Artificial Intelligence: What Buildings of the Future can – and must – achieve

Klaus Dederichs

No Intelligence without a Brain

To generate maximum added value with the aid of advanced technology, what is needed is an integrated system that networks all the technical equipment in the building while controlling defined processes. There is no advantage to be gained from using sensors just to obtain big data. It is only by analyzing and using that data that a company can generate added value. Buildings currently do not achieve this, because they only have building automation and building control systems which link certain hardware systems with each other. This approach does not allow for process control. But incorporating a type of ‘brain’ into the building’s systems can change this. As a self-learning system, the ‘brain’ can initiate the optimization of existing processes, or even optimize them autonomously. Examples include the setting up of a streamlined access control system or an intelligent waste disposal concept, or the management of mobility and parking spaces.

A smart commercial building brings together planning, building and user data. This enables it to respond rapidly to current conditions: for instance, free work stations or rooms are displayed in an app as you enter a building; the ventilation adjusts to the number of visitors and the CO2 content; appropriately arranged tracking systems reveal the paths people take within the building and allow, for instance, better organized cleaning.

Digitization offers enormous potential for optimization: it can make processes visible, improve them and even create new business models. Companies can benefit from the new technologies both in the planning of buildings and in their maintenance and operation – provided that they tackle digitization issues in the early planning phase.