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What are Building Operating Systems, and why are they essential for Smart Buildings?

Many people would be familiar with the term “operating systems” or OS, as our daily tools like computers use these (think Windows for Microsoft or macOS for Apple).  However, the application of OS goes much further and today is a crucial component for smart buildings. As Windows is the brain for the Microsoft body, a building operating system or BOS is the brain for the smart building.

How does Building Operating Systems or BOS work?

The operating system within a smart building collects information from various data sources and makes optimal decisions and courses of action. For example, if the building operating system (BOS) detects unoccupied rooms, it will automatically adjust the temperature and turn off the lights, consequently saving energy.

IoT zsensors perform the heavy lifting.

Building Operating Systems collects the data from IoT sensors mounted in specific areas of the building and collects information like temperature, humidity levels, and lighting conditions to name a few. The data is then sent to the BOS, analyzed, and used for decision-making.

Is it easy to integrate a Building Operating System? 

Typically, BOSs are cloud-based and can easily be controlled and accessed through the Internet, which makes them an easy addition to existing or new buildings. Furthermore, many of these are offered with apps and allow easy control through tablets or smartphones.

What are the advantages of a BOS?

There are many advantages to including a Building Operating System in an existing building or new construction:

  1. Improved energy efficiency: The BOS systematically makes appropriate decisions to help the building’s energy consumption.
  2. Increased comfort: A BOS-enabled building provides a comfortable environment by adjusting based on the occupancy of the building.
  3. Improved security: By integrating with CCTV systems, building operating systems can help improve security.
  4. Reducing maintenance costs: Since the BOS constantly monitors all available systems, it can detect potential issues before they become major breakdowns and save money on downtime and repairs.

Practical examples of efficiencies with BOS.

The digitization of new and existing buildings can offer solid advantages for any organization. And the possibilities are endless with the integration of a BOS as it can connect to other existing systems. These efficiencies can apply to regional offices and global offices.

Office Canteens.

For example, the operating system can be connected to the café/canteen service building provider and automatically turn on lights and open the door when produce, meals, or other products are delivered.   The canteen or café connectivity can include reservation options, vending machine integration, payment systems, or other linked services. This type of integration enables efficiencies by reducing the downtime for employees waiting for meals.


In the event of a fire, the BOSs can automatically open doors and windows, turn off gas valves, and be used to calculate optimal scenarios for evacuation. They can also be connected to other security measures, such as an automatic lockdown system and authority notification if it detects unauthorized access to the building. Security measures of this type can also be added to sensitive building areas such as the server room.

How does a BOS fit within a hybrid workplace for a global enterprise?

With today’s hybrid work options, a BOS can provide efficiencies in a hybrid work environment with local and global offices. Through an app, employees can book their hot desk ahead of time, near a colleague to work on a joint project, or in a conference room with the necessary screens and cameras for a particular meeting.

Building management systems are constantly evolving and becoming increasingly sophisticated. Although we currently find these mostly in larger office buildings, they are turning into solid options for smaller businesses with progressively more affordable options. However, some features offered by a robust business operating system are more affordable than most business leaders think.

A professional consultation is an easy and economical way to offer immediate efficiencies and a step towards future-proofing your business.

Want to learn more about how a Building Operating System can apply to your local offices and potentially on a global scale?

Source: Thank you to GPA Germany, GMS Global Media Service.  Additional information can be found in the article Guide to understanding BOS and Smart Buildings, Author Tobias Enders, GPA Germany – GMS, Global Media Services GmbH

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