Urbanization is a sanguine reality! Taking the task to transform and build modern cities resets modern yet sustainable techniques. Looking around at burnished skyscrapers evenly takes everybody’s head pan in conjunction. These ‘WOW’ buildings are now not just Architected by builders but Technologists. Using AI and IoT features in the building have transformed conventional building construction to the next level of imagination. From your main entrance integrated with a smart lock, rooms having smart lights, and your buildings knowing when and what is happening around you and sharing real-time data. These are a few examples compared to a hefty blueprint already set on tables by major companies to edify Smart Buildings. In technical words, a building that has technology-embedded software in the building is known as a smart building. Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, building management systems (BMS), artificial intelligence (AI), and augmented reality are a few of the mechanisms and robotics that may be used in a smart building to control and optimize its performance. Smart buildings make your space actionable where it allows the building owner or occupant to manage the space according to their convenience. The global smart building market is projected to grow from $80.62 billion in 2022 to $328.62 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 22.2% in the forecast period, 2022-2029. In our July Issue Cover Story – Gaurav Burman, VP & APAC President, 75F, India and Rohit Kochar, Founder, Executive Chairman and CEO, Bert Labs highlight the role of IoT in Smart Buildings. They also talk about the latest trends and challenges.
The role of IoT in Smart Buildings
IoT is one of the best technologies in today’s time for rapidly progressing smart buildings. By connecting disparate systems and enhancing overall building quality in a cost-effective manner, technology is contributing new value.
Gaurav highlights the following pointers;
- Easy BMS Upgrades: IoT sensors are the best alternative for a preconstructed building. They are easy to deploy and maintain. They can be simply installed across the building and help capture data related to distributed assets and diverse building functions.
- Improved Security: IoT building automation can greatly improve your building’s security. Because the entire building is linked with various IoT sensors and digital devices, the building is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Increased Utility Savings: One of the most significant benefits of deploying digital transformation solutions based on IoT in your building is the opportunity to save a significant amount of energy. The utilisation of real-time IoT sensors allows for on-demand equipment control, resulting in increased energy efficiency. These insights can be used by facility managers to develop counteractive plans to save energy.
- Facility Management: The job of the facility operator is made easier by creating smart buildings using IoT. The IoT sensors put at the building’s numerous endpoints collect data on humidity, temperature, static pressure, occupency. It provides further insight into the building’s performance. The facility manager can identify the building areas that use the most energy by analysing data acquired by IoT devices. This enables them to develop proactive measures to save energy, decrease costs, and add value to the building.
Whereas Rohit explains it in a different way, he says the foremost role of IoT is to capture, sense, pickup signals from different sources within a building – what Bert Maximus does as Bert Platform Solution. The data around utility systems which is, heating – ventilating – air-conditioning, where operational and health related data of Chillers, Cooling Tower, Air-Handling Units, VAVs/ VCDs, Dehumidifiers, Boilers is sensed, the security access and camera system, and live video feeds are captured. Additionally, real-time thermal and air-quality parameters are sensed within different zones, on floors and in blocks.
Besides, the data captured is real-time transmitted to a centralised local server or a remote server for further data management, data processing, data analytics, data real-time computation for the desired objectives
to be achieved as a part of smart building concept. Objectives, which are sustainability driven, zero-carbon, carbon-neutrality driven, safety aspect of a building, and human productivity for people working in the building, added Rohit.
By 2026, the number of sensors deployed in smart buildings will exceed one billion, says a report. While focusing on the same, Gaurav says buildings play an important role in our transition to a lower-carbon future. They account for around 40% of global energy consumption and one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. A building that is energy efficient will have cheaper energy, water, and maintenance expenditures. This expected surge in the number of sensors deployed in smart buildings will consequently result in the deployment of more
AI, thus enabling building operators with additional data. We feel this data can help building operators in coming up with better strategies to curtail energy costs by ensuring optimum utilisation of energy. To begin with, capturing varied data points from diverse sources is fundamental and therefore is a must, says Rohit. He said, keeping the end business objective in mind, one would desire data points, for the Artificial Intelligence (AI) models to real-time learn, and compute control commands, and controls to be executed, sensors and IoT devices will be deployed. However, after a while, the AI models, have learnt enough, have captured data patterns exhaustively, gradually the role of sensors and data loggers will diminish, helping smart buildings to run with high ROI.
