“Building” includes not only the residential areas where we live, but also office buildings and industrial parks where we work. During the COVID-19 period, the managers of these buildings have undertaken the main inspection tasks: temperature measurement at entry and exit, implementation of closed management, registration of personnel travel history information…
However, most of the current building managers still adopt the most “original” management methods, such as: making a paper version of the pass, using a paper version of the form to register information, the staff on duty taking the temperature of the people entering and leaving one by one, Manual door-to-door statistics, etc.
There are three major disadvantages of relying on manual management: for managers, it is inefficient; for residents, it is not intelligent enough; for managers and residents, there is also the possibility of further exposure to infection.
There is no doubt that the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 can make Building managers realize the importance of building informatization and intelligent construction. But does this mean that after COVID-19, the construction of smart buildings will usher in a big opportunity?
What does Smart Building include?
Before discussing this issue, several questions need to be clarified: What is Smart Building? What technologies are included in Smart Building?
Smart Building can be understood as a “mini version of a smart city”, that is, using artificial intelligence, cloud computing and other technologies to make the management of residential areas, office buildings, industrial parks and other buildings more intelligent and efficient.
The technical framework of smart building and smart city is also roughly similar, which can be simply divided into: perception layer, data and platform layer, and service application layer.
The perception layer includes cameras, access control, turnstile gates, alarms, etc.; the platform layer is an integrated management platform based on data storage and analysis; the service application layer includes personnel and vehicle management, property management, and community operations.
Of course, in specific practice, different scenarios have differences in the equipment used and the mode of operation. But in general, smart building systems are inseparable from these three layers.
At present, there are no specific and clear indicators for smart building and even smart city construction. However, if the intelligence level of smart building is simply divided into: perception layer, platform layer and application service layer from low to high. Most of the current Buildings are still in the transition stage from the perception layer to the platform layer.
The construction of the perception layer is the first step in the construction of smart building. For example, access control equipment with face recognition function is installed at the door, and gates with license plate recognition function are installed in the parking lot.
But the perception layer can only solve the “single point” problem. What is a “single point” problem? For example, when entering and leaving the parking lot, a camera with license plate recognition function can only solve the “single-point” work of recording the license plate number instead of people; however, when vehicles enter and exit the parking lot, many specific business operations are also involved, such as households. Different from the charges for non-residents, whether or not the car owner who buys or rents a car will be charged.
To solve these more complex business problems, it is necessary to integrate the data collected at the perception layer with the data of specific businesses. This requires building platform-level intelligence.
The role of the platform is to integrate and analyze the data required for building operations, so that it can become a “motor” for efficient building operations. The more multi-dimensional data the platform can integrate, the more “smart” Building’s operations and services can be.
At present, most of the “smart buildings” are only installed with smart devices, which can realize the automation of some simple businesses, such as personnel entry and exit management, vehicle management, etc. But overall, the level of intelligence is still not high enough, otherwise, during this COVID-19 period, there will not be a large number of manual statistics of personnel information and the production of paper-based entry and exit cards.
But from another point of view, there is a general shortage of building smart solutions, which means that the smart building market still has a lot of room for development.
The government market has more potential
Although the smart park has great potential for development, there is still one problem: scattered customers.
According to the attributes of managers, customers of Smart Building can be divided into governments and enterprises. The focus of the government’s construction is the refinement of management, especially the improvement of the refinement of personnel management. The focus of enterprise construction is to optimize the user experience, and its ultimate goal is to obtain higher profits. From this perspective, the potential of the government market is even greater.
Corporate customers are mainly real estate developers, property developers, and investment and operation companies. The purpose of these entities to build smart buildings is to increase profits. The era of extensive real estate growth in China has become a thing of the past. For real estate developers, the transition to high-quality development is imminent, and the intelligent construction of residential and commercial land is a “way out”.
Although enterprise customers also urgently need to build smart buildings, enterprise customers involve many industries, and the needs of different industries are not the same. Therefore, the overall size of the enterprise market appears to be huge, but this “big” market is a combination of multiple “small” markets with different needs.
In general, building smart buildings is a long-term need. COVID-19 can make managers realize the importance of building smart parks, but it is far from a market outbreak.
In this market with long-term growth potential, for manufacturers, the opportunity lies in the construction of the platform layer. It can be seen that whether it is equipment manufacturers, AI companies or Internet companies, they are all moving closer to platform construction.
However, it should also be noted that technology construction and management thinking must be advanced at the same time, so that the “wisdom” of smart building can truly be effective. Otherwise, “Building a Smart Building” will only become a slogan.