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Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure (ICTi) in Buildings

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Ultimately the ICTi is about data’s movement through the building and data that enter and leave the building at the building’s edge.

The information and communication technology (ICT) industry is rapidly evolving as more buildings are connecting significantly more “smart” devices that create intelligent networks throughout the structure. This will put a strain on the ICT infrastructure (ICTi). Many stakeholders are looking for a predictable, secure, and safe operation from their ICTi. This report identifies the gaps between today’s market realities and tomorrow’s needs, and provides recommendations to help resolve them.

The building industry has identified the following as its primary drivers: to improve the speed of ICT execution; foster innovation; create easy to use systems supporting plug-and-play devices; and facilitate predictable, safe, system-to-system communications that can grow. There are common needs for all building types and likely some unique and specific needs for various occupancies. For example, health care facilities will have some similar needs to multi-unit residential or factory buildings; however, they will have significantly greater need for privacy, resiliency, and security.

There are several notable gaps between today’s infrastructure needs and the available tools to support the industry. Building owners, managers, and occupants are looking for consistency and predictably from their ICTi, which do not currently exist. They are looking for service quality levels to be identifiable and enforced, which can be challenging when connected devices are growing at an unpredictable rate and are being promoted by unsubstantiated claims. Commissioning challenges were also identified as a gap as there are few rules to follow and potentially millions of connection points, and so was the increased requirement for data privacy and cybersecurity. New OT systems will help; however, there aren’t enough human resources or educational programs to build the needed OT capacity.

To address the gaps and align with ICT values, this report recommends 12 actions that can be pursued. The recommendations are grouped into three categories: standards documents; capacity and awareness; and research. Overall, the ICT market is growing at a pace that is exceeding the abilities of today’s ICTi systems. Stakeholders are looking to enable this growth and want support to ensure consistency and predictability in their buildings. This report offers many recommendations that may lead to better and higher quality ICT buildings.

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