Digitisation for buildings

Digitalised properties of the future offer limitless possibilities.

Anyone who owns a car knows how frustrating it feels to have it serviced after a certain number of kilometres, even if there is nothing wrong with it. It makes you think about all the faults the repair shop may discover and how much it will cost to fix them. It’s even more costly and taxing on the nerves if the engine suddenly fails during your summer holiday. 


Things will probably be different in the future. The use of digital technologies will make it possible, for example, for sensors in new cars to collect data to be analysed, used for machine learning and compared to the data collected by other sensors. This will mark a shift from preventive maintenance to need-based preventive maintenance. The repair shop will even be able to order the necessary spare parts proactively, which will save time and money, while also improving service quality. 


These principles also apply to the real estate sector. 


Building automation systems – from archiving to predicting

Digitisation offers immense opportunities to the real estate sector, providing there is the expertise to make efficient use of them. Building automation systems usually includes all the sensors necessary for the intelligent control of the property and its technical building systems. 


At the moment, building automation systems are stuck in the past, meaning that the operations of the system are adjusted based on the measured values in order to ensure that the design boundary values are achieved. However, things should work the other way round, with the system predicting the future! Properties can be guided to respond to changes in their operation and the environment based on accumulated data and measurements. This guarantees an optimal indoor climate without compromising energy efficiency. 


Traditional remote monitoring, where an expert checks and optimises building automation system processes, is largely carried out manually. Such an examination lacks the many opportunities offered by digitisation, as well as the analysis of large quantities of data. An expert should be able to focus on determining the boundary values, while the system detects shortcomings by combining data with measured values.


Intelligent properties make use of data 

Digitalised properties of the future offer limitless possibilities. 


Past energy consumption, measured building automation values, weather forecasts and access control data are just some of the factors that could be used effectively to optimise the operating times and settings values of property systems. As a result, the system would be ready to respond to sub-zero temperatures, heat waves and other exceptional events in the most energy-efficient way possible. In the best case scenario, the system would automatically adjust the process based on analysed data and inform the experts about the changes and their justification.


With the equipment data of properties up to date, any faults could be located immediately, based on electronic layouts. The employees assigned to resolve the case would be able to bring along the required components and tools. The maintenance backlog would no longer be determined based on the technical useful life of equipment and systems alone, but also on measured values, which could be compared to the values measured for the devices in the property and other locations, as well as the values provided by the manufacturer. The equipment and its installation could be proactively subjected to bidding, as all of the required data would be available in electronic format. 


This means that the business model of the entire sector would change in response to a digital era that would allow the data generated by a property to be used in new ways. If you are interested in making use of the data generated by properties, register for the Intelligent Property Management event. I will be one of the speakers there.

Juho Siitonen

The writer is CTO at Are. His definition of intelligent properties also includes a hot sauna by a lake in the summer.

internet of buildings
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