Updated: Nov 27, 2020
Buildings, like cars and phones, are getting smarter.
The advance of technology hs been slow to reach the traditional construction industry. So often we see building plans that do not include the integration of technology (beyond HVAC and some Cat 6 cabling). With modular building all that changes. A modular factory build, in laboratory conditions relies on all aspects of the design being factored in from the start. Only then can the advantages of speed of instalation, reduced site costs, reduced trade costs and overall cost schedule optimisation be reached.
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Traditionally, conversations about infrastructure have focused on improving roads, rail and bridges. But now infrastructure comes in various forms — both physical and virtual. It's made of more than just concrete and heavy steel; it's also about power, water, telecommunications, smart factories, and IoT enabled buildings.
The next generation of automation is here and evolving fast. From prefabricated buildings using assembly-line robotics to driverless cars, it's transforming the modern business agenda, priorities, lifestyle, and fabric of our society. And part of this idea of smart infrastructure is also about connected buildings that leverage big data for predictive analytics and capabilities and energy efficiency.
Modern methods of construction arent really 'modern' the ideas and the basic building technologies have been around for some time, but now they're now being invested in. Pressure for sustainable, low carbon, high efficiency buildings which demonstrate the industry reacton to climate change is coupled with an ever pressing need for more infrastructure to serve increasing world population. Today, they can offer a glimpse look into the future, as they allow us to predict maintenance requirements. Building operators can also be in two places at once, by remotely accessing systems in real time.
In one case a SMART building implementation was of huge benefit, when an organisaton had a real-estate portfolio covering more than 51,000 km2. In the first three years it saved £305,000 in operational efficiency and reduced travel and overtime.
Autonomous buildings mean that people do not need to be on-site and this is the main idea behind this ultimate tech endgame:
The next iteration will move building owners and managers away from reactive and preventative behavior and more toward a predictive and proactive mindset. Advanced analytics make it possible to anticipate events and activities and set optimal configurations for HVAC based on calendar and weather data. The building with self diagnose and self adminster and will know what you need before you want it, helping to save money and contribute to the effort to tackle climate change.
The idea of autonomous buildings once seemed so far away. But with each technological advancement, it's becoming closer to reality.