July 2017

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Everything is Connected
 Reflections from IBCON 2017 San Diego

The real estate industry is being disrupted big time, and everyone
who wants to survive has to get onboard.

Patrik Etelävuori

Patrik Etelävuori
Head of Concepts and Innovations - Facilities,

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“The planetary-scale computer fed by a trillion sensors will drive a global industrial internet/” Larry Smarr, Professor, University of California, San Diego. This is both overwhelming and exciting at the same time.

I had the privilege to attend Realcomm IBCON 2017, Intelligent Building Conference in San Diego California. I have to say that the ambiance and mindset in a typically “old-fashioned” real estate industry are changing with big steps now. The excitement of the new era is hand felt. The real estate industry is being disrupted big time, and everyone who wants to survive has to get onboard.

If you want to keep your feet dry, connect everything with IoT

There are still many questions unanswered, and as many unasked but what seems to be clear is if you want to keep your feet dry, connect everything with IoT. Figure out a service model which naturally goes for corporate working environments as well.


What is the common factor being that we as humans are always searching for ways to make life a bit easier for us. Now with the possibilities provided to us with new tech such as AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain, the real estate industry as well is starting to figure out how to utilise these and make everything more effective. Connecting all dot´s and figuring out what possibilities we have with new tech is on all the player’s agenda. End game being in developing smart cities and what everybody seems to be doing is piloting the tech in smaller environments. Take Qualcomm for example who has made major investments in their San Diego smart campus in order to understand the possibilities of IoT or rather IoE (Internet of Everything). 

Utilising the data is what gives intelligence to the Intelligent Building

The market is looking for a solution that gives the brains to the building, this is achieved basically with sensors, but that is not enough. We need to understand what to do with the data as well.

For now, we have to make sense out of the data collected ourselves, in the coming years this will be automated, and suggestions for actions will be given to us through AI. Again, the more we are able to connect, the more relevant information we get from the “hive” that is learning from each other. Tesla is an excellent example, in the Tesla “hive” each and every car learns from each other, the more cars on the road, the more intelligent the AI will get.

“Low hanging fruit is sensor data and machine learning. There is no excuse if you are not into that already”, Larry Smarr, Professor, University of California, San Diego.   

We humans as are extremely good sensors for sensing the current environment, but we can't be everywhere. To complete us and to be able to predict with the deeper knowledge we have to connect with technology in a much faster pace and without boundaries.

Human-centricity in all we do is not to be forgotten

New technologies provide extremely good tools to help us with our daily lives. Such as Tieto Intelligent Building solution, which is a great enabler in the Activity Based working environment, where you choose how and where to work based on your own activities. Human-centricity in tech has the right tools and sensors in place to make sense of the data and to help us in taking the correct actions. Connecting the data from the “building brain” is the key to making any intelligent building truly intelligent.

One big challenge is how to take different system siloes and piece it all together to make sense out of everything to make a holistic view of the environment. Qualcomm smart campus in San Diego has cracked this challenge, by connecting everything with IoT, even the outside solar panelled trashcans (which in the future smart cities will be WLAN hotspots btw) has sensors to provide relevant information to the company picking up trash.

The water outlet for the fire department has a sensor to inform whether or not the system is functional, this saves up a lot of time for the county, as these maintenance checks have to be conducted systematically and all the time.

Healthy Buildings build on employee wellbeing

Finally, we are starting to hear even the real estate market talking about wellbeing and health; this drives the discussion towards human-centricity where end users are the kings and queens.

Reliable Controls The fact is that the essential bullshit detector of how a corporation values their employees is determined by their investment in space. This naturally puts some pressure on the building owners and landlords, as corporations start to expect that the wellness factors are aligned with agreements. The space itself actually works as a recruitment tool for attracting and keeping talents.

Again, data and technology play a big part in this as well, as we are able to validate the health of the  environment through different methods, e.g., biometrics with wearables. It delights me that Tieto Keilalahti Campus is a showcase also in employee wellbeing, and we were actually mentioned in a topic discussion in San Diego by the panelist Ken Sinclair, who is a renowned author in the field of smart/intelligent buildings.

In a nutshell

Solutions need to:

  1. reduce cost
  2. increases speed
  3. saves time for employees
  4. be transparent

Amazing user experiences:

  1. - Dynamic 3D mapping platform for smart cities and buildings
  2. - Intelligent Visitor and Contractor software

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality, to change something build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” – Buckminster Fuller

About the Author

Patrik Etelävuori, Head of Concepts and Innovations - Facilities

Patrik is passionate about design thinking and challenging the status-quo with a human-centered and disruptive approach. Creating new models and innovations in our daily work environment both in solutions and services are close to his heart. Patrik was driving the Tieto Keilalahti Campus head office project and now works closely with New Ways of Working and Intelligent Building solutions in the constantly evolving and digital work environments.


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