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Building management leaps into the future

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Today, building owners and facility managers are using Building Management Systems (BMS) in ways that could only be dreamed of in the past, and the demand for the technology is poised for growth, writes NEIL CAMERON, General Manager, Johnson Controls Building Efficiency.

The global commercial BMS market is predicted to double between 2013 and 2021, according to a November 2013 report by Navigant Research, highlighting the anticipated increase of adoption of BMS technology.

It’s not surprising that the BMS has become an essential tool for many facility managers. An advanced BMS serves as the command and control centre for the facility. Information pours in from all parts of the building: settings, current readings, and alarms from occupied spaces and from inside complex equipment. An open BMS not only controls Heating Ventilation Air-Conditioning (HVAC) equipment from a variety of manufacturers, but also connects to the lighting, security, fire, and other systems, putting even more power at the fingertips of building managers.

In South Africa, there is an increase in interest in integrated, feature rich BMS, largely due to the ever-increasing cost of electricity.  Enhanced functionality with in BMS can assist companies to monitor and manage their energy consumption more effectively. Importantly, it can reduce their energy consumption. This is particularly relevant when considering that buildings use about 40% of global energy.

Today’s BMS is delivering in ways that seemed out of reach even a few short years ago. For example, in 2012, “The Future of BMS” survey from the Building Efficiency Panel, a group of more than 3,000 building owners, operators, contractors, and equipment specifiers, less than 25 percent were using such basic BMS features as energy demand limiting, which cuts back on non-essential loads to reduce building demand. Advanced features were used even less often. The issue wasn’t with BMS technology — in the same survey, 71 percent of respondents said that their BMS was keeping up with technological developments. Rather, the challenge was in taking advantage of the capabilities of the BMS. The primary users of BMS simply don’t have the time, staff, budget, and resources to become experts in the technology; their resources are focused on actually managing their facilities.

Johnson Controls has made significant technology advances and the current generation of BMS is focused on leveraging new and existing technologies to deliver a system that works the way facility owners and operators work. The BMS is now more accessible and harnesses the power of advanced analytics and data collection with a focus on more sophisticated and user-friendly interfaces and data visualisation.

We are seeing the trend of integration into more third-party systems and devices. In addition, data collection and analysis is enabling companies to make predictions and base decisions on this information, delivering additional value. We are also seeing an increase in plug and play devices, further improving interconnectivity.  This all forms part of the Machine 2 Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) movement where data is extracted and communicated via the Internet.

It is these advancements in BMS that have unleashed the insights into building performance that enable even further reductions in energy use and operational costs, while still delivering a comfortable and safe environment.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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