Honeywell's digital movement for future buildings

Honeywell Building Technologies discusses the outlook for smart cities and infrastructure development

George Bou Mitri, Vice president & GM for HBT META
George Bou Mitri, Vice president & GM for HBT META

What is Honeywell Building Technologies’ (HBT) role in ongoing projects in the Middle East and the GCC region?

The UAE has been at the forefront when it comes to driving sustainability in the region, and it has been made a key priority and objective set out in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050. As a result, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are planning and developing several smart sustainable cities.

As the government continues to focus on achieving its sustainability and smart city visions, we expect to see an acceleration of sustainable smart building and infrastructure development.

It is a sector that we are both proud and excited to be contributing to, through advanced technology, expertise and local partnership.

For example, during a pilot at Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) in Dubai, our Honeywell Forge Energy Optimisation solution demonstrated an initial 10% in energy savings, after being integrated with a competitor’s solution.

As an accredited smart university founded on innovation, HBMSU was looking for ways to explore Internet-of-Things (IoT) solutions to drive optimisation and energy efficiency across its facility.

Energy Optimisation was applied to HBMSU’s Honeywell Forge existing building management system that uses a third-party, non-Honeywell technology which is supported by the platform’s open architecture and hardware-agnostic capabilities.

The additional energy savings are significant as HBMSU is regarded as a highly smart, energy-efficient building with fully connected lighting, cooling, building management, power and efficiency control that is optimised based on real-time occupancy.

Thanks to digitalisation and integration, we were able to achieve significant additional improvements.

We’re also helping occupants become more productive by connecting buildings and protecting people like never before.

With emerging technology such as smart edge devices, advanced analytics, facial recognition, and machine learning, our first-of-its-kind technology integration with Intel is enabling new AI capabilities in our connected security platform.

Enhanced capabilities such as this will drive cost and time savings by significantly reducing false alarms, and will meet compliance requirements such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) through identity anonymisation.

In terms of other projects, we’re helping ensure that security remains a central component of the future smart city infrastructure – from both a physical and a digital perspective.

We are incredibly proud to play a key role in supporting Egypt’s smart city vision, providing cutting-edge smart city solutions for the New Administrative Capital.

How will HBT technology be used in future smart cities?

Our technologies are helping to shape the future development of smart buildings and cities; and improving the safety, security, and energy efficiency of urban areas around the world.

In Egypt, we are collaborating with the Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD) to deploy city-wide surveillance systems across the New Administrative Capital. This is the largest smart city project in the world, and will cover 700km2, making it about the size of Singapore.

The surveillance systems will be integrated into a single point of control, called the Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC). The ICCC will integrate advanced IoT software and hardware solutions onto one common platform for a holistic city view that provides unified public safety services, coordinating security response units, city police and medical dispatch.

Honeywell technology will also power advanced management systems for smart parking and smart utility services for electricity, water, and gas, including street lighting, smart metering, smart grid monitoring services, and integration with smart digital signage management, billing, and financial systems.

In March 2020, we launched Honeywell Forge Energy Optimisation, a cloud-based, closed-loop, machine learning solution that continuously studies a building’s energy consumption patterns and automatically adjusts to optimal energy saving settings without compromising occupant comfort levels.

It is the first autonomous building solution focused on decreasing energy consumption, which can deliver double-digit energy savings, decrease a building’s carbon footprint, and can be implemented without significant upfront capital expenses or changes to a building’s current operational processes.

Through Honeywell Forge, we’re creating a platform that has an open architecture and hardware-agonistic capabilities that uses the latest self-learning algorithms coupled with autonomous control.

The result is that we can aggregate data from disparate systems so customers can make better decisions to help improve their bottom line.

From an energy management standpoint, Honeywell Forge Energy Optimisation can help building owners save millions of dollars in costs, and will ultimately even help reduce the amount of energy used by buildings globally. Beyond the energy savings, our technology can help building owners save on maintenance costs as well.

What are the sustainability trends to watch out for in 2020?

Sustainability and energy efficiency are complex issues that touch every aspect of a building and present many simultaneous challenges — energy costs, occupant comfort, and energy security and reliability, to name a few.

However, these also present opportunities for construction stakeholders to leverage using a responsible and sustainable approach – one that is grounded in data.

From our perspective, there are some key trends which the buildings of tomorrow will need to focus on in 2020, and beyond. Buildings will need to be

- Cognitive: They will need to possess intuitive, ambient intelligence that is built with quiet sensing, analytics and AI-ML algorithms that deliver experiences around people, who occupy manage, design and build these buildings. These buildings will become part of connect ecosystems, forming humane as well as smart communities and cities.

- Conscious: As the climate crisis becomes a reality, government regulations and public opinion will drive how urban environments are built. Conscious buildings will not only optimise resource consumption, but will also contribute to the environment by generating, harvesting, storing, and managing resources like energy, air and water.

- Quantified: As buildings get connected with intelligent edge and sensing, they collect multifaceted data. This data, with advanced machine learning and AI algorithms will transform buildings into highly intuitive and anticipatory entities. Over time, an analysis of the accumulation of this data can help assess structural improvements and optimise operations.

- Gen-Z: The incoming workforce has untraditional expectations when it comes to work. For example, Gen-Z workers want enterprise systems as intuitive and polished as the consumer platforms they grew up with.

They increasingly expect employers to champion green technologies and they want a tailored occupant experience as personalised as their Spotify playlist. Pivoted around socio-cultural shifts, these buildings will look, feel and behave like Gen-Z.

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