Smart buildings can only be smart if all digital organs can communicate with each other without any barriers. This is something pointed out by Reichle & De-Massari (R&M), the globally active developer and provider of cabling systems for high-quality network infrastructures, based in Wetzikon, Switzerland. In a recent statement, R&M emphasizes: “The idea of the smart building is based on a uniform nerve structure and a common language in the form of structured cabling for data networks and the Internet Protocol.” 

Digital Building

Currently, R&M is providing increasing amounts of information on the important role of cabling for intelligent buildings. “We want investors, architects, planners, installers and system integrators to be able to really get going. They need to know that they are creating a durable basis for future-proof digitalized building automation,” explains the cabling specialist. 

R&M argues: “Uniform, application-neutral and manufacturer-independent connectivity can replace what has to date been the standard separation of IT and field bus components. The whole building is then speaking one language. Furthermore, this simplifies installation and maintenance. Material and operating expenses decrease.” 

R&M is giving the real estate world an all-in-one package for networking smart buildings. It unites the cabling for local data networks (LAN) and the Ethernet or Internet protocol (Ethernet/IP) with related technologies. This includes Wireless LAN, Power over Ethernet (PoE) and Single-Pair Ethernet (SPE). This symbiosis leads to All over IP (digital building automation exclusively over the Internet Protocol). 

Matthias Gerber

Matthias Gerber, Market Manager LAN Cabling

For R&M, new installation concepts such as the digital ceiling are of central significance here. “With digital ceiling, we are extending the data network like a honeycomb on the ceiling throughout the entire building to be able to connect devices to building automation. The concept consists of zones with pre-installed connecting points (service outlets) in the ceiling. R&M provides sophisticated installation solutions for precisely this purpose. They make the building ‘ready for intelligence’,” explains R&M Market Manager Matthias Gerber. Real estate managers or tenants can then make use of the digitization with ‘Plug and Play’ – fit for purpose, without barriers, fast and at low cost. The only thing left to do is plug in network switches, sensors, controls, WLAN access points and other distributed building services. 

“A key technology for smart buildings is Power over Ethernet (PoE), in other words powering digital end devices using data cable,” stresses R&M. PoE infrastructures make it possible to connect applications in a smart building with just one cabling connection. Virtual reality screens can be powered with PoE and at the same time be addressed via the data network. PoE can feed the LED lighting of entire buildings. In addition, every individual light is given its own IP address. R&M develops contacts and connectors which are ready to deal with the electrical challenges of these PoE applications. 

Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) compresses the LAN cabling to two wires and miniaturized connectors. The connection density of the terminal equipment can thus be increased significantly. This technology extends the digital ceiling cabling perfectly. R&M was involved in the standardization of SPE connectivity and sees SPE as a future key technology in the cabling program for smart buildings. 

Finally, the R&M package also supports Passive Optical LAN (POLAN). This is FO cabling for extended systems such as airports, malls, resorts, and hotels. POLAN delivers virtually unlimited bandwidth for miles.

Digital Ceiling Concept

The cabling of smart buildings should be application-neutral and manufacturer-independent. The concept of structured cabling for data networks in combination with the Internet Protocol is perfect for this. Using digital ceiling, this concept can be extended throughout a building in the form of a honeycomb.