Building Technology Experts in discussion: Audio and Video Streams

The new podcast series brings experts around the table to share their thoughts, discuss, philosophise and inspire each other and their audience. Experts from the various fields of technical building services engineering present their profiles – on ever new topics. In audio podcast and video stream and in a relaxed mix.

With the start of the podcast series, the Building Technology Experts are sending a signal their signal: the industry’s many challenges are lying ahead, and it is more than worth to talk about it in times of contact restrictions – while personal encounters  and networking at ISH, Light + Building, Intersec Building and E2 Forum Frankfurt are set to re-start from 2021. Stay safe and stay curious!

On the safe side: connected!

There is talk of smart building everywhere. Maximum comfort and maximum efficiency through intelligent networks – that is the goal. Intelligent infrastructure, however, requires protection, and so security technology is increasingly becoming an indispensable part of all building technology areas. But how and, above all, when can one guarantee maximum security in a smart building? Jochen Sauer provides the answers in this very podcast episode.
Marius Münkel (Messe Frankfurt)
: Building services engineering & building automation

"Trust and ethics are important trends in the future of security technology. Security harbors trust and this in turn has to grow and thus to be ensured. That only works if I respect the privacy of my fellow human beings and, above all, protect it."

...Business Development Manager A&E at Axis Communications GmbH and has been working in security technology for more than 30 years. Video has been one of his core competencies for many years. Against this background, Jochen Sauer gives us an insight into the challenges of integrating security technology in connected buildings.

More information about Axis Communications GmbH can be found in the Light + Building Contactor.

Read the entire podcast

Whether in a new home or in the skyscrapers of the world's skylines - everybody is talking about smart buildings. Maximum comfort and maximum efficiency through intelligent networking - that’s the goal! Intelligent infrastructure requires protection, and security technology is therefore becoming an increasingly indispensable part of all building technology areas.

Yes, I would like to thank you for the invitation and I hope that I can contribute to bring some light into the dark of Smart Buildings.

Before we start to get into the subject, Mr. Sauer, we always want to get to know the person who is sitting opposite of us and that's why we prepared five short questions to which I need five brief answers from you. Are you ready?

Let's give it a try.

Beer or wine?

Well, it depends on the opportunity.

Then I'd rather take that as an answer in the direction of beer and ask Kölsch or Binding?


Apple or Microsoft?


Fingerprint or front door key?

Depends on the application.

And the last question: Will the Football Club 1. FC Köln remain in the Bundesliga?


This is pretty much the most unfair question you can ask anyone! I sincerely hope that the 1. FC Köln will continue to play in the Bundesliga. But if they are going to be relegated, then they definitely have a lot of experience in relegation...

That's right - the last successes of the FC took place some years ago, in the nineties, I believe. So almost thirty years ago. A short leap into the present: You are Business Development Manager at Axis Communications and have been working in security technology for more than 30 years. This also implies that you have been able to witness the development of the networked building over many years. When did security technology become part of this development?

Security technology has been around for as long as we can remember. This means that security technology began hundreds of years ago when people said: Okay, we have a door now and we have to lock that door.

Then at some point the lock was invented and at some point someone on the other side came and opened this lock relatively easily. And so it develops with both players... That means, first with the "good" player and then with the other one, who is trying to get in.

The pure security technology, as we know it today, came in the seventies. The first professional steps in the direction of security technology were made at the end of the seventies.

Were there certain milestones on the way to the integration of networked security technology?

Yes, the most important milestone in the field of video security technology was in 2008. Three market participants, including Axis, got together to initiate a standard.

This standard is called ONVIF®. Parts of this standard are also included in the current standard, namely in DIN EN 62676, where camera protocols are shown.

In the planning and construction process of new buildings there has always been a lot to consider. And yet today we are talking about completely different dimensions than 30 years ago - not least because of the integration of networked security technology into building services technologies. Which trades have to be interlinked in detail here?

The idea would be that all the trades interlock. That means that the intrusion alarm system including the video security technology can talk to the access control system with the escape doors as well as with the building management system.

An example would be if you imagine the building being abandoned by all residents. Then the last one leaving the building should switch on the intrusion alarm system and it would be absolutely nonsense, if in the building the temperature is still held on a certain well-being feeling range or the light is turned on. In other words, in a smart building this is intelligent and sustainable networking.

So, back to your question, every sensor should play its role in the area of security together.

That sounds like a tremendous effort - and a lot of potential for error. As is well known, there are also numerous prominent negative examples where this may not have worked so well...

If we take a look at the project level: What is to be considered from the security technology side and when does it have to be considered? Maybe we divide the process into 3 parts: How does it look like in the run-up to the project?

