Designing Future-Proof Low Voltage Systems Without a Crystal Ball

April 22, 2024
3 minutes

In building technology, where innovation and adaptability are paramount, designing low voltage systems with optimal longevity requires foresight, flexibility, and a deep understanding of client needs. At WhiteSpace, we pride ourselves on our ability to craft solutions that not only meet today’s requirements but also anticipate and accommodate future changes and building enhancements.

When engaging with clients, we understand that their vision for their property is dynamic and subject to evolution. What may start as a basic access control system can quickly pivot to a comprehensive technology stack aimed at delivering a luxury resident experience. This flexibility is at the core of our design philosophy. And, going a step further, in the same way that mitochondria being the powerhouse of the cell, access control is the powerhouse of the technology stack. Specifying systems at that foundational layer helps owners avoid costly change orders later in the project.

Senior Project Manager Craig Holmes onsite at One River North, where WhiteSpace serves as the lead building technology consultant.

We recognize that our clients may not have a crystal ball to foresee all their future needs, which is why we approach our design process with a focus on optionality and compatibility. By selecting systems that offer the most flexibility and integration capabilities, we ensure that the solutions can seamlessly adapt to changing requirements.

One fundamental consideration in low voltage systems design is the choice between premise-based and cloud-based solutions.

  • Premise-based systems, while reliable, may have limited integration capabilities compared to their cloud-based counterparts. However, they are favored for certain applications such as CCTV systems due to their robustness and local control.
  • Cloud-based systems, on the other hand, offer greatest flexibility and scalability. By leveraging the power of the cloud and open APIs, these systems can effortlessly integrate with a wide range of devices and platforms, providing a unified user experience. Whether it’s enhancing access control, implementing IoT devices, or upgrading property management systems, cloud-based solutions offer the versatility needed to future-proof your building’s technology infrastructure.

While cloud-based systems may come with a higher upfront cost compared to premise-based alternatives, our experience shows that when properly specified and integrated into the overall project, the overall cost competitiveness can be maintained. Also, the long-term benefits in terms of scalability, adaptability, and future-proofing may far outweigh any initial investment. With that said, some owners are not open to systems that have reoccurring costs associated with them – so no matter the value, we can design systems with solutions that don’t require ongoing fees.

(We are going to dive into the complexities of cloud-based vs. on-premise solutions in a future article.)

Another crucial aspect to consider is the building’s connectivity strategy, particularly Managed Wi-Fi. With Managed WiFi, building owners not only enhance the resident experience but also unlock an additional revenue stream. This revenue can help offset the costs associated with implementing cloud-based solutions.

At WhiteSpace, we understand that every building is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why we work closely with our clients to assess their current needs, anticipate future requirements, and design customized low voltage systems that align with their long-term goals. By focusing on optionality, compatibility, and scalability, we ensure that our solutions are not just ready for today but also equipped to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s ever-changing landscape.

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