Smart buildings are not an entirely new thing. They are not prevalent, but they are increasingly rising in popularity across the globe.
In this article, we wanted to discuss the rise of smart buildings and more importantly, the necessity of IoT security for smart buildings.
The Increasing Popularity of Smart Buildings
The emergence of smart buildings is due to a wide variety of sources:
- The owners
- The facility managers
- The tenants who are either living or working there
In addition, we have an increasing number of smart device makers and their various devices used in these buildings. If we take a closer look, we notice that that one smart building can have dozens, if not more, smart devices. These include HVAC, security systems, fire protection, lighting, and more.
If that were not enough, smart devices and this technology at large are increasingly affecting the entire building construction process. Just consider machines like smart drillers and remote-controlled cranes.
Naturally, the increasing popularity of smart buildings is evident upon closer inspection. Smart buildings create:
- Greater efficiency
- More comfort for the users
- Improved safety
With all of this in mind, research suggests that their popularity is only going to rise. More people are going to spend time in such buildings, more buildings will become smart, and more devices used in those buildings will evolve into IoT devices.
Technologies like 5G are hugely benefiting the rise of smart devices. The global smart building market is expected to grow by some 30% over the course of the next four years. It will be the fastest-growing market in the Asia-Pacific region, but other parts of the world won't be lagging.
The Security Issue of Smart Buildings
The main problem with smart buildings is security. Threats are coming from several sides:
- Physical threats
- Privacy risks
- Commercial risks
The biggest threat is the existence of big data. It’s used heavily in smart buildings as it enables better performance and experience. According to Statista, data collected by smart buildings worldwide was 19.9 zettabytes in 2018, and it's predicted to rise to 37.2 zettabytes in 2020.
All of this data can be exploited by people who know how to manipulate these systems. When hackers expose data, millions of dollars are lost. The material damage will reach unprecedented levels in the future if we don't adequately protect smart buildings.
What's worse, the damage can be physical as hacked smart devices can cause much damage to the entire property.
In the end, the very interoperability of smart devices can be a threat as well. Smart buildings use a wide range of different technologies and protocols like WiFi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave protocol, KNX protocol, and more. All of them together can cause many problems if the security of a smart building is breached.
All of these unique characteristics of smart buildings need to be protected by design with adequate IoT security measures. It’s vital to reach the cybersecurity standards before the smart buildings become widely used everywhere and the threats against them become prevalent.