I would even try to differentiate the area of security technology into two parts: once in SECURITY and SAFETY.

In other words, just imagine that security is to prevent someone from coming into the house and safety is to enable someone to get out of the house as quickly as possible, for example if there is a fire. Crime prevention basically on the one hand and protection of people or buildings on the other.

Okay, and in the run-up to the project, how do we manage to plan this well for both sides, safety and security? What has to be done?

The most important thing is to define the usage requirements. In other words, what is this functional building actually intended to fulfill? What is the function of the building, and on the basis of this functional description you define the risks that can affect the building or the building itself. Once this has been done, the rest is ultimately just a normal sequence of points that, in theory, must be routine for every good technical planner in the field of building services engineering.

But yes, the interfaces are always a very special challenge and it is very often the case that functional changes also occur during the construction phase and then it happens that such irritations occur, to say it politely. So what happens in one or the other very interesting project? I think someone once called it the "Bermuda Triangle of the construction industry in Germany" - there was the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall in the north, Berlin Airport in the east and Stuttgart 21 in the south.

The best tool for complex buildings is simply BIM - Building Information Modeling. BIM is a structure that is actually much too undervalued in Germany and which is also a component of corresponding building applications in other countries, especially in Asian countries.

Building Information Modeling simply helps to manage and document exactly these interfaces between the trades. This means that I no longer have to let a cable duct go through a ventilation shaft because the two layers are not superimposed. That is the benefit!

And BIM is not only a three-dimensional planning, but you have 4D, 5D, 6D... you have other dimensions on board, where you can break down to the documentation and also to the dismantling so that I know when and where I can dismantle something.

And here I can also integrate security technology?

Uh, yes, you can see that I'm a bit hesitant. Security technology has not yet arrived one hundred percent in the field of Building Information Modeling. There are some manufacturers who provide so-called shapes for this. This means that a shape can be thought of as a model, which I use for example in Revit - Revit is the tool I use to make Building Information Modeling come alive. And these shapes are these components, these templates, for example of cameras, which I then implement in the project. The next step would be that I automatically connect to the next switch from these cameras.

These connections are of course going through cable trays and these cable trays are of course not only exclusively for these connections, but also for many other connections. At the same time, I no longer have the stress of having to calculate the fire load for this cable tray "on foot", but I automated it.

Let’s go a step further and say: the planning phase is completed. That's certainly how it was with one or two projects. Of course, a lot of planning is done in advance. What needs to be taken into account in the implementation phase to avoid a fiasco?

The planning phase is the be-all and end-all. The planning phase is where the documents are created and the next steps are taken. Not only for the realization phase. In other words, I know where I have to assemble things and I know where to connect them to. And not only for the hardware, but also for the interfaces.

In addition to the realization, I also have to be directly involved in how I test all these products and all these trades that I have networked with each other. This means that in the planning phase, the test framework program is also created for the phase in which - and I always like to compare this with my child - my child is learning to walk.

And yes, when the child is walking, he or she stumbles or falls, but the test framework program helps him or her to determine exactly that, to document exactly that, and then to walk into the usage phase accordingly.

So good planning is half the battle. "Before action, take advice" - nowadays this saying has a really good reason.

Now let's say our building is finished and goes into operation... I ask you deliberately and heretically: Can I now open a Kölsch, sit down on the couch and put my feet up?

You should definitely do that when the building is up and running! But you should stop after the first Kölsch and think about how you imagine the next few years of usage.

In other words, a building is alive - just like your child, grows and undergoes changes. Even if your child doesn’t need to be maintained, the regular inspections must be carried out. It’s the exact same with a building.

At home, the chimney sweep comes by once or twice a year to take a quick look at the chimney. And in the case of a security system, depending on the specifications, e.g. in the case of a fire alarm system four times a year and in the case of a video system it is definitely recommended that someone should come by twice a year. He will come by and not only check whether everything still works, but also, according to the test framework program that was already developed in the planning phase, carry out the tests in a documented manner, determine errors and eliminate them accordingly.

So basically the chequebook-maintained building, it reminds a bit of a car...

Yes, you are right and have built a great bridge. It's just like owning a car, where I have to do my oil changes, and it's exactly the same with a building, where I have to see that the safety technology works.

We all know it: Doors slamming or a magnetic contact sitting on a door may loosen and then it is easier to replace or tighten the screw instead of waiting until the magnetic contact between the frame and the door leaf is broken.

