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Definition of Smart Buildings:
This is what networked buildings of the future can do

A small case study to start with: Imagine you are on your way to work and wonder if there is still a space available in the underground car park. A glance at your smartphone gives you the answer: Number 384 in the back right corner of the car park is available. You hold your mobile phone in front of the small sensor on the underground garage door, the entrance opens and you park your car in the car park. On the way through the building to your workplace, the lift automatically stops at the right floor. Scenes from the future? No, Smart Buildings are examples of today.

You open another door to your office with your mobile phone. The light above your desk is already switched on and the room temperature is a pleasant 21.5 degrees Celsius – just the way you like it. Another quick glance at your app to see if your boss is already there: Yeah, just came in. You reserve a free meeting room for 9.30 a.m. and send the appointment to your boss. So that the sun doesn’t blind you later – because your boss doesn’t like that at all – the sunshade in front of the meeting room windows is already extended. You open your locker via app and take out your laptop. The working day can begin.

What sounds like science fiction has long since become reality: So-called Smart Buildings – the building operation of tomorrow – control themselves automatically through various Smart Building Solutions and are intelligent.

Smart Buildings versus Smart Home

While Smart Home systems are now well known and refer to the connected home (i.e. the private sphere), the term Smart Building refers specifically to commercial properties. Like their name implies, Smart Buildings are intelligent. By digitising an entire building, the automation and control of the technology is combined. The building communicates, interacts, learns from collected data, adapts to the consumer and thus makes the lives of the people in the building ‘smarter’ – next level building management.

Often mentioned in this context are terms such as Smart Office, Smart Spaces or Smart City, all of which deal with the digitalisation and networking of individual areas of life with the help of Smart Buildings Solutions.

 

Which components turn a building into a Smart Building?

In other words, what can Smart Buildings do that other buildings can’t? And what added value do these technologies offer – especially for people?

  1. Various sensors in the building collect environmental information, in other words data. For example, the detection of people in a room is automated with the help of heat sensors.
  1. A computer system evaluates the collected data and derives measures accordingly. In this way, the building can adjust itself to the needs of the users and, for example, adjust the temperature in the room.
  1. Interaction: The control commands are implemented via actuators, which then open windows, extend sun protection or regulate the air conditioning, among other things.

Smart Buildings Solutions from SAG: SAG Smart Access

An important point in the intelligent buildings of the future is smart access organisation and building control. With SAG Smart Access, we offer digital access solutions consisting of software and hardware for the efficient organisation and automation of buildings. Curious? Click here to go to our digital solutions world!

Development: Our Smart Building Solutions are characterised by a wide range of technologies for user identification, such as PIN code, RFID, mobile programming of cards, wearables and other data carriers, Bluetooth, mobile key systems and much more. Integrated EnOcean wireless technology ensures easy integration of the access systems into the building automation. For example, it can be individually set after how many uses the toilets should be cleaned – always with the aim of sustainable use.

More examples of our Smart Buildings Solutions:

  • Access authorisation concepts for doors and cabinets
  • Preventive monitoring concepts and convenient room control functions
  • Technologies for identification
  • Administration/management of different locations

Smart Building examples: European building projects and pioneers

The Smart Building Solutions trade fair in Aachen offers examples, ideas, concepts and versatile solutions. It specifically targets the real estate brownfields, which directly and indirectly contribute to one third of global CO2 emissions. For corporations, property companies and investment companies, the fulfilment of ESG criteria has become a matter of urgency, not least due to the requirements of the European Commission. ESG entails the consideration of environmental, social and governance criteria. Digitalisation offers the opportunity to achieve sustainability goals and meet ESG guidelines. Different building projects all over Europe show how it can be done.

Cube in Berlin

‘Open Space. Open Mind.’ Probably the best-known smart building project is the Cube in Berlin. The Cube by CA Immo is located directly at Berlin’s main railway station and is part of Europacity. The central building management, practically the brain of the digital office building, is based on a large amount of real-time data. These are collected by 3,750 sensors, 750 beacons (Bluetooth hardware transmitters) and 140 mobile phone antennas.

