The emergence of smart buildings and the Internet of Things (IoT) is driving new applications of blockchain technology. Developers and building managers are leveraging the immutable ledger capabilities of blockchain to enhance security, optimize energy usage, and enable automation in modern facilities.
Smart buildings are facilities that use sensors, data analytics and integrated systems to operate more efficiently and provide an improved experience for occupants. IoT connected devices track room usage, environmental conditions, equipment performance and more.
However, concerns around cybersecurity, siloed proprietary systems, and compatible data standards have somewhat limited smart building adoption. Blockchain offers solutions to address these issues with verifiable data sharing between devices and tamper-proof system tracking.
Here are some of the key ways blockchain is now being integrated with smart buildings and IoT:
Physical Access Control
Managing visitor and employee access to specific floors or rooms can be complex in large facilities. A blockchain-based access control system creates immutable event records of who entered where and when. This improves auditability and security.
Energy Usage Optimization
Smart meters connected via blockchain measure and distribute energy across units in the most efficient manner. Residents can also select renewable energy sources and trade excess solar credits.
Smart sensors throughout facilities that communicate via blockchain support early warning of potential HVAC, lighting or equipment failures. This enables proactive maintenance.
Supply Chain Tracking
Blockchain provides real-time traceability of building materials and components from manufacturing through installation. Enhanced transparency across suppliers.
Smart contracts connected to environmental sensors, access controls etc. can automate desired actions without human intervention when conditions are met.
Residents and visitors can use cryptocurrency wallets to seamlessly pay for access, parking, electric vehicle charging and services around the facility.
Blockchain authenticates data exchange between IoT devices, locking out potential tampering. The decentralized nature increases resiliency against outages.
Here are some leading examples of how companies are deploying blockchain in smart buildings:
– Slock.it – Their Ethereum-based system lets property owners rent access to units like office space securely tracked via blockchain transactions.
– Telit – Partnered with Innogy to use Telit’s blockchain toolkit for secure IoT data management in utility infrastructure across 600 buildings.
– IBMBlockchain – Working with Enel X for traceability of renewable energy usage and credits using their IBM Blockchain Platform delivered via the IBM Cloud.
– Accenture – Developed a digital twin concept powered by blockchain and IoT to model building conditions for monitoring and predictive analytics.
– Siemens – Their blockchain-based smart building platform optimizes energy distribution between producers, storage units, and consumers onsite.
– Honeywell – Uses blockchain to integrate building management, security systems, and fire alarms into a cyber-secure dashboard.
The World Economic Forum estimates that over 125 billion IoT devices will be deployed by 2030. Integrating blockchain technology into these systems and infrastructure presents an enormous opportunity.
Allowing devices across lighting, HVAC, security, meters etc. to share verifiable data on a distributed ledger unlocks new functionality. Facilities can reduce energy costs, ensure regulatory compliance, prevent cyberattacks, and automate management workflows.
As more proof cases emerge demonstrating blockchain’s capabilities for smart buildings, adoption is expected to rapidly increase. The technology offers a secure backbone for owners, residents and service providers to unlock the potential of connected, cognitive buildings.