Accelerating Smart Building Solutions with Cloud, AI and IoT
Throughout our Internet of Things (IoT) journey we’ve seen solutions evolve from device-centric models, to spatially-aware solutions that provide real-world context. Last year, at Realcomm | IBcon 2018 we announced Azure IoT’s vision for spatial intelligence, diving into scenarios that uniquely join IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and productivity tools.
Since then, we’ve progressed this vision by introducing new services designed to help enterprise customers across industries optimize the management of their spaces. Across Azure, Dynamics and Office, Microsoft continues to accelerate results from a growing and diverse set of partners creating smart building solutions on our enterprise platform.
This year, we attended the Realcomm | IBcon conference with over 30 partners who have delivered innovative solutions using our spatial intelligence and device security services to provide safety to construction sites, operate buildings more efficiently, utilize space more effectively, and boost occupant productivity and satisfaction. These smart building partners are accelerating digital transformation in their industries.
IoT is an invaluable part of the smart building lifecycle, even before the building comes to fruition. PCL Construction has embraced digital transformation in the construction industry with its Job Site Insights application. Job Site Insights sources its data from a variety of IoT sensors in the field, models that data in the context of the physical world using Azure Digital Twins, and then visualizes and interacts with that data through tools and canvases such as Azure Maps, Microsoft Office 365, and PowerBI. By gathering and analyzing IoT data, PCL is improving its processes to increase quality, safety, efficiency, and productivity while positioning itself as a future-ready builder.
Building operators are reducing their costs and increasing their margins by enabling digital feedback loops which power predictive maintenance, process efficiency, and more. We’ve enabled partners to integrate their solutions to solve the needs of building operators throughout the industry.
ICONICS provides automation software solutions that visualize, historize, analyze, and mobilize real-time information. It uses a variety of Azure IoT services to ingest data from building equipment and environmental sensors, which are presented to facilities operators and managers as dashboards and can be used to alert technicians through Dynamics 365 Field Service if problems such as clogged air filters or burst pipes need to be solved.
ICONICS’ data is also used by other Microsoft partners including Willow, whose WillowTwin(TM) platform uses Azure Digital Twins to integrate, analyze and manage data at scale, delivering insights to improve the performance and experience of buildings and infrastructure networks. These insights can be used for many essential scenarios, including using machine learning to run safety simulations to determine the best evacuation route, and modifying digital signage in real time to guide people to appropriate exits. WillowTwin is commonly leveraged to manage energy utilization, hand over buildings from construction to building operator, analyze building performance across an entire portfolio, and manage fault detection and maintenance.
MacDonald-Miller, a facilities management company with mechanical engineers, electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians, uses Dynamics 365 Field service to manage and dispatch field technicians while running the integrated ICONICS and Willow solutions in their own Azure subscription to provide services for daily operations.
In the field, technicians can use RealWear HMT-1 hands-free industrial wearable displays that attach to their hard hats and allow them to see all the telemetry, faults, and work orders in real time while working on a piece of equipment. Operators can also use voice commands to request more information, start calls through Microsoft Teams, and to dictate notes as they work.
Infosys offers next-generation digital services and consulting of smart building solutions using Microsoft offerings. Its SCALE (Sustainable, Connected, Affordable, Learning (Systems), Experiential) framework helps assess, design, implement and manage smart buildings, leveraging data and insights from connected assets. These insights help with energy efficiency management, improved asset security/surveillance, enhanced end user experience, improved building operations, predictive maintenance, and significantly reduced operational costs.
Building owners, operators, and occupants alike have a vested interest in physical space management in smart offices. Many offices in the United States have open floor plans to spur collaboration, while hotdesking and coworking spaces are becoming increasingly common as workers are becoming more mobile. Microsoft’s partners are helping their stakeholders optimize space usage since unused space wastes rent and increases utility and maintenance costs.
Steelcase specializes in architecture, furniture and technology products and services designed to help people reach their full potential. The company uses Azure Digital Twins as the foundation for its Steelcase Workplace Advisor app, which collects space utilization data and transforms it into actionable insights for a more effective workplace. More recently, Steelcase complemented the same Azure IoT backbone with Microsoft Graph integration to create Steelcase Find, which gives occupants quick access to the best workspaces across their organization so they can spend less time searching and more time collaborating.
Building occupants desire engaging spaces which can power personalized experiences and higher productivity. Smart buildings are a driver for talent and recruiting, and a catalyst for employee productivity.
CBRE strives to provide building owners and occupiers with ever-greater experiences and services. They introduced CBRE Host, a workforce empowerment platform that offers capabilities including room scheduling, service requests, and wayfinding to add delight and efficiency to employees’ lives. Simultaneously, facility managers can deliver more timely maintenance, and owners/investors gain insight into space and service utilization.
