Smart Buildings Need Sophisticated Data Networks

The market for smart buildings in Australia continues to rise and with it does the importance of consistent and compliant data network terminations.


Written by: Jason O’Connell, Region Manager Australia & New Zealand of IDEAL Electrical™

The Global Smart Home Market


Smart building technology has seen a significant shift. Previously considered an upgrade or specialist addition to residential, commercial and industrial buildings, smart solutions have quickly become standard specification.


Fortune Business Insights reveals the global smart building market is expected to hit a staggering $408.21 billion by 2030, expanding at a CAGR of 22.8% from 2023 to 2030. Growing demand for energy-efficient systems and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) enabled building management systems are cited as key factors driving the growth.



Major Smart Buildings in Australia


The construction industry in Australia is no stranger to smart buildings. In fact, benchmark-setting buildings that deliver outstanding innovation, ambition and contemporary design are becoming commonplace in many of the major cities. The state-of-the-art GPO Exchange building in Adelaide, for example, is South Australia’s first certified Platinum WELL building. The building features a wealth of smart technology with more than 25 separate building control systems. Technology includes a visitor management system, number plate recognition, electric car charging stations, smart lockers, advanced security systems, occupancy levels and spatial utilisation, an air quality management plan, controlled climates and a human-centric lighting control system. Together, the smart building systems capture a staggering 32,000 data points, used to monitor building and utility usage patterns.


Similarly, the 90-storey Brisbane Skytower, which is Brisbane’s tallest building, incorporates numerous smart technologies to provide sustainable, secure and energy efficient living. The residential skyscraper features a building automation system covering the likes of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and security. The distinctive EY Centre at 200 George Street in Sydney also utilises an intelligent building management system to monitor air quality, sunlight, power and water usage, adjusting the internal environment to maximise energy efficiency and occupant comfort.


Indeed, the scale and creativity of architecture here cannot be argued, however, with the smart building boom well underway, it is vital that the industry has the tools at its disposal to keep pace with staggering demand, be it new developments or retrofit projects. Key to this is the ability to install increasingly sophisticated data networks quickly, effectively and without error. 


How to Build a More Sophisticated Data Network


The more complex the network, the greater the number of RJ-45 assemblies and terminations required, which can inevitably result in consistency being compromised. Identifying faulty terminations on the system can be an onerous, costly and time-consuming task. As such, terminations must guarantee best practice and consistency every time. 


Whilst conventional installation methods require conductors to be trimmed to an exact length before the plug is placed onto the cable, Feed-Thru Modular Plugs from IDEAL Electrical leave no such room for error. As single-piece connectors, there is no need for installers to assemble a three-piece connector, nor do conductor wires require precision trimming; instead, installers simply remove an appropriate section of jacket, remove the centre spline (if present), untwist the pairs into the correct order, and trim the ends flat. The cable can then be slid into the connector until seated.


The unit features open ends that allow conductors to be completely fed through the connector before crimping. The cable can be pushed into the connector to ensure the twisted pairs are as close to the pin contacts as possible, and that the jacket is seated beyond the primary strain relief for a secure connection.


The versatile FT-45™ Crimp Tool further enhances this error-free approach; installers simply squeeze the handle to the closed position to cleanly shear the excess conductor wires and leave a smooth, flat finish – crimping and cutting the cable in a single action.


Used on installations around the world, the FT-45 Feed-Thru data termination solution from IDEAL Electrical ensures consistent, resilient and compliant data networks, regardless of the number of installers working on site, skill level or time pressures. If the industry is to keep up with demand for smart buildings, getting data networks right the first time, every time, is crucial.