How smart buildings can help save the world

Posted: 31st May 2022

Infrastructure and technology must play their part to prevent a global catastrophe.

Photo by Richard R. Schünemann on Unsplash

On 28th February this year, an urgent new UN report announced that the effects of climate change are worse than we thought. Once again, the vital need for global action was brought to our attention. 

Alok Sharma, who led the COP26 climate summit last year, said: “We will be doing ourselves and our populations a huge disservice if we fail to prepare now, based on the very clear science before us.”

 And with many countries setting net-zero carbon reduction targets for 2050, the pressure is on to develop strategies to bring down emissions in our cities, save energy, and speed up the transition to renewable energy.

At the same time demand for urban space continues to grow. Right now, 55% of the world’s population – some 4.2 billion people – live in cities. This is expected to rise to 68 percent by 2050, adding another 2.5 billion people into urban areas.

If this staggering demand is to be met, we must start now. And what’s more, we must do it without compromising sustainability. 

Smart cities

Smart cities are one of the crucial ways to tackle the climate crisis and smart buildings play a pivotal role in their development. 

It’s been known for a while that improving the energy efficiency of buildings could dramatically reduce emissions and costs over time. However, due to the high upfront investment required and the slow returns on that investment, the potential remains largely untapped.

Technology and data can optimise building operations, monitor resources and automate energy efficiency into every aspect of the built environment. Not only that, they can also reduce costs and improve wellbeing at the same time. 


Two key components of smart buildings are building management systems (BMS) and a building energy management system (BEMS). Both share many overlapping functionalities but they are fundamentally different from one another. 

A BMS is a control system that enables you to monitor and manage the mechanical and electrical services in a building, such as access control, lifts, lights, heating and air-conditioning. Most importantly, it connects multiple functionalities from different pieces of equipment so they operate as one integrated system. 

A BEMS monitors and controls energy-related building services such as HVAC, power and lighting. It provides the information and tools that building managers need to understand, control and improve energy performance. 

While a BMS controls a wide range of services on a site, a BEMS focuses on energy management, providing metering, sub-metering, and monitoring functions that collate energy data.

This lets building and facility managers gain detailed insight into their building’s energy usage so they can program systems and equipment for optimum energy efficiency.


There will undoubtedly be new innovations that improve sustainability and energy efficiency hitting the market in the near future. The good news is that today’s smart buildings are already built to accommodate them. 

In the majority of cases, implementing a new feature will simply involve installing a new software application into the current BMS. New tech tools can seamlessly integrate into your operations without having to rewire the building. 

Discover how we can help you achieve your sustainability goals

Blacktip Consultancy is helping some of the world’s leading real estate occupiers, owners and developers harness the power of tech to improve their energy efficiency. We can do the same for you. 

Speak to one of our specialists about your project to discover all the advantages tech can deliver to your built environment. 

Email us on or click here to go to our contact form.


Conferencing systems: Make your meeting room work like magic in 2022

Posted: 17th January 2022

Meeting rooms matter more than ever right now. A slick conferencing system is key to collaboration, efficiency and productivity in the world of hybrid working. Luke Weight, one of Blacktip’s design consultants, discusses what to look for when investing in AV and shares three features that belong in every meeting room. 

If I had to make one prediction for the year ahead it’s this: remote working is here to stay. I’m not the first to say it but nevertheless, it’s the horse I’d back for 2022. 

Our clients seem to agree. They’re placing greater emphasis on the quality of their conferencing systems because they know how vital they are to hybrid working. They will always have some staff working from home and some in the office, and they need to be able to bring everyone together quickly and easily. 

Customers and clients expect a seamless virtual experience nowadays, too. The culture has shifted, and a tinny microphone or jittery webcam is unacceptable in today’s remote economy. 

Large organisations have always understood the value of a well-equipped meeting room. However, the pandemic flung many businesses online who haven’t experienced online conferencing before. That includes industries that would never normally need it, such as medical practices, online auctioning and construction project meetings. 

If you’re considering investing in a conferencing system, or upgrading your current meeting room, you might be wondering whether now is the right time. Technology progresses so fast it’s always tempting to hold off until the next innovation comes along. However, the equipment is so good right now that you’re assured of a great experience. There’s no better time to invest.  

But where do you begin? What does quality look like? And what sort of budget should you set aside? 

Everyone is different, of course. Some businesses make a point of buying the most expensive AV there is. Others are more cost-conscious. They seek an optimal solution for their needs. 

Generally, the more you invest the better the equipment. But don’t let that put you off. There are plenty of cost-effective solutions that most companies will find more than adequate. 

Above all, make sure your conferencing AV is user-friendly and fit for purpose. At Blacktip, we help you navigate the dozens of AV solutions on the market to find the ones that best deliver the exact functionality you require. We know which brands are reliable, cost-effective and does what it says on the tin.

Three conferencing essentials

We conduct a thorough consultation with our clients before we design a meeting room or recommend equipment. We have to understand how you intend to use the room and what you want to achieve in the space. 

That being said, there are certain features on the market right now that are so good we recommend them to everyone. Here are three AV essentials that belong in every meeting room. 

Beamforming microphone

When it comes to conferencing, an average mic won’t cut it. A poor quality microphone reflects badly on your company and anyone who isn’t directly in front of it will struggle to make themself heard. 

A beamforming mic tracks different zones of the room to understand where people are. The mic will track you as you talk and move, retaining perfect quality wherever you are in the room. And, coupled with its controller, the microphone removes unwanted background noise, such as a rustling crisp packet, footsteps or a distant car alarm. 

4k UHD PTZ Webcam

A 4k Ultra High Definition Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera delivers a superb visual experience. 

The webcam automatically adjusts for the number of people in the room. So, if you have a large table but only a few people are sitting on one side, the camera will zoom in to find the perfect shot. And, using its own in-built tracking feature, the PTZ camera notices if one person is monologuing and focuses in on them until someone else speaks. 

Invest in a PTZ camera and transform the flat visuals of business meetings into something bordering on cinematic. 

High-quality speakers 

Good speakers are a must. Whether you install them in the ceiling for a surround sound experience or position them end-on, quality is crucial. You don’t want anyone struggling to hear. 

For conferencing, it’s especially important to find speakers with well-balanced highs and lows which deliver a full sound and ensure everyone’s pitch is heard clearly.  

Aesthetic choices also determine the type of speaker we recommend to our clients.  A favourite with our architects, narrow bezels, or edgeless, speakers blend into the overall composition of a room beautifully. 

Size matters! 

When it comes to meeting rooms, size matters. The equipment you choose depends on the size of the room. 

If your meeting room holds six people or less it is counter-productive to install each element separately. Your best option for a smaller room is an integrated soundbar. 

An integrated soundbar is a speaker, microphone and webcam all rolled into one neat package that sits elegantly under your screen. And you don’t have to sacrifice quality either. With the right budget, you can find soundbars that include the same features that we covered above.   

Integrated soundbars are a compact solution for contained spaces. They’re also a handy solution if you’re working with an awkward space or one that makes installation difficult.  

Written by Luke Weight / Consultant

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