Innovations & Trends in Smart Buildings Sector
Gaurav highlights the topic which he feels the latest innovation and trends in smart building sector;
1. Adaptable workspaces – In the post-pandemic age, many offices are adopting hybrid or flexible office models in which employees come to work only two or three days per week and work from home on the other days. There is also a trend toward renting coworking spaces rather than leasing a dedicated office space, which reduces operational costs and allows for a more flexible workweek by allowing workers to work outside of the space and at times that are most convenient for them.
2. Sustainable building infrastructure – As people become more aware of the need to conserve resources, building managers are investing in energy-saving solutions. More biodegradable materials, building designs that take advantage of natural light and air, increased recycling, and HVAC system optimization for optimal efficiency.
3. Data-driven building management- Facility managers are recognising the critical role that data plays in influencing decisions about building renovations, maintenance, and usage. Data on room utilisation by hour and day, for example, can help schedule maintenance visits for when the rooms are vacant, reducing contact.
4. Integrated management – With work-from-home becoming more common in the business world, managers are seeing the value of a single, remotely-controlled dashboard that aggregates data input and allows for the immediate deployment of changes. Temperature, lighting, humidity, UV sanitization, and auto-alerts can all be controlled by a single system that managers can access from anywhere.
Rohit says, building are homogeneous in nature lies in making heterogenous where the requirement of every user is met, from thermal and air quality perspective, therefore, real-time sensing, real-time learning, and real-times control are being executed at a very granular level, is the focus.
The most challenging part, in execution of the above, is real-time determining the heat or cooling load on the building in different zones. This to be done, by very accurately capturing, several parameters like occupancy, people, servers/ laptops/ computers, ambient temperature, clothing of the people, and machines/ equipment, which goes into accurately determining the load on the building.
Therefore, the innovation lies in having a technology solution, which accurately real-time captures, the above data points. And having an algorithm which accurately finds the co-relations between the heatload factors and all the parameters which cater to the heat-load, on the Utility / HVAC side, where, the technology solution as to control, these mechanical equipment in a way, which caters to the heterogenous requirement of a homogenous building, while bringing down the cost, he added.
Does India have Potential for Smart Sustainable Buildings?
By deciding to invest in sustainability, India has the possibility to move quickly and successfully overtake other markets. This includes reducing reliance on fossil fuels and shifting toward renewables, says Gaurav. The construction business is quickly changing as a result of energy-efficient structures and an emphasis on green building materials. India is expected to become the world’s third-largest building market by 2025. The industry must be technologically adaptable while simultaneously constructing a sustainable future, he added.
Digitization gives companies access to data that can be evaluated and acted on to increase efficiency, which helps them advance toward sustainability goals. The combination of data and smart analytics provides preventive maintenance and management solutions that save energy and money while also lowering carbon emissions.
Buildings consume 40% of worldwide energy consumption, with India accounting for 34% (UNDP 2015). With the introduction of the Smart Cities Mission in 2015, an increasing number of cities are being covered in order to make them smart and connected. As cities become smarter, homes have already evolved into “smart homes,” with IoT at the lead. Smart and sustainable ecosystems are the future, whether at home, in cities, or in commercial buildings.
While highlighting his recent addition Gaurav explains, HyperStat is a cost-effective one-stop solution for WELL Building Standard support since it detects temperature, humidity, CO2, occupancy, light, sound, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and optional particle matter.
Our comprehensive smart sensor portfolio provides building owners with the power of IoT-connected devices for optimal efficiency and comfort in critical areas. It continuously monitors the building and equipment and gives data and visibility to increase efficiency, comfort, productivity, and well-being.
