Viewing our buildings differently for what they offer

Image Credit:, Gaurav Burman

In an extraordinary time of being “locked down,” we appreciate the safe haven we call home, the office, or the working environment. We are expecting it to be a safe environment for us to continue to operate and provide us the comfort and protection we are all looking for.

Having intelligent connected structures is playing an increasing role in our lives, in the mission of your organization, in your loved one’s daily lives; in offices, in our building like hospitals, in government offices, in research labs or schools, and most importantly in our homes.

We often do not recognize everything that goes int our building to deliver an optimal or suitable space for us to be productive. We assume it is there, working and functioning as required. It is when something goes wrong, we begin to notice. It is when we have time to stop and look around we begin to wonder how we can improve our environments. There is a lot we can do, and as we learn to work increasingly “at a distance.”

Our buildings today have the potential to be fully connected-up digitally, controlled, and managed in the background, working away “quietly,” functioning, efficiently, and effectively. To get to this point, it needs constant monitoring and managing. Our building in the present and future need investing in.

We need to view buildings differently

We often do not stop and think about what is actually around us. It is when you appreciate an environment that has fire protection, climate control, proper ventilation, lighting, continually adjusting in heating and cooling, knowing physical security, life safety and many “simply accepted” building systems ‘quietly’ working away, all in the background, you realize it has such an impact on your daily life when you need it.

I call that quiet management, hidden in plain sight. The Intel processor story comes to mind here. It became synonymous with your computer as the central core processor that enabled your computer to work, it was essential and expected to work each time you turned your computer on.

A building needs the same central core processor reliant on technology. The core need is no different from the Intel processor, to needs to be efficient, available on-demand, sustainable, and in the case of buildings, liveable and attractive, and all that takes hard, sustained focused work.

Real estate is one of the most significant expenses we all encounter in our lives.

Real estate can be the biggest single asset for investment and highly valuable to maintain. In our building today, we are putting 40% of our global energy demand. When you also realize cities are consuming 75% plus of all global energy resources and contributing 80% to global emissions then managing the infrastructure and assets becomes critical to reduce the impact this is having on our planet.

In the past, real estate management had been regarded as sunk costs, expensed, where yield dominated decisions once it was up and functioning. Today through the change to smart connected buildings, it is seen as a real asset that continues to build value through the enhancement of its function ability and appeal.

The energy design of the building certainly needs to be optimized; the assets and resources more effectively utilized. We need to provide the essential aspects of a comfortable indoor environment that works consistently, delivering to the tenant’s needs. We need this enhanced environment for the tenant, and the landlord and also for those investing.

It is having the partnership within the services, a building provides a safe, secure and well-run facility that provides a “productive” environment. The combination of physical and digital within smart-building solutions enables the ability to deliver valuable services that “enhances” productivity and effectiveness, for those working and reliant on having a place to work.

By collecting and evaluating smart data gives us the source to build a central command center to manage the facility. This command center becomes much like the central nervous systems (data centers) where it can sense and respond. It can plan, predict and anticipate, as well as to balance and reconcile competing interests and demands placed on our buildings. The emphasis is on ensuring uptime, reliability, optimizing the environment to allow for an efficient and productive environment for all involved.

Extracting Value by deploying Smart Technology

To deliver smart infrastructure into buildings needs robust, reliable technology. It is through the combinations of utilizing advanced technology solutions that we obtain the intelligence from its digitalization. Smart Infrastructure of buildings have the solutions and the tools to do the job of managing energy, water, air, heating, cooling and security, movement and utilization that each building is expected to provide in its management.

To achieve what we need out of our working environment, we increasingly recognize the operating environment needs to be fully connected-up, to provide the service we need. As a building and equally city infrastructure become more intelligent, the benefits begin to be realized, not just for those working within the environment but for those investing in a property or infrastructure solutions, as giving both immediate impact and long-term value.

Infrastructure needs to be viewed differently than the past

Investments in infrastructure, like smart buildings, need to become more central to any vision of being smart within cities; through technology solutions that give us momentum towards sustainability and opportunity.

Being smart connects us as individuals into our place, it enables us to make a greater ‘productive’ contribution by being more aware of our environment. Future connected buildings help make us part of something intelligent, the places we live and work where we can shape and influence a better creative future in different ways. We move from being isolated to being part of a community.

Recognizing that intelligence is one increasingly based on information infrastructure, that is informing and delivering a different, more efficient environment through the solutions available or emerging is offering a different future to live and work within.

These are smart infrastructure solutions that are transforming our world.




Author: @paul4innovating

A transition advocate for innovation, ecosystems, and digitalization for the energy and IIoT systems

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