissions.

Greater adaptability of workspaces

Data from smart buildings can be utilized, for instance, to track shifts in occupant density. The HVAC systems in the building then make the necessary adjustments to the temperature, humidity, and airflow. Or, if the occupancy of space exceeds density standards, the lighting hue could change to warn that there are too many people in a conference room, work area, or building. Building information can help with automatic scheduling, including reservations for conference rooms, parking spaces, and workspaces.

Types of Building Automation Solutions for Mall Management 

Energy Management Services

For the last three to four decades, atmospheric CO2 has been rising, but it has now reached a stage where we urgently need to break the trend. Energy management solutions (EMS) can be useful in this regard by gathering data on energy use from various mall premises and using various utilization-reduction strategies. An EMS can also give managers access to real-time energy usage statistics and estimate future usage, in addition to automatic device changes and reprogramming.

HVAC Automation Solutions

More energy is used by HVAC systems than by any other building component. This is due to the fact that most structures or malls maintain the same HVAC settings regardless of changes in temperature or occupancy. This occasionally results in vacant buildings running ventilation and air conditioning at full capacity even as it starts to snow outside (and the weather changes drastically). Automation of HVAC systems is the ideal response to such issues. An HVAC automation system in malls may instantly reprogramme the HVAC because it integrates with it directly. It can draw information from sensors that show changes in CO2 levels, occupancy, interior and outdoor temperatures, weather forecasts, and other variables. Based on these variables, it can change an HVAC system’s settings to guarantee a comfortable environment and efficient use of energy.

Smart Illumination Solutions

Anyone can manage the lighting in the malls or building facilities with the help of a smartphone app or web application, thanks to intelligent lighting systems. Depending on whether an area is occupied, some have motion-detecting features that automatically turn on or off a light source. Once more, this is a fantastic approach to lower a mall’s overall energy consumption.

Navigational Systems

Navigating a mall can occasionally be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time there and the structure is large. Visitors and/or staff can use their mobile phones to find their desired location using smart building navigation technologies. They contribute to providing a top-notch customer experience by detecting a user’s present location and displaying directions to every area inside a structure that is potentially accessible.

Wireless/Remote – Controlled Services

It is now a necessity for managers to be able to remotely control devices in huge structures like malls. One might occasionally forget to lock the doors, switch off the ventilation, or unplug a piece of equipment that shouldn’t be used at night. A system that enables remote control of your building is invaluable in such circumstances. All of your building’s major devices can integrate with these systems, providing you with an interface to manage them remotely.

Why do smart commercial buildings or retail facilities employ BAS that is IoT-based?

It is technically impossible to discuss building automation systems without mentioning the Internet of Things (IoT). You will have a remarkable amount of freedom to handle the activities automatically after installing the motion detectors and linking them to building systems. IoT technology is so powerful that it can make even non-smart objects smart. When involving extra staff or workers, it will eventually lighten the workload of critical building systems.

Furthermore, commercial Facility managers must keep track of a lot of data because there are numerous systems operating simultaneously in a building, and systems are interconnected. It is challenging to handle if you are handling numerous building activities at once and lack the necessary resources. At this stage, IoT technology enters the scene. BAS is enabled cleverly and effectively, ensuring that your facility is working to its full potential.

How Building Automation System helps in managing Commercial Retails Facilities like Malls?

Anything you put on autopilot is referred to as automation. You provide specified criteria that indicate when a particular activity should occur. The systems and tools will automatically begin the subsequent stages if the conditions are met. Technology is used in retail automation to speed up time-consuming, manual, repetitive procedures. It is the idea of automation, simplification, and removal of as much low-value manual work from the employee workload as is possible. Some of the advantages of implementing BAS for mall management is given below.

Savings on operations, maintenance, and energy

It’s simple to comprehend how reducing your dependence on manual labour and mall inspection will result in operational cost savings using building automation systems. However, there would be other savings as well. Making systems autonomous also decreases the possibility of problems brought on by configuration mistakes or other similar human errors, which may result in a sizable decrease in maintenance expenses.

Additionally, some building automation solutions have smart appliance monitoring capabilities that can precisely forecast when certain pieces of equipment will break down in the future. This enables you to schedule maintenance periods without having to deal with outages and without wasting hours or even days manually identifying root causes. Some sophisticated building automation technologies are effective energy savers. They operate on the barest amount of energy possible and shut themselves off when not in use. Of course, this can also result in significant energy and resource usage savings.

