Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.
|What killed the Dinosaurs? The AI-age!
Is AI over hyped when it comes to the benefits that could be derived when using it correctly?The need for AI-first strategies.
"The Building Whisperer" https://twitter.com/BuildWhisperer
I will be
recording a session in 8 hours for a Siemens Global Conference talking about
building automation and how to go Beyond Buildings. We were discussing the need
to use technology to solve problems, and that we need to use tools of the time
to solve historic problems. Not only in the sense of the building automation
side of things, but also for collaboration purposes. Which is not that dramatic
since countries like Australia are locked in for the next 12 months, and we
could still use some of their amazing brain power in other places. Especially
when my counterpart for the Siemens panel discussion is no other than the
legendary Bryce Anderson.
So why continue to collaborate
with Word docs and PDFs, when people having could describe their challenges by
capturing their reality and invite experts to help them? Wherever they are. We
are utilizing this approach in an innovation project I am leading right now for
three schools in Sweden, and it helps to get stakeholders on the same page. The
3D-models act as a foundation for future IoT-visualizations. Making reality
come to life in a continuous way, forever.
that I also heard this week from a self-proclaimed AI-expert was that he was
continuously surprised that people in traditional industries (he was referring
to the automotive industry) were still researching what food horses should eat
to make them run faster. Not understanding that the tools of tomorrow are here
today, just lacking a bit of adoption. And companies should be more focused on
what Artificial Intelligence needs to feed on.
I agree that traditional industries could be better at leveraging modern tech?
Well, it depends.
It also depends.
overhyped as much as Digital Twins, IoT, and everything else to be honest as a
stand-alone saviour in otherwise traditional industries. I mean, come on. What
are the jobs to be done? how are they being solved now? and why haven’t
anything happened since… forever?
overhyped when it comes to the benefits that could be derived when using it
correctly? No, quite the opposite, of course. The domino effects of doing the
right things, and not just doing things right will have the effect of not only
making processes more efficient. But also eliminate the need for many due to a
completely different process altogether.
questions should not necessarily be what is wrong with any industry, or if
industries are behind. Or focusing too much of the problems that do exist.
Because the challenges vary, a lot. And the solutions vary, a lot. It is not
about technology, it’s more about the people, processes, culture, tools as well
as the decision makers that are in each region.
efforts are taking time. It is not for a lack of trying. It is for a lack of
understanding. Where most Digitalization experts outside the Real Estate
industry do not have a clue about buildings. And they think it is as easy as
taking data out and then do something with it, not understanding the need for
What I do
agree with is that we need to use modern tools, or we will be forever destined
to be stuck in the past. We are getting there with the help of a pandemic, and
it must be about profit as well as a planetary purpose in my mind. One big question
right now seems to be if the API-economy of buildings will help in making sense
of the data? Or just make it easier to get out, but potentially make it more
challenging in the long run?
about the dangers of the API economy 2,5 years ago, and it still holds
true for the most part in the sense that an API-economy might be the stepping stone
to more problems in the future. Maybe today more than ever. Other industries
are experiencing the problems with data lakes turned into data swamps and some
of the largest event-streaming initiatives have also missed out on the
meta-data tagging part. Failing to understand contextual relationships at
the phenomenal part is that companies and industries seem to utilize taxonomies
and ontologies more and more which should make it easier for everyone to
digitally onboard buildings faster. There are still challenges with industry
specific taxonomies and mapping data too early, too hard to something that cannot
scale across domains. But I believe we are on the right track.
And I am of
course proud of the Swedish wonder, REC – Real Estate Core, where representatives from my Alma
Mater have been instrumental in bringing it to the world (Jönköping University).
For the ones that have missed it, Microsoft have partnered up with;
(a Swedish consortium of real estate owners, software houses, and research
institutions) has delivered an open-source DTDL-based ontology (or set of
models) for the real estate industry, which provides common ground for
modelling smart buildings while leveraging industry standards (like BRICK
Schema, W3C Building Topology Ontology) to prevent reinvention.
This is a great start for owners to utilize the data for industry-specific applications within the realm of real estate. During one of the latest published episodes of the Beyond Buildings Podcast we discussed aspects of Ontologies and Taxonomies with the legends, Terry Herr, Joel Bender and the co-creator of Real Estate Core, Erik Wallin.
This image was something I scribbled down after
the discussion which was late 2020’s, and it has been updated since then. But
it shows somewhat that the initiatives back then focused on the real estate
realm, and quite a lot on the building automation side of things. Which is
great, but if you think about AI, it is also a lot about the context. And not
always the context you would immediately need.
phenomenal companies out there solving silo specific needs and that is exactly
how it should be. They solve foundational challenges for the energy side of
things, building automation, the proptech-angle, and in the realm of fire,
evac, audio/video, elevators, lighting, FM-services, and everything else that
has anything to do with buildings. There are always dangers of the thousand cuts problems, but it seems that we are getting
to a future the world desperately needs. But how do we capture meaning from all
these existing systems and turn them into fodder for AI?
How can we
make all of this come together?
