But What About AI Smart Buildings?

7 min read

The Importance of IoT-Enabled Structures in Smart Buildings

People have always sought to make sense of the environment and utilize resources to enhance their safety, comfort, and well-being.

It is no different in the growing world of IoT and the evolution of how brick-and-mortar buildings are moving from solely providing shelter to having increasingly complex “intelligent” systems. These smart buildings can evaluate the surroundings for the ultimate comfort and safety of their inhabitants.

We are all familiar with current systems installed in many buildings — automated doors, thermostats, smoke detectors, security motion sensors, and the like. These conveniences make our surroundings more comfortable, but that is where their usefulness ends.

Your “Thinking” Space

Increasingly sophisticated systems will enable buildings to “think” for themselves.

They could learn to infer outcomes and insights from the collected data of these technologies and not only predict, but diagnose issues. The fact is that we live in spaces that have a great impact on our safety, productivity, and security.

Sensors of a variety of types serve to augment human perception and bring to light forces and phenomena that we would otherwise remain unaware of.

The availability of inexpensive sensors means that many types of measurements can now be made over large areas, while maintaining precision from multiple readings.

These sensors enable us to measure all sorts of “fields” in areas where we live, work and play.

And knowing more about the environment in this way — gleaning information on fields and how they interact with each other, looking at phenomena or measurements that pertain to our safety, or to the efficient functioning of our environmental systems, for example, can provide us with useful insights to drive action.

The sensors are all sources to generate deep and meaningful insights about what is going on inside a facility from maintenance, power management, security, and utilization perspectives.

All of this data can be fused together to furnish significant insights. Advanced big data analysis and AI security techniques can be used to create an invisible digital shield around zones in the building or a facility as a whole.

Proactive Environments

Smart buildings are poised to become a fascinating juncture where, for the first time, structures will not only serve as passive dwellings, but will become proactive participants in enabling security, comfort and productivity for their inhabitants.

The means to achieve this leap in capability will be the combination of the following:

  1. Advanced sensors and IoT technology, which will allow the building to gauge its environment, learn about its users and monitor itself.
  2. Artificial intelligence-based cognitive capabilities that will form the core of a smart building’s “mind,” enabling pattern identification, anomaly detection, state recognition, continuous learning, speech and language understanding, planning, and more.
  3. Actuation systems that will allow decisions informed by sensors and made by AI algorithms to actually be acted upon and implemented in a physical sense.

While it is possible to retrofit older structures with this type of capability, as with all significant refits, costs will be high and the entire spectrum of use will not be available as “upgrades.”

Therefore, it is the right time for architects, engineers, owners and planners to start thinking about how they can create smart spaces from the ground up.

Future buildings will be as much about AI, IoT, and advanced automation as they will be about steel, concrete and glass.

And perhaps their most distinguishing characteristics will emerge from their intellect, and not just their looks.

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