Ethos Digital reflect on the 2023 Smart Buildings Show in London

23 Oct 23

Our Director of Smart Buildings Brian Coogan was at the Smart Buildings Show in London last week. Overall it was an incredible event with lots of takeaways from the show. We asked Brian to share his reflections on the event from his desk this morning.

Are we doing enough as a sector to properly digitalize new or retrofit buildings? was the recurring theme in the majority of panel discussions and presentations. Too many technological possibilities and little effort to ensure proper data architecture and data governance appear to be the root of the issue.

"Baking digital into smart building design" by Ceri Williams has this as the main topic, especially the requirement to establish an enterprise architect from the project's inception. Establishing this early in RIBA stage 1 will greatly help with the project's management of technological modifications and integration adjustment as OT and IT change.

John Dente also emphasized the need of having a properly defined data strategy when it comes to data quality. It costs a lot of money to merely collect all performance data without considering its worth or purpose. His recommendation: someone with knowledge in building design and operations should determine what’s necessary to accomplish the project's intended aims.

Numerous property management firms who were early adopters made note in particular of the need of having a digital design team to assist transformation programs. Digital has a big impact on the business case, but investing in technology helps organizations achieve their objectives. But more crucially, before adding a technological layer, you can generate vast savings by just training your FM team on the technologies you already have.
And in the midst of all the chatter about net-zero and ESG, as well as concerns about where to begin, @Ciaran Kelly presented RIBA Smart Buildings overlay. Ciaran provided a solid framework for integrating digital into all RIBA design stages, but as he stressed throughout, early engagement is the key to success. 
But Emilia Cardamone's presentation on "The Smart Journey to a Net Zero Office" seized on value engineering as the curse for everything digital. Digital VE should only take place in RIBA stages 1 or 2. Anywhere else is just a cost-cutting measure that harms both the environment and the user's health as well as the building's worth. The necessity of elevating user design into the A&E design processes is my favourite point of the day. A topic I've recently written about, and I think it's crucial to developing the next wave of sustainable and desirable buildings.

To close, Lucas Cusack's analysis of the importance of BIM in a successful smart building plan was accurate in terms of setting the foundation. Everything else will collapse if you overlook the task of managing your building information correctly.

If you want to make your building smart - we can make that happen! Let's chat about your next project and how your vision can be a reality!