The Leader Magazine

SEP 2018

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the leader September 2018 31 I t is widely accepted that buildings are getting smarter, but were they ever actually dumb? Or have they just been held back by closed proprietary systems and lack of collaboration, which has stymied innovation and new ways of thinking? To work in a smart building is now an expec- tation for many of our employees. It's probably why the smart-buildings industry, valued at $7.42 billion in 2017, is projected to reach $31.74 billion in value by 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 33.7 percent, according to a global forecast by business-to-business research firm, MarketsandMarkets. The smart-buildings market is definitely changing and with that is the emergence of a new wave of technologies and capabilities that will ensure that the workplace of the future enables us to be our most productive. This combination of exist- ing installed systems such as building manage- ment systems (BMS), metering systems, etc., and the Internet of Things (IOT) is fundamen- tally changing the way buildings are operated and the way end users engage with a building. When combined with cognitive computing and augmented intelligence (AI), this should mean that the older a building gets, the smarter it will become! This is obviously at odds with our current thinking, where only new buildings are being deemed as smart. So, just how smart could buildings get in the future? a nd, why should we care? Across its lifecycle, whether you're talking about an existing building or a new one, valuable data and information are constantly being gener- ated. This data is the golden thread that links all phases of the lifecycle together. In fact, this data and information make up the DNA of the build- ing's digital twin. Digital twins are an accurate digital representation of the physical asset, and they should be maintained to ensure their ac- curacy throughout the entire asset lifecycle. Why is this a good idea? In a CETCO Europe survey on construction trends for 2017, 25 per- cent of respondents said that "getting meaningful report data that helps me to make informed deci- sions" was their No. 1 technology concern. En- suring that good-quality data is passed from one lifecycle stage to another enables all stakeholders to be informed and will enable them to make changes and advancements in their products and services in the future. This, in turn, will drive innovation and change. What is possible today? Back to the discussion on buildings, what can we actually do today? In the operational/ in-use phase of a building's lifecycle, things are beginning to change. The service industry, in its current state, is commoditized. From the standpoint of the service-level agreement, a good service is simply expected and not viewed as a value-add by clients, so facility management providers are looking for new ways to add value for their clients and to attract new clients. In providing improved value-add, these companies have started to use data from assets to optimise the buildings they manage and to deliver condition-based and predictive maintenance. This combination of existing and new IOT data delivers value to their clients; however, it still focusses on the operational aspects of the build- ing. It enables tasks that are time-based to be delivered when they are required instead of to a schedule, thereby saving both time and money. How do we improve on this? How do we go beyond operations and allow this data to be use- ful and meaningful to all building users? In 2016, IBM research and six other institu- tions developed a uniform schema for represent- ing metadata in buildings; it was called Brick. This schema defines a concrete ontology for sen- sors and subsystems and the relationships among them, which enables portable applications ("Brick: Towards a Unified Metadata Schema for Buildings," BuildSys, 2016). What Brick actually provides is an infor- mation-exchange platform that is focused on commercial buildings, where interactions among devices and people are core to sophisticated applications. Using this schema, we have built a knowledge graph, specifically for buildings, which allows us to deploy analytics, AI and conversational concepts. The resultant capabilities allow for continuous learning about the building and how occupants use it. With this capability we are con- tinuously updating and ensuring that the digital twin of the building is accurate. End users, not only maintenance technicians, can use this data in their everyday roles. We can understand and predict energy use for each individual building, including its nuances, across an entire building portfolio. We can plan, predict and adapt space requirements and, in the future, allow employees to adapt their surroundings to their individual preferences. It enables employ- ees to identify free desks and meeting rooms, control the temperature of their space, find work colleagues, and so on. The utopian state for corporations is greater employee productivity and an ability to provide end users with a building and environment that ensures occupants can achieve maximum pro- ductivity throughout their day. This not only adds value to a business but can also be delivered in a cost-effective way with IoT. o utcomes So, let's circle back. By developing a digital twin for a building (by capturing data across its lifecycle) and ensuring that we standardize the ontology for the subsystems and the sensors (and define the relationships between them), we can use AI, which will then ensure that we develop a cognitive building. The insight gathered from such buildings will provide feedback to architects and designers, giving them accurate insight into how their designs really work in the operational/ in-use phase. We can provide data on what materials were used, where they were procured, and who installed them if a major adaptation to the physical asset is required. We can provide in-use performance information of insulation materials, windows, HVAC systems, and so on. We will con- stantly be learning about the building's behavior and performance to help quantify the true total cost of ownership. Most important of all, we can provide infor- mation to the people who use the buildings on a daily basis and help to make them more produc- tive, whatever their job. The building of the future – with both cognition and a digital twin – will help us to deliver better designs, superior construction, higher quality service, and to ensure a superior building-user experience – giving us the WOW factor we all desire! Dr. Claire Penny is the global industry leader for the Watson Internet of Things for Buildings at IBM. Digital twins are an accurate digital representation of the physical asset, and they should be maintained to ensure their accuracy throughout the entire asset lifecycle.

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