In my first blog, we discussed the reasons why smart buildings are a rapidly growing market and a critical piece of our transition to a lower-carbon future. In this second blog of our series, I will share with you the top 10 questions you should consider and address when looking into implementing solutions to digitize your building. Let’s begin!

#1: What are my unique decarbonization goals?

Before investing in smart building solutions, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of your digitalization goals. The next step is making sure those align with your emissions reduction KPIs, environmental improvements, user experience transformation, efficiencies improvements, and socio-economic impact. Only then you can create a smart services catalogue1 that addresses the needs of your stakeholders and end-users of your smart building.

#2: Is my smart services catalog aligned too my priorities?

A Smart Building strategy is successful only if the services catalog addresses the priorities of its stakeholders and its occupants. Follow an experience-centric approach instead of a technology-focused one to maximize value realization. Prioritized services should improve workplace health and well-being, enhance safety and security, increase the sustainability of available resources, reduce operational costs, and help create smart, intuitive spaces.

#3: Is my current operating model the right one for my business?

Operating models are constantly evolving. To deliver best-in-class services, organizations should consider an integrated and automated method for operations. With the right combination of skills, solutions, and processes, you can obtain data-driven insights to better identify and track your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), increase systems efficiencies, make operational improvements, and save cost.

#4: Is my ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) Infrastructure designed with Smart Building Solutions in mind?

Smart buildings add to the demand for ICT infrastructure in terms of storage, computing, and connectivity. The infrastructure must connect thousands of users, multiple systems, applications, devices, and sensors; if not designed properly, the cost of retrofitting and expanding telecom rooms, cabling, and ports can be very high.

#5: Is my Cybersecurity on point?

With increased connectivity, Smart Buildings are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. Implementing effective security measures and controls to mitigate risks and protect against breaches is essential. Network segmentation, regular software updates, and employee training are some measures that can help address these risks.

#6: Can my different systems connect to each other?

Smart buildings need communication and integration between a wide range of multi-vendor systems, devices, and technologies for data exchange. Ensuring compatibility and interoperability between these disparate elements can be a significant challenge, requiring careful planning and coordination. Without this integration, it will be difficult to implement and operate end-to-end use cases across systems.

#7: Is it all Future-proof and Scalable?

As technology evolves rapidly, it is essential to ensure that investments in Smart Building solutions are future-proof. This means adopting sustainable, scalable, and interoperable solutions that can adapt to changing needs and advancements. A platform-based approach should be adopted to scale, and facilitate seamless integration of multiple solutions, avoiding complex direct integrations as use cases expand.

#8: Do I have a Data Governance and Management framework in place?

governance and management framework is needed to provide an organized and consistent approach to managing data across the organization.Smart Buildings generate vast amounts of data, which needs to be secure and compliant with local and international regulatory standards and policies. A comprehensive data

#9: Do my end-users leverage the solutions that I am offering?

Smart buildings can only succeed when users can easily engage with and benefit from the technology, making ease of use a fundamental design consideration. Consider building use cases and solutions that meet the very needs of all users to maximize buy-in and adoption. Constantly measuring the value realization and implementing the proper improvements and change management are key success factors.

#10: Can I make the numbers add up?

Investing in Smart Building solutions can be costly. To make it a success, identifying solutions that offer significant cost savings, energy efficiency, and improved user experiences is essential. While upfront costs can be a barrier to adoption, understanding the optimal financial and consumption model for each solution and aligning the investment impact with the company’s decarbonization strategy from the early stages sets expectations and justifies the necessary investments.

Stay tuned for the third and final part, where I will outline how Cisco can accelerate customers’ transformation to Smart and Sustainable Building Solutions by addressing the above questions with a coherent and holistic approach.

Read part #1 of our series.



Dany Sammour

Sr. Director, Growth and Advisory

Customer Experience