Making Buildings Smarter, Greener, and More Energy-Efficient
Currently, buildings are becoming more intelligent, more power-efficient, and cost-saving. In smart buildings, digitalization and smart infrastructure meet domains such as lighting, HVAC systems, access control, and many others to become more connected and integrated, making buildings truly smart. Infineon offers a variety of products for Smart Buildings to enable intelligent features. In this interview, Manuel Hollfelder, Manager Emerging Applications, Infineon Technologies AG shares his views on innovations, challenges in this industry and Infineon solutions in this space.
1. Can you highlight the innovations taking place in smart building Industry?
We can see the following innovations in the smart building industry:
• Data driven insights into building operations to improve system performance, e.g. measuring building space utilization
• Intelligence at the edge, autonomous decision making and machine learning based applications
• Integration of multiple domains with integrated and distributed intelligence
• Technologies from Industry 4.0 and Smart Home are becoming the new normal in commercially used, smart buildings (e.g. predictive maintenance)
2. What are the unique challenges in designing smart building solutions?
Due to the broad value chain and co-existence of standards, every building has individual needs and configurations that are not comparable from a building technology point of view.
Every building has its own challenges for integration of building technology as retrofit solutions. Moreover, if new buildings are designed and built, often specific vendor solutions are integrated.
Hence, identifying key trends and preparing products for broad building integration remains a challenge being at the beginning of the value chain as a semiconductor company.
Solutions need to be modular enough to adapt to a building’s individual needs while also solving its specific challenges.
3. As of today, there are many cases of cyber-attacks on Smart buildings. How do your solutions help in prevent the attack?
Smart buildings are complex IoT systems integrating a large number of devices and technologies. Securing the whole system is important as possible attacks on heating systems, door locks, IP surveillance cameras, and lighting bulbs show.
Attacks may target to disturb the proper operation of the building’s infrastructure or utilize single devices to gain access to the company’s IT network and valuable data.
Securing the system starts with securing individual connected devices. The basic operation needed is called “device authentication”. Firstly, this feature allows us to prove that the device is genuine. Secondly, even as important, it enables onboarding and secured, encrypted connectivity into the cloud.
For this purpose, Infineon’s OPTIGATM Trust product family of embedded security solutions offers pre-provisioned keys and associated cryptographic routines – everything stored and performed in a certified security IC.
Obviously, our OPTIGATM product family offers more features and benefits, such as supporting secured firmware updates – please refer to our webpage for more details: www.infineon.com/OPTIGA
4. Which are the areas for which Infineon provides solution for this industry?
Infineon has a long-standing tradition in offering innovative and efficient solutions for traditional building domains such as lighting or HVAC which Infineon continues to serve.
Additionally, Infineon offers products to enable new features in Smart Buildings such as condition monitoring & predictive maintenance or sensor-based automation.
Infineon s a market leader power semiconductor solutions, such as motor drives, power supplies, inverters, etc. are key areas where Infineon is providing solutions.
Moreover, with the broad sensor portfolio from magnetic sensors over MEMS technology to Radar semiconductors, new features in building automation applications are enabled.
Additionally, thanks to our broad hardware security portfolio, we enable end-to-end encryption and authentication of devices in a building.
5. What are your key strengths in offering these solutions?
Our strengths in this field are widely spread: We offer best in class sensor solutions as well as highest quality and reliability of semiconductor components. We furthermore support with the highest efficiency of our power semiconductor solutions and last but not least offer an extensive partner ecosystem to facilitate the customer design process.
6. Can you outlook your market growth for this industry and expected future growth?
According to market research, the market for connected equipment in Smart Building is expected to grow with a CAGR of 15.7 %. In 2022, market size is expected to be at 212M units shipped worldwide.
7. What does the future hold for smart building?
According to the growth figures for this market, we believe in a strong development in this segment. In particular we see 5 trends for smart buildings: First, smart buildings will gain importance when it comes to energy efficiency. Thanks to optimized building operations based on real-time data insights, the energy efficiency factor will increase. Second, there will be higher level of integration across all domains. Third, building operations will become intuitive and automatically adapt to individual needs of occupants thanks to the sensor technology. Fourth, 5G will also affect smart buildings with an accelerated deployment of the Internet of Things. And fifth, we will see a higher level of cybersecurity thanks to the embedded hardware security.