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Preparing for the Future of Building Management Systems

Building Management Systems (BMS), or alternatively, Building Automation Systems (BAS), may refer to computer-based systems that monitor, manage and control various electrical and electromechanical functions within a specific facility. Typically, BMS are implemented in large-scale structures, operated by a wide array of critical functions, including:

Heating, Ventilation & Air-Conditioning (HVAC)
Power Distribution & Consumption
Fire Safety/Extinguishing
Elevator Control
Security, Observation & Surveillance
Illumination Control
Building Access Control
Renewable Energy

However, as these centralized systems can potentially bring greater efficiency, they are also susceptible to hacking and cyber-attacks due to the interface of the operational technology (OT) landscape with IT/wireless networks and the internet. Since any connected device is vulnerable and controls critical functions within the building, hackers who manage to penetrate the BMS can inflict serious damage to key operations.

Hackers are becoming much more interested in operational technology, the physical connected devices that support industrial processes. They can gain access to email communications and confidential financial information, and worse, they could have the ability to eliminate an organization’s electricity. The nature of the problem depends on the way the BMS is modelled, installed and operated. Until recently, BMS professionals/companies put greater weight on operational efficiency, yet with relatively low consideration of impending security threats. Consequently, many BMS do not employ adequate cyber-security controls and risk mitigation measures.

According to a study by Navigant Research, total global revenue from commercial building automation will increase from approximately $70 billion and reach $101 billion in 2021. The largest market for BMS spending is North America, which is forecast to remain so for approximately two years. The second largest market is Europe, where interest in BMS is gradually rising. However, these markets will lose ground to the APAC market in the coming five years, due to the swift growth of Asian markets, and the construction sector in particular. A study by Pike Research predicts that these three regions will experience double-digit compound annual growth rates in the BMS industry until 2021.

More here.


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