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Smart buildings - future workplaces designed by Microsoft, Schneider and Bentley Systems

10/04/2020
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Microsoft, Schneider Electric and Bentley Systems have collaborated on the development of a connected, artificially intelligent smart building that could set the blueprint for workplaces of the future.

Microsoft's Singapore headquarters was used as the basis for the virtual living blueprint of a futuristic smart office
(Image via Microsoft)

The collaboration is being proved in a “living blueprint” through a virtual duplication of Microsoft’s new regional headquarters in Singapore’s Frasers Tower. The office has been kitted out with over 179 bluetooth beacons and 900 sensors monitoring lighting, air quality and temperature. This creates nearly 2,100 data points sending information to the cloud on Microsoft Azure to intelligently control the internal environment - from adjusting optimal lighting to air conditioning to optimisation of space. 

It also monitors and maximises energy efficiency throughout the building.

The company have been excited about the potential of this system, even as many people who have been tied to working with Microsoft Teams for the last couple of weeks may remain sceptical. 

Sensors throughout the building provide data that can be managed by Microsoft systems
(Image via Microsoft)

“The workplace of the future is about embracing innovation into the very fabric of our space, so that we create multiple touchpoints of connectivity, are intentionally inclusive and accessible, while being very mindful of sustainability and the environment. At Frasers Tower in Singapore, we worked closely with Bentley Systems and Schneider Electric to implement sensors and telemetry to create a connected workplace, that allows us to adjust the space based on usage, therefore improving energy efficiency,” said Ricky Kapur, VP for Sales, Marketing and Operations for Microsoft in Asia Pacific.

The virtual office uses data from the sensors to create a spatial intelligence graph that measure every aspect of the way the office building is used by employees, allowing the three companies to develop intelligent systems that will benefit future workers. 

This can be in the form of maximising sustainability and efficiency by measuring relationships between people and devices or optimising the internal environment through facilities such as monitoring and reducing CO2 levels in the air or managing noise level and energy usage.

“Smart sensors allow us to collect meaningful data in real time, which enables us to optimize various aspects of our spaces, making them more comfortable, while reducing energy consumption in a sustainable and economical manner. Our partnership with Microsoft offers a real model on how connected devices combined with contextualized sensor processing can deliver smart building systems that do not intrude on the privacy of individuals, and can be applied beyond offices, to buildings, malls and even homes of the future,” shared Damien Dhellemmes, Cluster President, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Schneider Electric.

Real time data can be viewed and utilised by employees working within the smart building
(Image via Microsoft)

It also provides day-to-day smart benefits for workers.

Through Microsoft’s Smart Building CampusLink app, which is integrated with Outlook and Office 365, employees can control the conditions, lighting and requirements of facilities when making room books, determine real-time room occupancy or find directions around the building.

The digital twin of Microsoft's Singapore Headquarters allows the consortium to develop new technologies virtually without relying on installation of infrastructure
(Image via Microsoft)

The digital blueprint allows the three companies to gather data and test their systems long before physically introducing it into the building itself. It allows more advanced processes to be developed without the cost and infrastructure of installation - pushing what can be accomplished further than ever before. 

Aside from the advances promised by the “smart buildings”, virtual living blueprints alone set a standard for the future that is intelligent, sustainable and innovative. 

“Digital twins are redefining how we manage infrastructure, from individual equipment installations to large facilities and entire cities. While smart buildings were developed to better manage energy consumption, we have come to realize additional strategic roles of dynamically allocating space, increasing utilization, reducing costs, improving competitiveness, and enhancing collaboration and productivity. With Bentley’s OpenCities Planner and Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and Power BI, we have developed a virtual digital twin model of their regional headquarters in Singapore, correlating the data collected across the digital and physical worlds to build domain-specific solutions and unlock new efficiencies, improvements, and opportunities for the modern workplace,” said Kaushik Chakraborty, vice president and regional executive for Asia South at Bentley Systems.

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Smart buildings - future workplaces designed by Microsoft, Schneider and Bentley Systems - Time to read 4 min
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