Cognitive buildings are increasingly commonplace thanks to the development of technologies that are delivering greater levels of operational control. 

For example, Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity can help to anticipate workplace conditions and reduce a building’s carbon footprint by cutting its energy consumption.

This approach started with automation, which removed the need for human involvement in simple tasks such as turning on lights and temperature adjustments. This freed up facility managers to spend more time on problem solving. Cognitive buildings take technology beyond automation using a more complex and integrated approach that analyses building procedures to provide actionable insights.

This is achieved through a combination of detailed facilities management capabilities and cognitive computing, which can deliver energy savings, optimise the use of space and improve security and safety.

Delivering efficiencies

One of the biggest challenges facing facility managers is ensuring that a building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are operated in an efficient manner, reducing their carbon footprint and saving on costs. An ACEEE study shows that smart buildings can realise up to 30–50% savings compared with other ‘regular’ buildings.

Space optimisation is also crucial if offices are to be used effectively. Here technology can monitor and track high volume areas, helping facility managers understand where to make meaningful changes. This could even extend to the use of car parks as sensor technology expands.

Future innovations

The implementation of AI (artificial intelligence) is expected to move beyond the systems currently in place, with preventative maintenance and fault detection tools analysing data to better diagnose anomalies and inconsistencies, before formulating a remedy. AI will also optimise building operations to improve tenant comfort through the integration of mobile apps and wearables to help occupants interact directly with their surroundings.

Enhancing the customer experience continues to be key in helping businesses thrive, with personalisation being an important piece of the smart buildings puzzle. Features such as voice-enabled commands, using IoT connectivity, could become a commonplace solution to help optimise businesses’ processes.

Looking at the ways cognitive buildings communicate with their occupants also provides insights for assembling Cognitive Districts and Cognitive Cities. For example, enhanced usage data from buildings can help to develop district plans that support long-term sustainability.

Further technology advances will make cognitive buildings even more adaptive to the needs of their occupants. They will also provide facility managers with even greater insight that can positively influence their operations. Building managers looking to upgrade their existing portfolio should work with experienced suppliers to ensure business continuity.