75F’s Epidemic ModeTM is a one-of-a-kind set of operations designed to keep 75F customers healthy and safe indoors during a global epidemic. This application applies federal and scientific principles to each individual piece of HVAC equipment in a building based on its capacity and weather conditions, and it is also suitable for areas with partial or reduced occupancy. The solution combines recommendations such as improving outside air ventilation and flushing indoor air both before and after occupancy hours via two new application profiles, Smart Enhanced VentilationTM and Smart PurgeTM. Both are completely free and ready to use right away – no programming is required. As government recommendations change, the application updates in the cloud to use the most recent strategies for reducing risk. Furthermore, 75F customers can use Facilisight, 75F’s building intelligence suite of online and mobile apps, to remotely turn Epidemic Mode on or off and customise its operation.
The next gen of innovation to the world is and must come from India, including, in smart sustainable buildings, whether it is in design, architecture, developments, of sensors/ controllers, wireless networks, Big Data software lake, AI algorithms, like a) Bert Maximus Platform, b)Bert Qrious Platform, c) Bert Nova Platform, d) Bert Optimus Platform, emphasized Rohit.
The Bert Platform Solution is AI–IoT powered, 360 degree, fully automated, integrated Control solution, where Bert Maximus – Bert Qrious – Bert Nova – Bert Optimus works seamlessly with each other.
1. Bert Maximus is suite of 7 proprietary, patented IoT devices, which gives Bert Platform Solution the ability to real time sense and control
2. Bert Qrious is proprietary, patented IoT powered Wireless Sensor Network, with several salient features, like data security and remote software updates. Bert Qrious gives The Platform Solution the ability to real time transmit data.
3. Bert Nova is proprietary, patented Distributed Computing, Microservices Platform, which gives Bert Platform Solution the ability to store Big Data, Process Data and real time compute on Data from public Cloud (Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud), on-premise server, Edge Device (Bert Aksh).
4. Bert Optimus is the brain of The Bert Platform Solution, where we’ve built proprietary, patented Multi-Agent Deep Learning & Reinforcement Learning Hierarchical Platform, for real time computation and control commands to be sent to Bert Qrious – Bert Maximus, to actuate controls at Process Line/Utility Equipment & Machines, to bring 1. 40%+ Energy Efficiency Improvement for manufacturing plants and commercial buildings, 2. 3%+ Production Efficiency in Process Lines, 3. Improvement in life of Process Equipment by 2 years, 4. Supply Chain Planning and in-bound & out-bound logistics Efficiency resulting in 5% reduction in freight.
Bert Platform Solution is being supplied, installed, and commissioned at the following Client factories, manufacturing plants, R&D facilities and buildings in Chemical, Cement, Automobile, White Goods, FMCG, Pharmaceuticals. The contractual agreements have built in clause for scale up to multiple plants in India & Global.
Challenges and Scopes
Rohit says, the primary objective of IoT to bring down the cost of building operations, followed by enhancing people productivity. Therefore, the scope can’t be constrained with numbers. The scope is infinite, where, a) Pharma clean room, improving on their energy efficiency, improving their product quality, improving their adherence to FDA compliances, b) Office complexes, improving on people productivity and reducing the energy cost, c) At airports, improving the experiences of customers/travellers using airport services to reducing the cost of running the airport from the energy perspective and asset management perspective, d) In hospitals, improving the health of the patients to higher ROI of setting-up and running hospital operations, e) Improving the experiences of patrons at hotels and reducing the cost of running hotel operations, and the list goes on.
The challenges are from regulators are;
• Governments do not have IoT guidelines
• Data security
• Integration between different technologies as part of system integration both at hardware and software levels
Gaurav says, buildings are increasingly embracing smart technologies to create a connected and futuristic experience. This is followed by the widely held assumption that smart facilities must be developed from the ground up, as turning existing structures into smart facilities is difficult and inefficient. In contrast to this idea, facility managers can easily be aided in changing traditional buildings into smart buildings if a planned strategy and the proper technology platform are applied. Any building can become a smart infrastructure with more effective and sustainable operations with the help of a technological platform that blends mobility, cloud, and IoT.\
By allowing for increased productivity, fewer operating expenses, and greater planning prospects, a smart building investment eventually pays for itself. However, these advantages do not materialize overnight. To adopt the IoT and comprehend precisely, how to benefit from a smart building, it takes time, money, and understanding.