Since early October 2017 there has been speculation about the nascent launch of an IoT and AI smart building management system for commercial buildings by Samsung Electronics, Samsung b.IoT.

It wasn’t really clear yet if with the platform the company wants to roll out a brand new building management system or an AI-powered IoT building system with limited functionality.

Samsung SDS, the IT services subsidiary of Samsung that enabled Samsung technologies with IoT, AI analytics, mobile security and more (it is also strong in blockchain applications), already has a building management solution, Samsung SDS BMS. It, among others, integrates and remotely monitors electricity, lighting, HVAC, and elevator systems. Samsung SDS BMS consists of the traditional hardware and software offerings with four components: BMS Base (HVAC and electricity), BMS Energy (energy consumption analysis and control), BMS facility (facility management) and BMS Integration (for integration with other systems which can be monitored).

What was sure about b.IoT, according to Yonhap News Agency, however, was that it would be an IoT system with artificial intelligence for smart commercial buildings, mainly used by large organizations with offices.

We’ve covered the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the building management systems space previously in our interview with Martin Feder on building management in the age of IP and IoT and in other interviews with EcoXpert partner program certification badge managers whereby there is an increasing movement to the edge and towards autonomous decisions, de facto requiring artificial intelligence (AI). We also pointed to the growing importance and implementation effects of AI on IoT but an IoT system that is driven by AI and can incorporate AI into building management as b.IoT has been described, is still something different.

Samsung b.IoT: from temperature and light control to ‘smart’ HVAC in office buildings

That still doesn’t cover what exactly the commercial smart building system would do of course (nor how it relates to Samsung SDS BMS).

Automatic temperature and lighting control, leveraging different sensors and information from closed-circuit TVs would be part of the system. Earlier in October, there was a blog post on the Samsung SDS site looking at how you can understand people behavior from video coming from closed circuit TV cameras, using deep learning. Coincidence?

Smart HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) would also be present. As Yonhap stated b.IoT would enable to turn on heating and air conditioning systems before workers arrive in the building and also enable energy savings by automatically turning off heating and air conditioning when a room is not used, one of the many building and room control functions we already have in intelligent IoT buildings.

Finally the system would also be used for security purposes, among others for the protection of corporate assets.

All that doesn’t make b.IoT a full-fledged BMS that can connect with other building systems yet but with AI and IoT you do come pretty close to universal languages that are impacting all aspects of buildings and there is still the question regarding Samsung SDS BMS. According to the industry sources which reported to news agency Yonhap the system is already being used in commercial building IoT testbeds and there is interest from outside South Korea in the b.IoT system.

Samsung would also plan to deploy the b.IoT system in its Polish Warsaw Spire office building and in two research & development facilities in its homeland.

What are the chances for Samsung b.IoT?

Entering the building automation space and especially the commercial smart buildings space isn’t the easiest of things with the presence of many established BMS vendors and their partner ecosystems who are able to do all the above mentioned and more.

Yet, Samsung already is in that market with Samsung SDS. So, depending on many factors and unknowns (what exactly would b.IoT offer, how would it be positioned, what is the connection with Samsung SDS BMS, what would be the roadmap for further development, what would be the price tag, how easy and fast would it be to set up, what data capabilities would it have and myriad more factors), Samsung might get another piece of the pie of the BMS market which is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 16.7% between 2017 and 2023, is boosted by regulations such as the new EPBD in Europe, by energy efficient building technologies and by changing building owner and occupant demands, to name a few, and which will see quite some new buildings and building renovations that require smart technologies over the next years and even decades.

A system that is designed from the IoT and AI perspective might just prove to be a surprise for the sector and Samsung is clearly investing in its IoT strategy on a non-consumer level with, among others, the recent launch of its ARTIK Cloud Monetization service.