Two recent reports highlight both the upside and the challenges to smart buildings and communities.

The “Smart Communities Report 2022,” published in September by global shared communications infrastructure provider  BAI Communications, found that smart buildings and communities can bring solid benefits, as organizations are more willing than ever to partner with both public and private stakeholders. 

BAI defines a smart community as one that uses state-of-the-art technology and real-time data analytics to improve environmental sustainability, reduce the digital divide and enhance people’s lives with smarter, personalized and more intuitive services and experiences, according to the press release. The inaugural report highlights the findings from a global study of approximately 200 enterprise and venue IT experts and senior decision makers across the United Kingdom and United States and provides an in-depth look at attitudes and understanding of smart communities for organizations across industries ranging from manufacturing and health care to education and entertainment. 

The report identified a couple relevant key trends: 

1.  Organizations want communities to be smarter, but better industry collaboration is needed.   

Smart communities can enhance the everyday experience of residents, businesses, and visitors within them. Those surveyed recognize their responsibility to contribute to infrastructure development through sharing knowledge and expertise, technology, financing, and investment. However, the research suggests finding the right partners is impacting their ability to participate in smart community initiatives, highlighting the importance of a more coordinated industry-wide approach toward smart community development. 

2.   Advanced networks are critical to supporting greater connectivity, but organizations are holding back on upgrading infrastructure. 

Robust networks are the building blocks of smart buildings and communities, enabling smart sensors, devices, and analytics platforms to perform effectively. Those surveyed are most concerned about network resilience and business continuity to accommodate flexible work arrangements, which have become a higher priority in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. They understand the need to improve and future-proof their infrastructure, but many are delaying important network upgrades — often due to high implementation and operational costs. 

Of those surveyed, 93 percent of respondents believe faster speeds and lower latency enable faster and greater adoption of cloud infrastructure and applications and 72 percent of respondents plan to upgrade their network by at least two generations, with 16 percent planning to leap four generations in their next upgrade.

Meanwhile the challenges those same networks present were highlighted in a separate report, conducted by Constella Intelligence and commissioned by ASIS International, which found that just one in 10 (11 percent) of organizations have integrated their physical and cybersecurity teams into a unified department. More than half (52 percent) of physical security teams said they infrequently interact with their cyber counterparts.

During the recent GSX 2022 conference in Atlanta, Constella Intelligence presented four key insights from the survey, including:

  • Companies are facing increased physical security threats, which are tied to the convergence of digital and physical risk.
  • Physical security and cybersecurity teams are siloed, rarely operating within the same department and interacting infrequently.
  • Open source and deep and dark web monitoring for early threat indicators are lagging.
  • Social, economic and geopolitical unrest is tightening corporate governance. 

Through their joint analysis, Constella and ASIS identified a widespread need for deeper integration between cyber and physical security teams, as most respondents indicated their organizations would be better equipped to avoid crises if these functions were better aligned and could leverage a single unified platform to monitor potential threats. 

With October being national cybersecurity awareness month it’s perhaps a good time to revisit these practices and set the goals that will get you to an efficient and safe smart building and community.