Technological advances in digital buildings with Siemens

May 15, 2024

Miguel Coll Global Head Service Portfolio Fire Safety – Siemens Smart Infrastructure, discusses how remote monitoring of critical fire detection is playing a huge part in the protection of assets 

The global trends affecting building operation include climate change, geopolitical challenges, and demographic changes.

Climate change requires reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector.

Geopolitical challenges like hybrid warfare and cyber-attacks pose risks to fire safety systems.

Demographic changes lead to a shortage of skilled labor.

Building operators must address these challenges while focusing on sustainability, energy efficiency, safety, compliance, and the well-being of building occupants, personnel, materials, and infrastructure.


The fire safety landscape presents challenges such as complex systems, aging infrastructure, changing needs in buildings, interoperability among different technologies, compliance requirements, the need for time-saving and user-friendly designs, and high rates of false and unwanted alarms.

Additionally, buildings are increasingly exposed to new fire risks such as solar panels and EV charging stations, which require specific considerations in fire safety systems.

Very often building owners and facility managers believe that compliance to regulations ensures safety for occupants and building resilience.

Fire risk in buildings is evolving faster than ever before, with new materials, solar energy generation and storage, electric vehicles and charging stations, fulfillment of codes and standards doesn’t ensure safety.

Digital fire safety services

Modern and smart buildings require digital fire safety systems that allow for flexible operation, able to follow dynamic usage and space configuration.

Efficient fire safety operation requires systems to connect and exchange data with other systems.

Key aspects of digital fire safety systems include:

Sensors and devices for data gathering: Modern buildings require network-connected systems with sensors and devices that continuously provide data for building condition monitoring and performance, providing valuable insights for required maintenance and optimization.

Integration of all components: Modern buildings operate in an integrated ecosystem where sensors, devices, systems, and software seamlessly communicate with each other, allowing for flexibility and adaptability in today’s dynamic user needs.

Secure connectivity: Cyber-secure connection that enables real-time monitoring calls for a holistic approach to security, taking into account four key factors that impact security strength – people, communication, processes and technology.

Building management system: A building management system serves as the command center in modern buildings, offering robust analytics and machine learning capabilities.

It provides comprehensive data analysis, automation strategies, energy efficiency optimization, and remote-control accessibility.

Sustainability: Digital services integrated with smart technologies improve maintenance efficiency and sustainability.

Remote diagnostics and troubleshooting enhance technician preparedness, minimizing unnecessary onsite trips and CO2 emissions.

In a modern building, integration of digital fire safety systems offers several advantages to building operation.

It allows for data sharing with other building systems, providing accurate fire events information to maximize safety and building resilience.

Integration with emergency communication systems ensures clear instructions and consistent information for building occupants and firefighters.

Remote monitoring and troubleshooting of fire safety systems is also possible.

Data collection and analytics enable an improved approach to system programming and operation, which significantly influences building resilience and helps reduce false alarms.

Benefits for building operators

Implementing a digitalized fire safety system provides building operators visualization of real time data on a dashboard, on mobile devices, generation of digital reports including analytics and recording information on electronic log-books.

Dashboards or user portals are cloud-based platforms for visualization of systems across different locations.

They allow accessing information or events at anytime, anywhere.

Visibility of contracts, system status, maintenance activities and detailed overview of installed fire equipment devices.

Fire systems cloud-based mobile Apps offer users and technicians real-time monitoring of sites, with instant notifications​ on all type of events​​.

It offers transparency of fire safety systems to address issues, minimizing safety risks and improving reaction time and operation​ quickly and efficiently.

Continuous ​monitoring fire safety systems and gathering information allows producing reports based on data analytics.

This provides insightful information on system health and availability, component degradation​, testing and maintenance​ or industry specific reports (Joint Commission Healthcare US)​ Reports provide a big support on minimizing downtime​, agile troubleshooting​ and efficient preparation of interventions which in most cases lead to solving troubles on a first intervention​.

This future-oriented solution allows for quicker reaction to incidents through precise information and real-time access.

It also reduces disturbance of operations by minimizing false alarms and component failures, leading to reduced downtime and improved cost-effectiveness.

Building operators can receive support from remote experts, optimizing the use of personnel resources and implementing condition-based maintenance for optimal use of resources and minimal operation disruptions.

Intelligent connected systems provide a broad variety of advantages, nevertheless, the importance of human intervention remains a key part of the fire system reliability.

Visual inspection is part of best practice system maintenance, the expert examination of sensor status, the surroundings and the room usage ensure the system remains fit for purpose and complies with the original application and design.

The fire technician remains to be the trusted advisor of facility management teams.

Along with digital fire safety systems, Building Information Modeling (BIM) facilitates planning and operation, while the journey from reactive to predictive maintenance improves system efficiency and reduces downtime.

In addition to the immediate benefits in functionality and uptime, a digitalized fire safety system also addresses important background issues such as sustainability and data security.

With regards to sustainability, digitized fire systems contribute to reducing carbon emissions by minimizing the number of on-site visits through remote diagnostics, remote troubleshooting and preparation of interventions.

They also help conserve water by detecting leakages and irregularities in sprinkler systems.

Furthermore, the use of environmentally friendly materials and the ability to integrate new equipment with existing systems make these systems more sustainable in terms of construction and scalability.

In terms of data security, digitalized fire safety systems prioritize safeguarding against cyber-attacks.

Modern and secured edge computing platforms consisting of edge devices, edge apps, connectivity, and device management infrastructure allows bringing edge computing to buildings using cloud computing in a cybersecure way.

This article was originally published in the May 2024 issue of Fire & Safety Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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