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Easy life, complex technology

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New data shows lack of knowledge for IoT and blockchain in built environment

Aurecon’s fourth edition in its Buildings of the Future series, entitled Easy Life, Complex Technology, examined how blockchain technology will influence future buildings’ design, construction and maintenance.

The fourth edition of our Buildings of the Future series explores not only how we design, construct and maintain our buildings, but how we can use data to amplify business performance

20 February 2019 – As predictions for the Internet of Things’ growth continues at an exponential rate, new data from global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon reveals that many businesses have a significant lack of knowledge for utilising the technology.

A survey conducted with Aurecon clients and property industry representatives in Q4 2018 found that almost 60 per cent believed their organisations were not undertaking enough research and planning for the Building Internet of Things, and although 40 per cent were interested in using blockchain for business, they were unsure how to use it.

The data was collected as part of Aurecon’s fourth edition in its Buildings of the Future series, titled Easy Life, Complex Technology, that examined how blockchain technology will influence future buildings’ design, construction and maintenance, how data can be used to amplify business performance and how buildings can remain secure and protect against cyber-attacks.

The Building Internet of Things (BIoT) refers to the connections in a smart building linking devices and sensors, analytics, machine learning, business systems, cloud, productivity, and artificial intelligence.

Aurecon’s Buildings of the Future Leader, Peter Greaves, said the data demonstrated that while industry understood the value that BIoT and blockchain will deliver they lacked confidence in selecting the right technology.

“44 per cent of respondents said that choosing the right technology and applying it effectively to enhance building value and operations concerned them most about the BIoT,” Greaves said.

“Blockchain has made significant progress in other industries compared to the built environment, meaning the time is ripe for disruption, but this feedback shows there is a need for greater education.

“As an industry, we are at the forefront of change and it’s a very exciting time to be having these conversations to consider how our future offices, homes and community buildings can be enhanced by technology to improve life for end-users. At Aurecon, we are championing these conversations and beginning ground-breaking new pilot studies testing what’s possible in this arena.”

Aurecon is currently exploring the utilisation of high efficiency solar farms to link public and private sector partner organisations via blockchain, leveraging a battery source to power buildings in a private network that would not only be energy self-sufficient, but also sell excess power to the grid. Aurecon is also developing the build of a renewable data centre that utilises wind farm energy, and is supporting the roll-out of the first 5G network in the world in Australia.

“Compared to other industries such as finance and retail, there is still considerable headway to be made with blockchain in the built environment,” Greaves said.

“Yet as the technology becomes more innovative, the need for stronger cyber-security also increases, with the latest data from IBM estimating that a single data breach costs a company close to USD 4 million on average. Asking the right questions is vital to help mitigate against risk.

The report, Easy Life, Complex Technology, also investigates how buildings will utilise the internet of things for improving building and equipment maintenance to increase efficiencies in business operations and amplify business performance.

In addition to detailing the benefits and potential uses of blockchain in the built environment, the report also outlines case studies of blockchain in practice through a world-first fully digital hospital in Humber River, Canada, and the use of blockchain for managing land records in India.

Previous editions of Aurecon’s Buildings of the Future series include Part 1: Science fiction or science fact, Part 2: Bottom line benefits and Part 3: People at the centre.

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