Ideally, a building should stand for a longer period of time and innovation cycles are becoming shorter and shorter. I would like to throw a keyword into the room for a moment: Total Cost of Ownership. I have to keep an eye on my costs and be able to calculate them. This naturally includes future updates in the building. How can I prepare and adjust for future updates and calculate my costs already in the planning phase, how does that work with the innovation cycles we have now?

By intensively selecting the partners with whom I operate this building. A partner needs trust. Trust must ultimately grow. And if you’re referring to updates, for example - there are options available today, such as LTS, Long Term Support is a key in the IT world with which I ensure that I don't have to replace the computer every two or three years to provide it with the latest patches.

You can also use LTS in video technology. This ensures that over a period of ten plus years, you can ensure that you have the appropriate patches, i.e. the corresponding bug fixes in programs.

What are errors that might occur?

Errors that might occur are of various kinds. On the one hand, it is the same where I started to build a bridge between the door and the lock, where hundreds of years ago someone said: I will lock the door now! But then someone came along on the other side who had found a way to open this lock with a bent nail.

And that's exactly how you can imagine it in the field of network security. There are always possibilities, the longer you look. And accordingly, programs are written today to find the errors and gaps. These gaps must be closed. They are closed with patches. That's why there is no system that I install today and dismantle again in ten years, as it was twenty or thirty years ago, where I don't have to make any software changes.

In the past, maintenance was different. Today it's more in the area of network technology, today the maintenance you do is more in the area of software.

Let's take a quick look at your employer, Axis Communications. Axis offers a wide range of products in the field of networked security technology. Not only network video cameras, but also network audio systems and "Security as a Service", which will certainly become a major factor in the upcoming years. Let's take a look into the future: where and how will networked security technology in buildings develop?

The various trades will move closer together. The individual players in the field, whether it is a camera, readers for access control or a loudspeaker, will be networked. Standardized via CPIP and these players will talk to each other. This means, for example, that the smoke detector on the ceiling will also communicate with the camera, or vice versa. What is the added value?

The added value is, for example, that the camera can tell the operator that there are people in the room. This means that the fire department still has to go in there, there are so many people and so many more who ultimately have to be led out of the building. Other case studies after combining a voice alarm system with a video security technology access control system are that I can speak into the object to give information to whoever is currently inside the object. That I use an appropriate acoustic information source to tell the people in the room: Please stay calm, please don't panic, help is on the way.

These are interfaces where I don't necessarily always have to add a risk management system that manages the whole thing, but where I can easily let the individual actors in the field talk to each other inexpensively and, above all, faster.

Finally, Mr. Sauer, if I were to ask you about the three biggest trends for the future of networked security technology... What would they be? Can they be limited to three?

Hm, that is a good question. I think an important trend is trust and ethics. That's not really on our radar screen, which is an absolute pity. Security is based on trust. And this trust must grow. And to ensure this trust, I have to respect the other person, its privacy, etc. For me, this is a trend that we simply have to bring much more on our radar.

In addition to the trends in communication between the individual players in the field. And it doesn't matter what kind of medium is used. Whether it's over 5G, over radio, over copper or over glass. For me, that would be the second trend that I definitely see there. In other words: In the end, how are the individual actors in the field talking to each other, at what speed, through what medium.

The third trend is, how can I empower the people who install this technology accordingly? Enable the technology that these people are planning? In other words, how do I get the know-how there to plan and operate the complex systems we have talked about in advance in a cost-effective, simple way.

Is there even a way around artificial intelligence?

Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence, yes. To be honest, I can't tell you the answer. Because in order to implement artificial intelligence, I need certain data that I have in advance to be able to evaluate it. It could be that if we are sitting here – even if I doubt it - if I am sitting here again in fifty years, that I will tell you: Yes, that is exactly the way. The future will tell whether artificial intelligence will help us achieve our goals faster and more easily. But it will definitely help us get a little closer to our goal.

That is a nice closing! Mr. Sauer, thanks a lot for joining us for today’s Building Technology Experts Podcast Episode. Thanks a lot for this exciting conversation. I enjoyed it very much and I hope you enjoyed it, too.

I also hope that you enjoyed listening to us at home, dear listeners*. If you would like to continue to receive new content from Building Technology Experts, please make sure to check out the social media channels, LinkedIn, Facebook, ... Otherwise, all I can say is: stay healthy! Take care! And stay excited!

I agree with these words. I thank you for the invitation, Mr. Münkel. Yes, stay safe and be careful!


Coming soon…

Lutz Dietzold


Marius Münkel

Musician’s heart. Quick-witted. Charming.

Focus on: crosscutting topics of Building technologies

Podcasts presented:
Jochen Sauer: On the safe side: connected!

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