First research project to co-create people-centric smart building systems for a sustainable built environment
The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Johnson Controls, the global leaders for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, will be initiating a joint venture and committing S$5 million for a smart buildings research programme. NUS School of Design and Environment (SDE) will kick off with the first research project in April 2021.
Mr Alvin Ng, Vice President, Digital Solutions, Asia Pacific, Johnson Controls, said that, “NUS is an important partner in our journey to transform the urban built environment, especially with the focus of ‘build back better’ in the recovery from the long pandemic. Tapping on the talents from both sides to research artificial intelligence, sustainability as well as smart experience and wellness, we can innovate and scale from this NUS living laboratory. Singapore’s larger regulatory environment is also conducive for the adoption of technologies to ensure our built environment is healthier and more sustainable.”
The team collaboration will address the industry-wide challenges that the built environment is facing now.
During the research, the Johnson Controls OpenBlue Innovation Center housed at SDE which was launched in September 2020, will be utilised as a testbed for the new breed of customisable, contact-free applications built on the Johnson ControIs unifying OpenBlue digital technology suite. It will focus primarily on the four SDE buildings, with the possibility to expand the scope to include other buildings across the NUS campus.
Assistant Professor Clayton Miller from the Department of Building will lead the first research project by the NUS School of Design and Environment (SDE), in April 2021. BRICK Schema – a standardising model for data labels in buildings will be applicable in this research as it will encompass using machine learning to accelerate the conversion of Internet of Things (IoT). Smart buildings and their subsystems will be depicted in a format that enables software to quickly integrate into a larger number of buildings through the open-source schema. It will also provide a comprehensive overview of the relationships between different subsystems in a building. The industry will better able to understand metadata usage across all building types, to improve overall wellness for its users with the implementation of a consistent schema across buildings.
Converting existing metadata schemas into the BRICK framework is a labour-intensive process. In order to achieve this efficiently, the team intends to set up a machine learning competition to crowdsource solutions to find the most accurate approach to converting each buildings’ existing labelling methods into the BRICK Schema.
Professor Lam Khee Poh, NUS SDE Dean said, “Our research collaboration with Johnson Controls will contribute to the built environment sector’s need for rapid digitalisation and enhanced collaboration across the entire industry value chain. The status quo is that each building speaks its own language when it comes to IoT. With this research, Asst Prof Miller’s team seeks to create a type of ‘translation engine’ to convert these individual languages into the BRICK Schema. This is a critical piece of enabling technology for Singapore to develop future-ready solutions for sustainable cities in line with Singapore Green Plan 2030.”
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