MSI: A new type of contractor

The role of Master Systems Integrator, or MSI, is a relatively new concept for the built environment in Ireland, although it’s relevance has been growing in other regions in line with the growth of smart buildings globally. The term ‘smart buildings’ essentially describes connected buildings and these connections improve the user or occupant experience of that space while enhancing the overall performance of the building under a range of metrics, including environmental, social and governance, or ESG.

Contemporary buildings contain numerous smart solutions supplied by multiple specialist contractors. The systems may work well on their own, however, they generally do not integrate well with one another, or at all. Whether retrofitting existing spaces, or designing new spaces from scratch, an ad hoc approach to the deployment of IoT, or Internet of Things, solutions weakens the integrity of the building’s systems and fails to channel data into any central repository. Without such a central data repository, useful information remains unleveraged, resulting in a ‘smart building’ with little to no intelligence. The core function of the MSI in the delivery of contemporary smart buildings is to ensure frictionless operation and communication between all systems within that building. This requires top level integration by the MSI of layers of software enabling the smart functioning of the building system and aggregation of all data captured. The MSI contractor is responsible for this top level of integration on a smart building project, ensuring that all systems achieve compliance with an agreed data model or schema. By using an agreed data model, the data from the building’s smart systems can be understood by people and third party software applications to ensure longevity through interoperability into the future. This end result is a real-time ‘data lake’ for use by the building owner, operator and occupants. This ‘data lake’ gathers valuable building performance data, including ESG metrics, that are made accessible and actionable by the building owners/operators in order to optimise the experience for the occupants.

Early engagement of a MSI contractor is essential to ensure alignment with the design team in terms of approach and delivery. This allows for pre-emptive screening of all hardware devices, in line with the client’s IP security protocols, and a framework for onboarding third party solutions. In addition to project managers, an MSI contractor’s team typically consists of software developers, building service engineers, BMS specialists, BIM co-ordinators and data scientists.

Learn more about the emerging technologies enabling smart buildings through McKeon Group company Hereworks

About McKeon Group: Established in 1950 and ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fitout and building services. The family-run Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients. For more information, contact:

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