With the desire for buildings to achieve greater efficiency, Urban England has created a significant environmental challenge. Yes, buildings are being developed from the ground up that are smart. However, many that are homes or work places to millions of people are historic emblems on a historic landscape; buildings steeped in history and featuring cold stone walls; buildings not designed for an IoT connected lifestyle. These relics of age that are currently home to some 20,000 businesses are slowly beginning the journey to smartness.

IoT, or the Internet of Things, is the popular term given to devices that connect a user with something else via an internet connection. Within an industrial setting this term becomes IIoT or, creatively, the Industrial Internet of Things. Statista believes that by 2020 there will be 31 Billion IIoT devices with this number set to double in the following 4 years. The expected growth of IIoT devices is substantial.

While consumers are wearing their IoT devices and having their home life transformed by app-enabled comforts – such as lights that are turned on by a voice command, businesses are benefitting in a different way.

Within the standard business, the IIoT is already being transformational. Deliveries are being tracked real time, stock levels controlled on a just-in-time basis, remote sales teams engaging with customers and head office simultaneously, and the environmental conditions of remote locations being controlled all because of IIoT devices. This is an area of significant growth that is occurring now; businesses use IIoT principles to improve business and building performance.

BitBox says it is leading the design and manufacture of industrial electronics for use in business environments. It has become an expert in taking analogue products and connecting them to users via internet technologies. Its customers include the provider of a lighting solution that installs LED panels with emergency back-up and a glazing company with specialist window openers. BitBox’s role was to realise the need for internet-based benefits; the lighting control unit provides real-time status updates – essential as the lighting is used in multi-family environments and relied on 24/7 for safe access. The glazing firm enjoys its position as the provider of specialist glazing in places which makes ‘just’ opening the window more of a challenge than it would be at home. BitBox created a controller that connects over LoRa to allow manual control and automated use in response to defined conditions (for example, when the temperature reaches a user-set value, the window is open to release the warm air).

While new buildings are popping up with eco-friendly smart elements throughout the DNA of the design, older buildings have to start from a different place. This is where niche businesses come to the fore. These service providers are taking their core service offering, partnering with BitBox to digitise it and, therefore, help their customers begin the journey to making theirs a Smart Building.

BitBox designs and manufactures electronics products that help organisations get IIoT connected. The team will be at the Smart Buildings Show to discuss the design and manufacture process for Smart Buildings devices. See them on Stand J2.