Building Management System at Risk: The Perils of Obsolete BMS Tech

Building Management System at Risk: The Perils of Obsolete BMS Tech

In the realm of Building Management Systems (BMS), the technological landscape is rapidly changing. Yet, many systems are hindered by outdated BMS computer systems leading to multiple challenges. These obsolete technologies, once at the forefront of building automation services, now significantly compromise the integrity and efficiency of modern BMS control systems.

In this exploration, we’ll address these critical issues, emphasising the need for up-to-date technology and how it intersects with reliable BMS operations:

  1. Security Flaws in Outdated Bms Computer Systems: What to Avoid
    Examine how old BMS computer systems become easy targets for security breaches and the modern solutions that ensure robust protection.
  2. Costly Consequences of Outdated BMS Hardware and Controls: Discover how outdated technology in BMS control systems can escalate operational costs and how advanced tech can improve overall efficiency.
  3. How To Modernise Devices For Enhanced BMS Control Systems: Delve into devices and technologies needed to enhance building automation services in contemporary BMS environments.

These insights aim to guide consulting engineers and building managers in making informed decisions about upgrading their BMS to ensure optimal performance and security.

Security Flaws in Outdated Bms Computer Systems: What to Avoid

Legacy BMS Computer Systems can be great liabilities in BMS technology.  

Outdated BMS computer systems, equipped with hardware like the Intel® Core™2 Duo and 2 GB DDR3 RAM, are now security liabilities. These legacy components lack the processing power and memory capacity required for today's sophisticated security measures and BMS operations, which include real-time analytics and complex encryption protocols.

For instance, the once-standard 250 GB SATA hard drives struggle with the storage demands of current high-resolution security footage, and Windows XP or 7—operating systems that no longer receive security updates—present serious compliance and vulnerability issues.

The consequences of maintaining such obsolete tech can be dire, leading to:

  • Compromised Data: Legacy systems are ill-equipped to protect against modern malware or unauthorised intrusions.
  • Operational Inefficiency: Slower processing speeds and inadequate memory lead to lagging system responses.
  • Increased Downtime: Older hardware is more prone to failure, causing increased maintenance and operational halts.

Modernising to up-to-date BMS hardware is critical for robust security and efficient operations. This means transitioning to systems with the latest multi-core processors, ample solid-state storage, and supported operating systems like Windows 10 or 11, which receive continuous security updates and support the latest BMS software.

Such upgrades not only fortify BMS against cyber threats but also ensure that building operations can run smoothly, efficiently, and uninterrupted.

Costly Consequences of Outdated BMS Hardware and Control Systems

In Building Management Systems (BMS), outdated control systems not only hinder operational efficiency but also escalate operational costs. Specific outdated components and systems include:

Legacy HVAC Controllers

Old thermostats and HVAC control units that lack the precision and responsiveness of modern digital controllers. These older systems often fail to adjust heating and cooling efficiently, leading to energy wastage and higher utility bills.

Conventional Lighting Controls

Outdated lighting control systems, such as basic timer-based or manual switch systems, compared to modern motion-sensitive or daylight-responsive lighting controls, result in excessive energy consumption.

Aged Building Automation Controllers

Controllers that manage various building systems but run on limited processing power and memory (like an Intel® Core™2 Duo with 2 GB DDR3 RAM) struggle with the demands of modern BMS software, leading to slower response times and increased maintenance.

Outmoded Sensors and Actuators

Older sensors that monitor environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, occupancy) and actuators that control physical mechanisms may not be as precise or reactive as their modern counterparts, leading to inefficient system operations.

Analog or Non-Digital Systems

Systems that still use analog signals or lack network connectivity cannot effectively integrate with modern, data-driven BMS technologies, causing inefficiencies and increased operational costs.

Obsolete Networking Equipment

Networking components like old Data/Fax modems or 10/100 Ethernet cards limit the data transfer speeds and reliability, hindering the BMS's ability to communicate and process information efficiently.

Upgrading these specific elements of a BMS control system to modern, energy-efficient, and responsive technologies can lead to substantial savings and reduced maintenance costs:

  • Replacing old HVAC controllers with programmable or smart thermostats.
  • Updating lighting controls to incorporate IoT-based solutions.  
  • Upgrading building automation controllers to handle sophisticated algorithms and real-time data processing.

In summary, investing in modern BMS control system technologies is a crucial step towards reducing the long-term operational expenses associated with running a building, making it a financially sound decision for efficient building management.

How To Modernise Devices For Enhanced BMS Control Systems

Modernising a Building Management System (BMS) control system is essential for keeping up with the demands of contemporary building automation. This process involves integrating specific devices and technologies that address the shortcomings of older systems:

High-Performance CPUs: Replace outdated processors with modern multi-core CPUs that can efficiently handle complex BMS operations. These processors offer faster processing speeds, which are crucial for real-time data analysis and system management.

Ample, Fast Memory: Upgrading to larger and faster RAM, such as DDR4/DDR5, is vital for improved multitasking and responsiveness. This ensures that the BMS can handle simultaneous operations and large data sets without lag.

Advanced Storage Solutions: Transitioning from traditional hard drives to solid-state drives (SSDs) provides faster data access and increased reliability. SSDs offer quicker boot times and better performance, which are essential for the high-speed retrieval and processing of BMS data.

Contemporary Connectivity and Interfaces: Modernizing connectivity options is crucial for seamless integration with current building automation devices and networks. This includes upgrading to USB 3.0/3.2 and HDMI for high-speed data transfer and connectivity, as well as implementing advanced Ethernet or Wi-Fi standards to ensure robust and secure network communications.

Smart HVAC Controllers: Implement IoT-enabled HVAC controllers for enhanced climate control, energy efficiency, and remote management capabilities.

Intelligent Lighting Systems: Incorporate smart lighting solutions with automated controls, sensors for occupancy and natural light, and energy-efficient LED fixtures.

Advanced Sensors and Actuators: Use precise and responsive IoT-enabled sensors for environmental monitoring and actuators for executing system commands, ensuring effective and efficient building management.

Scalable Software Platforms: Choose BMS software that supports easy integration with a range of automation services and offers scalability, user-friendliness, and cloud-based analytics.

By integrating these modern devices and technologies, the BMS control system becomes more efficient, responsive, and capable of managing contemporary building automation demands. These upgrades are not just about keeping up with technology—they're about proactively enhancing building operations, reducing costs, and ensuring a sustainable and adaptable environment.


To sum up, upgrading your Building Management System (BMS) is crucial. Modernising with the latest CPUs, more memory, solid-state drives, and updated connectivity will not only save costs but also boost your system’s performance and reliability.

Remember, staying ahead with technology is key in building management. Upgrading is not just fixing what's broken; it's about staying efficient, secure, and ready for future challenges.

If you're looking to make these vital upgrades, consider Tri-Star Automation for the most up-to-date building management system solutions. They offer the expertise and technology you need to bring your BMS into the modern era.