Will Intelligent Buildings Need Smart Security?

Security technology has come far, but in terms of how it’s integrated with modern building design, it’s going even further. This is especially true for the intelligent buildings which are on the horizon; although the term “intelligent building” dates back to the 80s, it now encompasses compatibility with the Internet of Things.

With the arrival of smart locks, is it possible that physical security, like door locks, will be phased out in favour of a convenience-enabling electronic counterpart? 

What is an intelligent building? 

The Intelligent Buildings Institute defines an intelligent building as “one which provides a productive and cost-effective environment through optimisation of four basic elements: structure, systems, services and management, and the interrelationship between them.”

In other words, intelligent buildings are optimally matched to the needs of the users, with an emphasis on the technology that makes the interrelationship between the user and building possible.

What are the high-tech security solutions already in use? 

The buildings and campuses of today support a wide range of control systems, including security-based systems such as access control. Intelligent building technology like this has proven to be effective for enhancing the environment of the building for its users. Indeed, access control systems are also not only used for security purposes.

Access control systems can provide information to help a company establish its own access trends, such as peak times. Access control systems can also track how long employees have spent in the building and specific areas of the building for attendance purposes. These insights can be used to make the building better for its users.

How has crime enhanced the need for the intelligent building? 

Unfortunately, as TechCrunch has proven: crime evolves alongside technology, and continues to bring new challenges to building security. They have published an article shedding light on ‘smart’ locks, and the relative ease with which hackers were able to get past them.

To stay ahead, businesses have no choice but to invest, because when a building is targeted, the cost of crime impacts the individuals and the business in three ways:

  1. In anticipation of crime (cost of security)
  2. Consequence of the crime
  3. Responding to the crime

To avoid the second and third reasons, it is best to secure a building to the best of your ability. For intelligent building developers, that means looking beyond high-tech security options that are most compatible with their vision for convenient living conditions.

Physical door locks from established security companies like Banham, founded in 1926, have been accredited by Secured by Design (the official UK Police flagship initiative) and in their guide to lock types, they cite the importance of getting the right lock fitted based on a security survey. Conducted by a security industry professional, such surveys are likely to demand locks that comply with BS3261 (the industry standard for locks on external or entrance doors accepted by the Association of British Insurers).

Will other forms of security become obsolete? 

For many buildings, gone are the days of having to physically sign the visitor book when entering and leaving the building. However, moving away from tried-and-tested security is nothing to be proud of unless there’s an effective transfer to an equally effective security solution.

While security measures that can be controlled remotely, like smart locks, aid convenience, ‘traditional’ locking systems will always provide a greater degree of protection. This doesn’t mean that ‘smart’ security is useless; instead, it is advisable to understand what your various security needs are, and combine different forms of physical and digital security.


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BDC 309 : Oct 2023