Envision returning to work soon, to a Smart Healthy Building and using an app on your smartphone to open the door, hands-free. Artificial Intelligence (AI) recognizes you as having authorized access to the building, selects your floor on the evaluator and has adjusted your temperature, lighting, window shades and music preferences for your office. It knows your coffee preferences and has one waiting for you at the lobby café.
Even before arriving, you take comfort in the fact that the buildings AI has been constantly monitoring the air quality to make sure it is fresh and virus free with UV sterilization. While you were home sleeping, it dispatched UV sterilization robots to clean conference rooms, bathrooms, common spaces and shared hoteling stations. AI continues to monitor and make real time adjustments throughout the day analyzing data from devices and sensors embedded in doors, windows, chairs, meeting room ceilings, dispensers, and air conditioning systems coupled with outside temperature, sunlight positioning, and office occupancy information.
Building management and automation systems are making continuous air quality, energy and cost efficiency adjustments to maximize comfort and costs. AI is also working behind the scenes using immediate data to monitor pressure values, water, gas, and other liquids for level management and potential leak detection.
Artificial Intelligence is the term used to describe a machine mimicking human cognitive functions such as problem-solving, pattern recognition, and learning. Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL) are subsets of AI that use statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to learn from data, without being programmed. The AI system continually gets better at providing insights through its exposure to more and more data.
Data and lots of it, therefore, is the magical key behind AI and begins with the massive implementation and connection of Internet of Things (IoT) devices within buildings. Smart sensors for temperature, humidity and C02, cameras, actuators, digital twin technology and shared information will feed AI through ML and DL. Data generated by these sources connect different building components and allow them to interact with each other allowing truly “Smart Healthy Buildings” to ensure improved operational reliability and minimal harmful environmental impacts.
As the world’s workers prepare to return to their offices after this pandemic, they will expect to return to a healthy and safe environment. Building occupants will demand more control of their entire building experience with touch-free access, clean and well-filtered air, space and occupancy management, and the implementation of new technologies that enhance their overall Quality of Experience (QoE.) Artificial intelligence (AI) will be integrated with building systems and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to improve occupant experience, increase operational efficiency, and optimize space and asset utilization.
Soon AI will be everywhere. Individuals will have AI assistants that monitor their activities from work, shopping, eating, to interactions with others, what we read and the questions we ask. Your AI assistant will also work in concert with your wearable device to keep a constant watch on your vitals and your health. If you become sick, your boss will be automatically notified you have a fever and per the company policy, you will remain home. With this elevated temperature, the AI notifies your doctor and provides a copy of your vitals from the last 48 hours for diagnosis. Your bosses’ AI is notified that you will be unavailable and adjusts your calendars accordingly.
The building’s AI screens for security and health regularly and learns that you have a meeting guest arriving today. Your AI assistant has passed the guest’s AI credentials to the building AI. The building AI registers the guest for a four-hour period of access to the building and obtains a list of the guest’s preferences for beverages, lunch, lighting and temperature settings. It also verifies that the guest has a green light on health guidelines and is cleared to enter the building.
Upon arrival the guest is given hands free access to the doors, elevators and turn by turn directions to the conference room. The building AI coordinates with the guest’s AI to give his phone and laptop access to the guest Wi-Fi and control of the conference room AV systems. You are notified that your guest has arrived, and your AI pulls up your guest’s bio, company overview, meeting agenda and talks you through it on the way to the conference room.
With 10 minutes remaining in the meeting, the room lights flash to let everyone know the meeting is almost over. This allows the team to schedule a follow up meeting which will include your boss. All the participant’s AI assistants coordinate and schedule the next meeting automatically. As you leave the meeting, the building AI sends in a UV sanitization robot which does a sweep of the room in between meetings. As you head back to your office, a swipe of your phone on the vending machine dispenses your favorite lemon-lime soda water. You smile knowing your AI assistant has coordinated with your office to reset the lights, temperature and shading which had been turned off to conserve energy while you were in the meeting.
As you are leaving the building, your AI assistant starts your Tesla and self-drives it to meet you at the front entrance. Upon entry, you’re given a choice to listen to your station list or finish the podcast you started in the morning. You choose an easy listening station so that you may take a nap to be refreshed when you arrive to your son’s music recital. Navigation directions have already been downloaded to the vehicle.
That evening, the building’s AI is monitoring tomorrow’s weather and determines a cold front moving in may cause a 20-degree temperature change. Using the building’s AI digital twin (an exact virtual representation of the building) capability, a thousand scenarios of tomorrow’s weather are run and systems are automatically optimized. Simultaneously, the building AI notices that several motor belts have reached end of life, orders replacements and then schedules a building engineer to swap out the belts.
Artificial Intelligence will become ubiquitous throughout our lives and will affect where/how we work, live and interact with people, places and things. Buildings are no different and must become “Smart” in order to compete in the new world commercial real estate economy.