CBRE Host is powered by Azure Digital Twins and the Microsoft Graph. While remaining agnostic on sensor connections, key shared partners Rigado and Yanzi Networks accelerate Host deployment through their turnkey packages for gateways, access points, occupancy+comfort sensors, and device management capabilities built on the Azure IoT platform. As Host evolves, key tests underway include integrating Azure Spatial Anchors, a mixed reality service that enables employees, guests, and building managers to use a smartphone, tablet, or HoloLens to find and activate virtual anchors in their environment to populate real-time data in the context of the physical world.
Sagegreenlife designs living walls that bring the benefits and beauty of nature into man-made spaces. The company needed a way to remotely monitor their irrigation systems and ensure optimal plant wall performance but didn’t have the developer expertise in-house, so they turned to Microsoft and Cradlepoint for help. Today, Sagegreenlife uses Azure IoT Central and Cradlepoint LTE network solutions to detect and resolve issues before they affect plant health. With this IoT solution, Sagegreenlife can provide an exceptional customer experience, deliver new insights across the organization, and scale its business on a highly secure, easy-to-use, customizable platform.
Throughout the world’s commercial real estate properties, there are millions of microcontroller-based BACnet devices enabling scenarios that control building systems. While there are significant efforts being made to secure the BACnet messaging protocol, the devices themselves frequently lack sufficient security to ensure they are not vulnerable to being taken over or spoofed, which could lead to unexpected behavior on a building’s network. L&T Technology Services has partnered with the Azure Sphere team to build a guardian module implementation that can protect BACnet devices while translating the messaging protocol into MQTT messages that can be ingested by Azure IoT Hub and IoT Central. With the capabilities that L&T is delivering, device manufacturers and building management organizations can retrofit the Seven Properties of Highly Secure Devices into their solutions.
We’re excited to see the accelerated innovation and momentum from partners over the last year as we’ve continued to provide tools to enable developers to create digital feedback loops for building owners, operators, and occupants. Microsoft will continue to empower our partners to deliver smart building solutions with powerful services and platforms to model and sense the physical world, derive insights from spatial data, and create innovative experiences. Download the whitepaper: Creating Intelligent Spaces – Five strategies to accelerate smart building transformation.
For the full list of Microsoft partners and original published blog, click here.
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UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
REAL ESTATE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT - Insight, Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and More - 2/4/2020
Data runs almost every aspect of our lives. Making good business decisions as a real estate organization, whether on a small scale or for an enterprise-wide initiative, requires an ever-deeper understanding of individual assets, portfolios and shifting markets. In order to gain this level of information insight in today's complex, connected world, a sound data strategy based on a high-performance blend of business intelligence, analytics and data science, must be set. This webinar will review best practices on developing a comprehensive data architecture, the integration of internal and external data sources, advanced analytics, and how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can be applied to these processes. Case studies of Real Estate Companies who leverage data successfully to gain actionable insights will be presented.
Chuck Niswonger has over 30 years of successful leadership experience in technology-related roles that range from operating his own consulting company (www.nicenets.com) to directing the IT strategy of a real estate investment management firm to manufacturing and technology-enabled education. Chuck has also been the chair of the Realcomm Investment Management (IM) Advisory Council for the last ten years, managing content selection for the conference educational sessions, IM forums, workshops and webinars.
Julien Ragbeer is a Data Scientist/Engineer in the IT group of Oxford Properties. He is responsible for some of the machine learning based applications in production, analysis of data workflows and pipelines and proposing the use of scalable and innovative solutions that align with business needs. Julien is a proponent of open source software and initiatives.
Rudy Reagin is the Global Programme Lead for Deutsche Bank's Corporate Services. With more than thirty years of experience in IT, Rudy is currently responsible for the application architecture that supports lease administration, facilities management, space management, security operations, and a wide range of business services. In recent years, Rudy has driven a data warehousing and BI project that successfully integrates information from a range of sources to facilitate performance monitoring and decision support.
Kevin is the Chief Operating Officer of NavigatorCRE and oversees global enterprise engagement.Prior to joining Navigator, Kevin’s 16-year career includes positions at Deloitte, EY, and Morgan Stanley. Most recently he served as a Global Technology Strategy Lead at Deloitte, advising real estate developers, operators, and investors, with clients across 4 continents. Kevin is recognized as one of the leading commercial real estate tech executives in the industry and a noted speaker, author and blogger within the growing Proptech sector. He has spoken at conferences around the world on next generation real estate technologies like Machine Learning, Cognitive Automation, and Blockchain.
Andy Birch is an experienced business software professional with a unique blend of marketing, technical, industry, product and sales expertise. Proven success in delivering sales and marketing programs that achieve game-changing results. Particularly strong at taking complex issues and turning them into understandable value propositions for customers and partners.
With over 25 years industry experience, Brett Sample joined Tango in 2014 and has led the effort to design and create the company’s cutting-edge Space Management application. Prior to joining Tango, Brett worked for many of the major IWMS, CAFM and CMMS providers in the market and started SpacePlanFM. At SpacePlanFM Brett provided consulting, implementation and support to clients in over 40 countries and implemented over 200M Square Feet of Space, Facilities and Lease Management.