The interaction for users of the Smart Building runs via the associated app. This makes it possible for employees to book their workplace, pre-order food and send parcels. Using artificial intelligence, the system remembers individual preferences and adjusts room temperature and lighting accordingly. This makes the buildings more efficient and ensures sustainable use of the spaces.

The Edge in Amsterdam

Sustainability score of 98.36%: The builders of the Smart Building focus on sustainability and efficient energy consumption. How does that work? The Edge in Amsterdam generates more energy than it consumes. The sunlight is optimally used by the construction and solar cells, so that all laptops, smartphones and electric vehicles can be powered with it. The sensors installed everywhere use the smartphone to detect when a user approaches and can thus regulate light intensity and temperature.

The Internet of Things (IoT) brings many other benefits, personalising objects such as coffee makers or toilets that report on their own in case of malfunction. There are few limits to the office of the future here.

The Ship in Cologne

Image: THE SHIP (Smart Buildings)
Image source: THE SHIP (Smart Buildings)

The digitalised property The Ship’ in Cologne-Ehrenfeld is also revolutionary, because here the latest building technology meets atmosphere and design. Besides control of the building via an app and keyless entry, there is also plenty of room for creative ideas and other amenities such as a gym and food court. Multiple applications under one roof – the concept is simple and embodies the working world of tomorrow: networked, agile, collaborative and innovative.

DSTRCT.BERLIN

Image: DSTRCT.BERLIN (Smart Buildings)
Image Source: DSTRCT.BERLIN (Smart Buildings)

History meets the future. The DSTRCT.BERLIN embodies a holistically networked quarter with many possible uses. The characteristic brick buildings of the Alter Schlachthof in the middle of Berlin stand in exciting contrast to the futuristic glass architecture. Located between Berlin Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg, the smart building stands above all for well-being. The right building technology also ensures this: Ozonation, ionisation and CO2 sensor-controlled devices ensure better air in the rooms. In addition, multi-functional blankets guarantee an ideal room climate.

This does not go unnoticed: The developers are aiming for DGNB GOLD certification and have already received a pre-certificate according to the WELL Building Standard. The digital connectivity of the Smart Building will be highlighted by a WIRED Score certificate in the future.

EDGE Grand Central in Berlin

Top score twice: The EDGE Grand Central in Berlin also has pre-certification for the WELL Building Standard Gold and DGNB Platinum. Everything is simply connected and wired here. Among other things, a state-of-the-art IP backbone ensures the lowest possible energy consumption.

The needs of the employees are in the foreground here: They can customise their environment via a smart building app. Additional options such as room booking, colleague search, etc. can also be easily used. This should make the processes less complex, the entire smart building ‘healthier’ and the employees more satisfied.

Smart building benefits at a glance

Advancing building automation offers a wealth of opportunities and possibilities to reshape and continually improve the working world for companies.

  • Safety
  • Efficient processes
  • Sustainable management
  • Energy efficiency
  • Current technologies
  • Quality of life & user comfort
  • Opportunities to reshape the working world
  • Positive influence on the real estate industry

 

Are there also risks in digital building management?

Smart Buildings make a pretty significant contribution to improving the conditions of the respective building users and our environment. However, investments in the Internet of Things (IoT) also bring risks, such as cybercrime or digital vandalism.

That’s why many smart device manufacturers have started to integrate security features into their products. At SAG, we’re experts in the safe organisation of buildings, rooms, doors and cabinets. We realise this on the basis of decades of experience in the form of forward-looking solutions and applications that we are constantly developing. Data protection is a top priority for us and our products and developments are subject to strict testing.

Learn more about our products here.

Our four solution concepts ‘Keyless Access’, ‘intelligent cabinet locking’, ‘Preventive Monitoring’ and ‘Individual Room Control’ are explained in detail on the following pages.

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