Increasing the sustainability of the infrastructure

Systems for automating buildings not only increase energy efficiency but also lower CO2 emissions. Energy management systems, for instance, enable you to evaluate the energy costs of mall facilities and buildings, spot areas for improvement and then put improvements into action. As CO2 emissions are a direct result of energy use, this also significantly lowers the carbon footprint of your building. Read about how 35% more energy was optimized by GNP Areal thanks to ClevAir’s clever energy management.

Access Control Services

The managers of shopping malls must only allow qualified staff in critical communities. BAS can assist in granting essential access by installing automated access control systems with video surveillance, role-based security, and programmable alerts. For perimeter and object security, BAS primarily offers access control solutions. BAS provides a fully integrated security system that enables complete building control by integrating access control, security control, and HVAC controls. The access control feature of BAS helps in the following aspects

  • Protects Against Theft and Intruder
  • Integrates security with facility management and building automation systems
  • Offers comprehensive systems with centralized management
  • Enables centralized alarms for HVAC control alarms, access and perimeter alarms, and other alarms.
  • Access-Driven Automation for After-Hours Occupancy is provided.

Building Automation Makes Mall Visitors Comfortable

People are more concerned than ever before about sustainability and smartness. According to a survey, over 70% of occupants feel that smartness and the capacity to promptly identify and fix problems will be a “game-changer” in building technology. You can keep your tenants/mall visitors comfortable by adjusting ventilation settings according to the temperature and occupancy. You can encourage more people to associate with your facility by obtaining green building certifications. All of this is only achievable if you invest in building automation systems that ensure high scores on smartness and sustainability indices while also increasing profitability.

Mall Lighting Management

Building automation solutions offer “Lighting Management Services” (LMS) for malls based on cutting-edge technology, service, and maintenance from a centralized hub. It includes hardware equipment like motion sensors, photodetector sensors, centralized and distributed routers, fixture-integrated sensors, shading control systems, visualizations, energy reporting systems, and a web-based, dependable software platform with redundancy options. The foundation of each product is an open standard, such as KNX, DALI, BACnet, Modbus, SNMP, TCP/IP, etc. Furthermore, the IoT-based lighting management system supports the most recent IoT technologies, such as MQTT and OPC UA.

Crucial Insights – Anytime, Anywhere

Modern building automation solutions’ cloud-based dashboards provide you with access to all of the critical information, KPIs, and insights into the mall’s infrastructure and systems. Mall managers get a bird’s-eye perspective of everything going on in your building without having to physically visit it or engage with individual gadgets.

Remote Monitoring and Management

Many building automation devices can allow you to control the mall’s systems and operations remotely. Modern HVAC automation systems, for example, enable administrators to change ventilation settings remotely. Is there going to be heavy traffic tomorrow, but you won’t be able to modify the ventilation settings beforehand? Not to worry. Simply connect it from your smartphone or laptop to the dashboard, modify the ventilation settings for tomorrow morning, and cool off the building before the cavalry arrives!

Reduced Human Errors

While it is hard to totally eradicate human errors in the workplace, many of these errors are avoidable with effective technology utilization. The majority of human errors are caused by distractions and exhaustion. Users can avoid making such errors by automating your company’s repetitive chores and backup system processes. The use of technology reduces the number of manual tasks that mall staff must accomplish, making them less busy, less stressed, and less likely to make mistakes that are frequently missed. Technology adds a level of accuracy to inventory management, billing, and reporting that humans simply cannot match.

Better Safety 

Stringent security automation systems allow users to handle the security of the entire facility from a smartphone app. Do you want to lock the entire property, closing all entrances and exits? It’s only a one-button click away. CCTV cameras integrated with intrusion prevention algorithms can make theft practically impossible.

IoT-based Management

The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing our way of life and how we interact. It permits information and data interchange, as well as remote monitoring and control of machinery, systems, buildings, and plants around-the-clock. Customised dashboards offer information based on many parameters, and advanced analytics aid in enhancing the effectiveness, reaction, operation, preventative maintenance, etc. IoT has countless applications and benefits. Nowadays, many mall management systems enhance their automation solutions with IoT power for efficient results.

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Conclusion

In the contemporary business world, it is evident that the retail and commerce sectors are continuously evolving, and your customer-reach and service-providing strategies should eventually follow that. To increase productivity and cut costs in your retail business, it's crucial to keep a close eye on new technology and trends. In addition to gathering data, it simultaneously modifies and enhances it. Furthermore, buildings are becoming more automated in an effort to become more cost-effective, secure, comfortable, and energy-efficient. In terms of building automation systems, there is still more to be accomplished. But experts are confident that the deployment of IoT technology accomplishes any complex goal, given its beneficial effects and expansion in the present.


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