One of the
most terrifying experiences when I was a kid was when I sat in our basement alone,
watching the movie Event Horizon almost 25 years ago. There is a segment in the
movie when they think a guy says, “liberate me”, which means set me free. It is
later corrected to libera te tutemet (ex inferis) "save yourself (from
what an AI-first mindset could help companies do, having learnt from other
industries that are stuck in API hell and what their challenges lie in
leveraging AI at scale. Data lakes could easily turn into data swamps if not
eat a lot of things but it certainly prefers quality data. Preferably seasoned
with some meta-data. This could come from existing systems, but also something
that most people tend to forget. People. People are still providing initial as
well as continuous contextual intelligence for systems and AI-initiatives,
adding their domain expertise in a continuous way. Where systems might be
fantastic in isolation, but when it comes to the real world, bringing systems and
people together is a challenge of its own. Most often because domain experts
have no idea how to communicate with each-other across domains, and the fact
that they do not necessarily know where boundaries stop and start. This takes
time that companies do not have, nor the planet.
not my friends. Remember that all the tools and technologies in the Building
Buzz cycle are available today. If there is a will (this might be the problem…)
there’s always a way!
what better way for explainable AI to be explained through that of Digital
My perspective of Digital
Twins, as well as AI, is that on part should be made for people. And the other
side for machines. We need to create a world for
humans, and machines. We got graph based-ways of working, taxonomies, ontologies, RDF vs LPG, and everything else that can help
in recording reality in the best way possible. What would that look like? And
what would the benefits be?
In the movie
Event Horizon which I talked about earlier we get an explanation of the
“What is the
shortest distance between two points?”
I will not spoil the movie for the ones who have not seen it, but that 2–3-minute segment has been with me for the last 20 years. And in traditional click-bait mannerisms, it is not what you think.
The shortest distance is if you can connect
both points in space and time. With the combination of real-time data, IoT,
virtual reality, taxonomies, we can define our reality and let anyone in the
world innovate with us. Not limited by space and time, where the Digital Twin
acts as a time-capsule.
could I get one of the leading Building Automation specialists is in Australia
to help me out in the best way possible? By utilizing the combination of modern
technologies, we finally have a way that will allow people, machines, AI, past,
present and future to coexist in the same space and time. What can we
understand then? What would this to for the skill shortage gap when we could
capture the knowledge of domain experts, and that of industry guidelines into a
digital twin? This could also be used for education purposes, and not only
capture knowledge, but much more easily transfer knowledge from systems to
systems, and via domain experts to domain experts.
project I am leading we aim to bring more transparency to the dynamic
interaction between real-estate, district heating, and energy producers in a
smart city context.
we will connect temp, humidity, CO2, sensors for 70+ rooms with actuators to
226 radiators to control the system via AI-based ways of working. We will go
for a distributed intelligence approach, utilizing wireless Modbus, map it to
tagging standards, like Haystack, Brick, REC, and create one API to the
building. As Sabine Lam wrote last month, Digitalization is surely changing
the role of what integrators need to do in order to try get towards future
ready facilities. We will utilize wireless mesh, wireless Modbus, standardized
ways of working and a combination of RESTFul, MQTT, and in discussions with
graphql approaches and Kafka-based streams where everything is built to be
bi-directional and data tagged according to multiple standards leading to truly
software defined buildings.
should be in control of their past, present and their future and allow others
to create value from their buildings. Not having to ask for permission where
data and control strategies are held hostage by vendors and integrators.
This is the
starting point for this project and there are a lot of other benefits involved
also want to do is to lay the foundation of Digital Twins by utilizing the
drawings, turning them into 3D-models, and then adding real-time data from
everything. Lighting that digital twin up like a Christmas tree. And then just
animate it with occupancy so that we can SEE how the system is working, and how
it is affecting its context, and how the context affects the system. In
real-time if that is interesting, but even more so, do the calculations and
simulations and run the building from the future. This will enable all
stakeholders to finally pull down the curtains and create transparency into
“that Voodoo that you do”. And understand that it is not only about the
buildings themselves. It is about the context.
ingredients exist. The people. The systems. The processes. But they are not in
sync. Everyone and everything are operating in separate realities. The
combination of modern tools and technologies can change that. Not only to bring people and
systems into a shared reality, but also allow for AI-augmentation based on a
contextual data fabric. Digital Twins for instance, can create an
organizational wide understanding of the actual content, the products, AND how
they relate to usage, supply chain and the overall lifecycle. Steve Jobs explains it well enough when it comes to the obsession with
processes, neglecting the content and context. Modern approaches done right
could easily help companies make decisions 9 times faster, with access to
real-time data. What would that do for any industry?
