A building management system (BMS) can greatly streamline oversight of day-to-day operations of the many connected systems—lighting, electrical, HVAC, security, life safety—of a smart building. Building owners and operators looking to reduce their technology spend can consider the use of open-source smart building management platforms as an alternative to commercial alternatives. Not only is the software free to use and growing rapidly from a feature/functionality perspective, but it also prevents the dreaded vendor lock-in, which can considerably increase the cost of commercial systems over a product life cycle because building operators must commit to proprietary IoT management systems and associated hardware.

Open-source software often comes with concerns regarding support—or lack of support—from bugs, security flaws, and lagging features. However, if the open-source community is strong and includes multiple commercial vendors contributing to the software, it can be as reliable and feature-rich as commercial alternatives.

This article describes a handful of vetted open-source in-building technologies and why they’re gaining in popularity for smart building use cases.