A mall for more than shopping

Sofia Ring Mall in Bulgaria’s capital isn’t your average mall. For one, plenty of windows let in natural light. Then there’s the wide offering, with everything from high fashion to entertainment galore. Technology from Siemens ensures the comfort, safety and security of visitors and staff.

Since Sofia Ring Mall opened its doors in November 2014, it has held the title of Bulgaria’s largest mall. But more than that, it’s the place to fulfill every heart’s desire. Let’s start with the shopping: from high fashion to furniture, electronics, groceries and even home improvement supplies, shoppers find everything they need. Not in the market for anything at the moment? Then how about catching a movie in one of the mall’s ten theaters. No bored kids at this mall, either, with entertainment featuring changing attractions, like an ice skating rink with real ice. Parking isn’t a problem with space for more than 3,500 cars. And you can even continue your driving experience by going for a few rounds at the mall’s indoor kart rink. Hungry? From Japanese to Italian, the food court offers a wide range of specialties with open-air seating with views of the nearby Vitosha Mountains.


To be sure, Sofia Ring Mall houses a number of different applications areas, each with its own environmental conditions and properties. “This leads to a range of technical challenges, which we were able to solve with Siemens,” says Dimitris Papoulis, CEO of Sofia Ring Mall. “All building areas are equipped with state-of-the-art fire safety and security infrastructure, and our building management system helps us achieve our energy efficiency goals,” he continues.

The right partners, the right technology

Seamless operation between building management, fire safety and security systems was a primary requirement of the mall’s operators. Should an event occur, they wanted the highest protection possible for life. For that reason, the building systems had to come from a single source. For the project, the Siemens Solutions Partners New System Ltd. and Protech Jsc. joined forces to offer an integrated system.


New System Ltd. took over the building management system at Sofia Ring Mall. The technology employed was the Desigo platform from Siemens. With its modular design, it can be expanded at any time. Ivo Petrov, Managing Partner at New System, says: “The Desigo system allows for an extremely high level of building automation. Since it is so reliable and user-friendly, we use it in many of our projects. For Sofia Ring Mall with its wide variety of requirements, Desigo was the right solution.” 


The mall’s Desigo system has three levels: the field level with field devices (sensors, valves, actuators, thermostats and variable speed drives), the DDC (Direct Digital Control) level with freely programmable TX controllers, and the top level with the Desigo Insight V5 management station. Desigo offers visualization of the entire facility, which makes it easy to operate the system and optimize its parameters. The system settings in effect when the building management went live are continuously monitored and adjusted to meet the building’s current requirements. Not only does the approach ensure maximum comfort for tenants and visitors, it also optimizes energy consumption and lowers CO2emissions and energy costs.



For protection of people and assets

Reliability was the top requirement for the fire security system: “Our customer needed a fire safety system that reliably protects people and assets in the various mall areas – stores, restaurants and the parking garage. At the same time, the system had to be immune to false alarms,” explains Viktor Kirilov, Managing Director of Siemens partner Protech. An impressive 2,500 addressable fire detectors are installed throughout the building and connected to three networked Cerberus PRO control panels. While Cerberus PRO ensures early, reliable and deception-proof alarming in case of fire, Sinorix takes care of extinguishing. At the mall, 30 specialized gas extinguishing systems were installed in equipment rooms and other spaces housing critical infrastructure.


Security systems complement the fire safety system. A Siemens MM8000 danger management station is used to visualize and prioritize security-relevant events, and a video surveillance system offers complete coverage of the mall. SiPass Integrated controls access to the mall’s non-public areas, including warehouses and offices. Since SiPass is combined with video surveillance, unauthorized access attempts immediately appear on the surveillance monitors.

Peace of mind

Close collaboration between the technology provider and the installers has resulted in a happy customer. “The different Siemens management systems installed at Sofia Ring Mall all interact with each other and give us peace of mind that we are offering our tenants and visitors maximum safety and comfort,” says Papoulis, the mall’s CEO.


Members of the installation team are also satisfied. “For us it was an exciting experience working with the stakeholders at Sofia Ring Mall to find the ideal integrated solution. This doesn’t just make our customer feel good, but us as well,” concludes Kirilov from Protech.

Picture credits: Siemens AG

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