This below was made by the company SEKAI which have a very future oriented approach when it comes to Digital Twinning. They combine open-source technologies, making them come together through a Digital Twin enablement platform. They have an ML-assisted way of ingesting data from different sources, tying them together through graph-ways of working and ontologies. And then exposing the combined data sources via a Data notebook to simplify data manipulation for data scientists, as well as low-code interfaces for faster value creation. What I like about Digital twins in general is that they aim to work as a complement to existing solutions, bringing them together in a way that could potentially record any reality that exists, has existed, and simulate realities that are about to exist.
vi. CAD + IoT + Ontologies + AR + VR =
Reality Recording at scale via SEKAI Digital Twin Platform
If you look
at the most modern platforms and approaches, this is what is going on behind
the scenes. The Digital Twin Consortium members are all about similar
approaches, albeit in separate offerings, and in several industries like
Healthcare, Manufacturing, Natural Resources, Infrastructure as well as
Aerospace and Defence. And Chalmers Digital Twin City Centre, which I recently joined, they are also
working with similar tools and technologies.
everything exists. “It’s just bringing it together”. But some take longer than
others and work is not always automated, nor simplified through no-code/low
code approaches to democratize modern value creation at scale. Time is the most
valuable currency we have where open-source tools and technologies do not always
have to worry about up-time and SLAs. That is what enterprise platforms are
for. The real world usually demands solutions that are robust, useful, and
attractive solutions that get the job done. But it is never an either or. Which
is why we need interoperable solutions coming together,
thing is that it is not only about AI. It is not only about Digital Twins. It
is about all these slightly more modern technologies and strategies that need
to be utilized. Not in isolation, but in collaboration. Between humans and
machines. And how technology can be used as an enabler to improve scale, scope,
and learning, and to solve problems. As well as doing more of what is already
great. It’s about saving money, making more money and finding ways for new
business models to emerge. And for the newly started companies, all of this
should be more than an enabler. It will be part of their Digital DNA.
vii. The BB-Cycle by Nicolas Waern,
adapted from the Gartner Hype Cycle
if the building that you manage had could incorporate all the above approaches.
What would that entail?
be able to zoom in and out in all disciplines to understand them not only from
their viewpoint, but also from everyone else’s. AI will not be isolated ways of
working to solve siloed problems and challenges in one discipline like energy
efficiency. But it would be utilized on top of the asset, the portfolio,
possibly with individual, interoperable digital twins where the dynamic
interaction between different entities are in focus.
industry needs to do better. Irrespectively if its behind or not. And I do not
think it is for a lack of trying. But I do believe it is for a lack of
understanding. From all sides.
been taught since our childhood to simplify reality in segments. But that has
led to the widespread confusion we see today. Where people are in their
individual caves, not understanding what is happening nor being able to explain
their point of view to other people except for their followers. What if we could
not trick reality? What if we could play with reality?
It is not
about knowing more. It is about taking what we know, putting that together with
other people that know, and give them a problem they can solve, that can be
copy pasted to the same problems in that industry or other industries, so that
we only solve these problems once, apply it, and move on. Sooner rather than
faster, we have solved the problems 99% faster, in a way that retains knowledge
forever for both humans and machines.
kill the dinosaurs? Not necessarily. Just elevate them, capture and transfer their
knowledge in a standardized way for future generations. We need to plant the
digital trees under whose shade we do not expect to sit. We can clearly see
that it has not been easy up until now. We have the skill-shortage gap, and we seem
to copy other industries utilizing API-first for decades, which could lead to a
data swamp in hell.
We need to
think about what Artificial Intelligence needs. Before we do anything else, not
after. Otherwise, we will continue to do more of what we are trying to get rid
of. We are well on our way towards the future we all need. Dancing with
Dinosaurs needs to happen, and we need to learn from each other. We need the
dinosaurs with us on this so let us see what we can do to adapt technology to
them. Not the other way around.
We will be talking
more about AI-enablement the next episodes of the Beyond Buildings Podcast, so
stay tuned for more. And do connect with me on Linkedin if you have not done so already!
And if you
or someone you know need help with questions regarding strategy, innovation,
and figuring out how modern technologies can help you where you are today. Look
no further. WINNIIO will always be by your side. Just reach out to
me, Nicolas Waern, on LinkedIn or check out my
Podcast Beyond Buildings if you need any assistance.
Nicolas Waern is the CEO, Strategy &
Innovation Leader, and a Digital Twin Evangelist at the consulting firm WINNIIO.
He is a firm believer that the Real Estate Industry needs more of a lifecycle
focus where we need to go Beyond Buildings and come back with an understanding
what tools and technology we could use. And to solve the jobs to be done,
together, with an open mindset.
working with leaders in several industries to understand how they can succeed
in the age of AI. Predicting what the world will do in a week, a month, a year
from now and to best utilize strategies and solutions that pass the test of
time. He does this through a Digitalization- on Demand approach for anyone that
needs to change before they have to.
Nicolas is a Podcast Creator & Newsletter Editor for Beyond Buildings
Thought Leader regarding Smart Buildings & Building Automation for AutomatedBuildings
Speaker and Influencer Event Streaming Platforms as the Holy Grail for Industry 4.0 Applications
Subject Matter Expert Real Estate Digitalization Proptech Digitalization Expert
Active Member of Digital Twin working groups Digital Twin Subject Matter Expert
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