June 20, 2017

Everything is Connected – Reflections from IBCON 2017 San Diego

Patrik Etelävuori

Head of Concepts and Innovations - Facilities, Tieto

“The planetary-scale computer fed by a trillion sensors will drive a global industrial internet”, Larry Smarr, Professor, University of California, San Diego. This is both overwhelming and exiting at the same time.

I had the privilege to attend Realcomm IBCON 2017, Intelligent Building conference in San Diego California. I have to say that the ambience and mind set in a typically “old-fashioned” real estate industry is changing with big steps now. The excitement of the new era is hand felt. The real estate industry is being disrupted big time, and everyone who wants to survive has to get on-board. 

If you want to keep your feet dry, connect everything with IoT

There are still many questions unanswered, and as many unasked but what seems to be clear is, if you want to keep your feet dry, connect everything with IoT. Figure out a service model which naturally goes for corporate working environments as well.

Matthew Toner, Managing Director, CBRE 

What is the common factor being that we as humans are always searching for ways to make life a bit easier for us. Now with the possibilities provided to us with new tech such as AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain, the real estate industry as well is starting to figure out how to utilise these and make everything more effective. Connecting all dot´s and figuring out what possibilities we have with new tech is on all the player’s agenda. End game being in developing smart cities and what everybody seems to be doing is piloting the tech in smaller environments. Take Qualcomm for example who has done major investments in their San Diego smart campus in order to understand the possibilities of IoT or rather IoE (Internet of Everything).  

Utilising the data is what gives intelligence to the Intelligent Building

The market is looking for a solution that gives the brains to the building, this is achieved basically with sensors, but that is not enough. We need to understand what to do with the data as well.

For now, we have to make sense out of the data collected ourselves, in the coming years this will be automated and suggestions for actions will be given to us through AI. Again, the more we are able to connect, the more relevant information we get from the “hive” that is learning from each other. Tesla is an excellent example, in the Tesla “hive” each and every car learn from eachother, the more cars on the road, the more intelligent the AI will get.

“Low hanging fruit is sensor data and machine learning. There is no excuse if you are not into that already”, Larry Smarr, Professor, University of California, San Diego.    

We humans as are extremely good sensors for sensing the current environment, but we can't be everywhere. To complete us and to be able to predict with deeper knowledge we have to connect with technology in a much faster pace and without boundaries.

Human centricity in all we do is not to be forgotten

New technologies provide extremely good tools to help us with our daily lives. Such as Tieto Intelligent Building solution, which is a great enabler in the Activity Based working environment, where you choose how and where to work based on your own activities. Human centricity in tech is having the right tools and sensors in place to make sense of the data and to help us in taking the correct actions. Connecting the data from the “building brain” is the key for making and intelligent building truly intelligent.

One big challenge is how to take different system siloes and piece it all together to make sense out of everything to make a holistic view of the environment. Qualcomm smart campus in San Diego has cracked this challenge, by connecting everything with IoT, even the outside solar panelled trashcans (which in the future smart cities will be wlan hotspots btw) has sensors to provide relevant information to the company picking up trash.

The water outlet for the fire department has a sensor to inform whether or not the system is functional, this saves up a lot of time for the county, as these maintenance checks have to be conducted systematically and all the time. 

Healthy Buildings build on employee wellbeing 

Finally, we are starting to hear even the real estate market talking about wellbeing and health, this drives the discussion towards human centricity where end users are the kings and queens.

The fact is that the essential bullshit detector of how a corporation values their employees is determined by their investment in space. This naturally puts some pressure on the building owners and landlords, as corporations start to expect that the wellness factors are aligned with agreements. The space itself actually works as a recruitment tool for attracting and keeping talents. 

Again, data and technology plays a big part in this as well, as we are able to validate the environments health through different methods, eg. biometrics with wearables. It delights me that Tieto Keilalahti Campus is a showcase also in employee wellbeing, and we were actually mentioned in a topic discussion in San Diego by the panellist Ken Sinclair, who is a renowned author in the field of smart/intelligent buildings. 

In a nutshell 

Solutions need to: 

  1. reduce cost
  2. increases speed
  3. saves time for employees 
  4. be transparent

Amazing user experiences: 

  1. www.wrld3d.com - Dynamic 3D mapping platform for smart cities and buildings
  2. www.sine.co - Intelligent Visitor and Contractor software 

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality, to change something build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” – Buckminster Fuller

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