Technology Record - Issue 32: Spring 2024

INTERVIEW Smart spaces Johnson Controls is transforming how buildings operate making them healthier, safer and more sustainable, says Rody Senner BY REBECCA GIBSON Disconnected building systems and equipment cost businesses time, money and, ultimately, staff, according to Forrester Research report Cracking the code: Unleash your smart buildings with the power of facility data. Only 10 per cent of those surveyed for the report had fully integrated their building systems. We spoke with Rody Senner, vice president of commercial digital growth, to find out how Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue solutions can transform the operation of buildings. What are the trends driving the changes in the smart building industry? Several critical factors are converging to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced building systems technology. Chief among these is rising energy costs and the imperative to decarbonise the built environment. There are also dramatic changes to occupancy patterns and building use brought on by new hybrid work practices. At Johnson Controls, sustainability runs through every aspect of our business and with buildings accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions; there is no decarbonising our future without decarbonising buildings. At the 28th United Nations Climate Conference in 2023, we noticed that industries are now leading the way in understanding sustainability as essential for financial health. They recognise that the physical impacts of climate change and the shift towards a lower carbon economy directly affect asset values due to damage and regulations. How does Johnson Controls define a smart building today and how will it evolve into the future? While the term ‘smart building’ has been used for many years, its meaning has evolved and will continue to evolve with advances in technology and changes in the way we use spaces. In a very broad sense, a smart building uses technology to converge data from building systems, sensors and services using internet of things connectivity. It then applies machine learning and artificial intelligence to generate insights and automation that maximises efficiency creating safe and comfortable environment for occupants. Traditionally, buildings have been made ‘smart’ by integrating its disparate, siloed systems – such as HVAC, building automations systems, lighting and security – into a unified network that allows these components to “ There is no decarbonising our future without decarbonising buildings ” 74