10 January 2014

The Internet of Everything: Smart buildings, their efficiency and security

The Internet of Everything: Smart buildings, their efficiency and security

On Wednesday December 11th the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) held a lecture at Oxford Brookes University on smart buildings and the implications they have for efficiency and security.

Smart buildings are buildings which have small computing devices embedded within appliances which can be monitored remotely. The control system can be used to control heating, cooling and automatic vents and windows. The data generated and then collected from these appliances can be used to monitor the efficiency of the building by tracking waste and energy use and in turn be used to increase efficiency. This is all made possible due to advances in integrated circuits meaning that processors are becoming more powerful and at the same time use less power alongside the increasing pervasiveness of Wi-Fi, 3G and emerging 4G technology.

Whilst there are many benefits to these new smart buildings in terms of monitoring energy use and controlling waste reduction they do pose a risk to security. For example, a sensor which is faulty or has been tampered with could tell the control system that the room is too hot and turn on the air conditioning or tell the system the room is too cold and turn the temperature up, with both scenarios potentially making conditions unbearable. The IET lecture, which was presented by Martin Lee discussed many of the issues surrounding these systems and looked at examples of what could happen if someone with bad intentions decided to try to hack into systems or deny their use by legitimate users.

Jon Stevens, Chairman of the Oxfordshire IET Committee attended the event and commented that it was “Overall a very enlightening and interesting evening that covered a topic that is at the forefront of the security industry’s attention and could ultimately adversely affect ordinary members of the public”

For more information on the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) visit their website.