By @SimonCocking. Our first interview with a smart building, ably assisted by Denis Canty, Lead Technologist IoT – Johnson Controls Garage • , and Writer – Futurist • Speaker • STEM Enthusiast. See more by Denis here

When were you created?

I was born on February 8th, 2016 as the Smartest Building in Ireland. It took just under two years for me to be created by my parents BAM and John Cleary Developments (JCD). The anchor tenant I have is Johnson Controls, with other tenants being Malwarebytes, PWC, Investec and Hortonworks.

What are you capable of monitoring?

With all these technologies in me, there is a huge amount of data whizzing around in me. All of this data is securely stored centrally, so we had do some really cool combinational analytics. I can monitor lift to stairs utilisation rates for wellness purposes, and we can monitor room occupancy which allows us to intelligently control the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) units in the building. We can also monitor environmental data inside and also outside the building to gauge air quality, gas levels and temperature/humidity. We are also monitoring the amount of radio frequency (RF) in the building for health reasons. The list doesn’t end there, with more in the pipeline.

What interesting insights are emerging from the data?

With the building being a testbed for the internet of things (IoT), we are looking at the data in lots of different ways to increase value or impact for our customers, and also for our employees in the building. We are already seeing new upsell opportunities to bundle our partner technology with our own offerings, and analytics as a service will be crucial to this. We have an onsite Data Intelligence team which shows our commitment to this.

You have the restaurant on the top floor, this seems like a great idea to maximise the view. How are the occupants of the building using this space / finding it?

The occupants love our restaurant, which is catered by Brook Catering. It’s a beautiful space, with both a fantastic restaurant and a lovely coffee dock which is segregated. The piece de la resistance is our roof terrace, which is our outdoor seating and dining area with gorgeous views of Cork City. We also have a pool table and ping pong table to entertain! The restaurant and the vending machines are also cashless, with an app to add funds to your badge ID. Employees love this, as it means queues move a lot quicker, and you don’t have to carry cash with you at all times! There is an added benefit for being cashless, as it is better from a security perspective.

Potentially the data gathered from the building can inform and influence / inspire how people use the building. How is this going so far?

We are seeing some interesting trends in relation to how much movement occurs on each floor, to how many people occupy the floors. This can be done using anonymized badge scans, which is simply doing counts. Having access to how many people are in each section in real time could potentially help in smart evacuation for example, which can make employees feel safer. I feel it is still early days on the data gathering, and there are exciting plans for how we can use this data to make the employees and visitors enjoy the building experience more. For example, once I can understand the occupancy of the restaurant in real time, people can plan their lunches so they don’t encounter “the rush”. Visitors will also benefit, as we can help navigate them around the building and ensure they have the right resources assigned before they visit. Such as their meeting plans and Wi-Fi enabled on arrival. I also have access to a travel hub app which combines public data from the Cork Smart Gateway Open Data Initiative with internal data regarding the occupancy of the 1AQ car park to provide a tailored synopsis of travel information for the occupants of the building.

As anchor tenants, what’s the global message from Johnson Controls?

The future is being built today, and Johnson Controls is making that future more productive, more secure and more sustainable. We create intelligent buildings, efficient energy solutions integrated infrastructure and next generation transportation systems that work seamlessly together to deliver on the promise of smart cities. At its core, that promise is about delivering innovation that make people’s lives – and the world – better.

What future innovations do you hope to introduce to the building?

I expect that a lot of the innovation thus far uses the physical products that we offer. We’re leading the transformation to a circular economy – creating the technologies, equipment, energy solutions, batteries, vehicles and buildings which support regenerative systems and create efficiencies throughout the urban infrastructure. We predict that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology will bring the virtual aspect to the building. This coupled with advanced data science and machine learning solutions applied to the datasets from our products will be two of the main innovations in the future.

We also plan to use smart connectivity to connect whole buildings to the web, creating systems that optimize building operations, reduce resource use, produce meaningful insights and increase productivity. The buildings integrated solutions will combine technology with advanced analytics to enable situational awareness for emergency situations and operational improvements. We also plan to continue to accelerate innovation through R&D in devices, controls, sensors and data analytics.

What should I have asked you / would you like to add?

Whilst I, One Albert Quay am a huge step in the right direction, there is a bigger play in how we evolve the relationship of smart buildings and the smart cities ecosystem. As we increased the visibility into how secure the buildings are in real time, it is expect that increased guest services will exist in the building. We are seeing that already, with banks, dry cleaning and barbers already offering a service in the building. The connectivity should allow these services (and more) to provide automated demand planning and online booking services, so a more flexible model pertains, whilst maintaining building security.

Growing cities must be able to adapt to environmental, financial and social challenges. Looking outward from Albert Quay, Buildings, vehicles and safety systems must work together to deliver security and peace of mind. Urban innovations are essential to drive environmental sustainability, helping cities do more with less.

What is our value proposition?

Johnson Controls’ solutions are driving the future of innovation in urban efficiency. Today’s buildings, communities and cities have advanced, and Johnson Controls is driving the transformation to meet today’s needs and tomorrow’s challenges. We combine future-focused technologies with expert insight to build smart, secure, sustainable built environments and energy solutions that move the world forward.

There are a series of smart cities megatrends: Urbanization – Growing cities must be able to adapt to environmental, financial and social challenges. Security – Buildings, vehicles and safety systems must work together to deliver security and peace of mind. Sustainability – Urban innovations are essential to drive environmental sustainability, helping cities do more with less. Johnson Controls is positioning itself as a leading problem solver for smart buildings, smart infrastructure and smart cities.

IoT, future trends and what to get excited about. Denis Canty, Tyco Innovation Garage


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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