Smart buildings project develops open IoT interfaces for the needs of building services
The technical systems used in buildings, including lighting, cooling and safety systems, have traditionally been closed solutions. These systems have usually been based on the information systems of hardware suppliers.
‘Integration projects covering several different systems have mainly been separate, tailor-made solutions. This has made them expensive to implement’, says Professor of Practice Heikki Ihasalo (Smart buildings and services) who is in charge of the project.
Integrated IoT solutions make life easier
One of the goals of the project is to make sharing data between different systems a smooth process. Currently, the extensive use of data is complicated because the descriptions of data acquired from different systems are not consistent and data from different systems always has to be linked separately.
‘If we want to be able to collect data from different systems and share it between the systems in an effective and non-expensive way, we need shared interfaces and methods for describing the meaning of data’, Ihasalo emphasises.
Buildings will increasingly be equipped with devices connected to the Internet of Things and the number of new systems will grow. Openness is needed between systems in order for the daily needs of consumers and businesses in the building trade to be met.
‘The openness of systems has improved recently: for instance the communication between sensors and devices has taken a step forward. However, openness in system-level integration is still in its infancy.’
Shared interfaces and description methods not only enable the management of data related to the built environment, but also make it possible to create solutions and services that can be used to improve the functionality, indoor air quality and energy efficiency of buildings. To the users of buildings, this means smooth services and an environment that supports health and wellbeing. At an office, this could mean accessing information about vacant conference rooms or the length of the queue at the cafeteria as well as being able to adjust the temperature and lighting at your desk with extreme ease.
The project is part of the KIRA-digi programme, a Government key project which aims to speed up the digitalisation of the built environment and construction. The participants of the project include the Smart buildings and services research group from the Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering, Granlund Oy, the City of Helsinki, Helvar Oy, Senate Properties and Tieto Corporation. The project will end in the autumn of 2017.