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When to go with a custom or packaged smart building solution

When it comes to smart building solutions, choosing when to go custom or packaged is difficult. Here's how to approach it.

When it comes to smart building solutions, choosing when to go custom or packaged can be difficult. There are a lot of variables including budget, time, and business outcomes. Custom solutions require a lot more input and resources in order to achieve a desired outcome, the payoff is a bespoke solution that adapts to your specific needs. Packaged solutions are easier to implement and quicker to install but have fixed functionality. It’s worth noting however, that you can always graduate to a custom solution if and when the need arises. But you still need to make a decision in the beginning, so how do you figure out which one to start with?

We’ve highlighted three major reasons to help you decide.


If you’ve got a large variety of stakeholders that need to be accommodated as part of your solution, then it would suggest you’d need a custom solution. This is because every time you add a new user type that requires another outcome, you’re adding another layer of complexity. If you were to implement a packaged solution, there will be stakeholders who don’t quite get catered for.

University campuses are an example that comes to mind. You’ve got staff, students, administrators, building operators, facilities, teachers, and visitors. It’s also a workplace, lecturing space, residential area, and community space. This means each user and type of space will have their own set of unique requirements that will also overlap. Adding all of this together, it’s easy to see how it can get complicated quickly.

Global Deployments

Global deployments are prime example of a solution that starts off as packaged but needs another layer of customization on top. This is because they want to be able to create a level of consistency across their entire organization but also allow for different cultures, spaces, technology, building, and any other variables that may change across continents, countries, and cities.

In order for this to work, the solution needs to have a customizable hierarchy that can handle changes at any level from the building down to an individual room without affecting anything else stationed above it. For example, if you have a special room that requires a custom workflow in one building, you can make those changes without affecting the other room’s settings.

Unique or Brand New Environments

This is where you’re creating something that’s never been done before, so a packaged solution won’t exist yet. An example might be an interactive art installation that’s only going to be operating for a short amount of time. Another example that some of our clients have created are spaces with that wow-factor where they’re really trying to push the envelope of what’s possible inside a building. So when you’re trying to break new ground, you’re going to have to create a custom solution.

So when do you go for a packaged solution?

When the solution exists and when you don’t have any of the above requirements. A great example of this is workplace. Often workplaces require a lot of the same features including room booking, desk booking, space utilization, and visitor management. These features are commonplace today and something we’ve got a lot experience implementing both custom and packaged.

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