Digital Technology Adoption in the Smart Built Environment

Challenges and Opportunities of Data-Driven Systems for Building-, Community- and City-Scale Applications

Data has always played a profound role in the decision-making and engineering management processes within the built environment, whether at building-, community- or city-scale.

Whilst there is a rapidly changing landscape for digital technologies across these domains, many organisations (including local interest groups) remain at an early stage of experimentation in their use of data-driven systems.

Understanding the opportunities, challenges and enablers for successful systems implementation is key to ensuring appropriate investment of time and resources in digital built environment projects.

This Technical Briefing reviews the key challenges and opportunities for the application of digital technologies in the smart built environment – download technical briefing.

Case studies reviewing digital technology adoption at building-, community- and city-scale have also been published in association with this Technical Briefing, and are available for download below:

City-scale Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure: Applying a collaborative, people-centric approach
This case study reviews London Living Labs, a city scale environment that is instrumented using an end-to-end Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure to enable experiments to be carried out in situ, involving such environments as schools, parks and city neighbourhoods. Collaboration is key to the project’s multi-layered, people-centric approach, allowing the project team to understand and design for a range of scenarios and use cases working with communities, city officials and stakeholders. Download case study

An open data platform for integrated city services: Open Glasgow
This case study reviews Open Glasgow, a big data platform that can be used to harvest large volumes of data from organisations, people and devices across the city and make it publically available as open data. Open Glasgow is being deployed by the Future Cities Demonstrator (run by Glasgow City Council) along with other key work-streams to integrate city services and contribute to health, energy, public safety and transport outcomes in the city. Download case study

Integrating building services data for energy efficiency and cost saving investment: Glasgow City Council
This case study reviews a Proof-of-Concept investigation into building optimisation opportunities through the analysis of data gathered from a number of sources within a range of buildings, including Automatic Meter Reading (AMR), Building Management Systems (BMS), sub-metering, and building schematics and schedules. The purpose was to explore how analysis of data already available could be used to refine Glasgow City Council’s building management and energy investment strategies and Return on Investment (ROI) targets. Download case study

Data integration approaches for smarter operation of large commercial buildings
This case study reviews the trend for cyber-physical systems integration and data collection in buildings, for improved control and management of resources. The focus for these applications by building owners and occupants is on carbon reduction and energy management, transforming buildings into more efficient and sustainable infrastructure. It is becoming essential to derive knowledge from across different data sources and technology domains; however interoperability of existing and emerging systems remains a key challenge. Download case study

Smart buildings in action - real-time structural monitoring: Barcelona's Olympic venue "Palau Sant Jordi"
This case study reviews the application of real-time structural load monitoring of the roof of the Palau Sant Jordi. The building is a multi-purpose indoors installation, equipped with the latest technology and hosting productions as diverse as concerts, sporting events, family shows or corporate events. Due to very strict safety and maintenance standards, a monitoring system was chosen to optimize the infrastructure’s performance, to avoid unnecessary risk and to ensure low operational costs. Download case study

Digital engineering and project controls in the construction industry
This case study reviews adoption of a “digital engineering” (DE) approach with a business model centred around Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA), employing offsite manufacturing for construction. Effective management of project information over the life of that built asset is essential to this approach. Digital models are used to integrate design information, programme schedules, progress status and quality assurance records, to make them visible to all across the organisation. Download case study

Accelerating the adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the Built Environment
This case study reviews the utilisation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) to improve the specification, usage and delivery of information relating to construction projects through to the operational life of the assets. Implementing BIM is not just a technology/software activity though, and successful implementation relies upon application of change processes and strategic thinking. Organisations new to the use of BIM will need to carefully plan out their strategy before they start on technical implementation. Download case study

For further information on the IET’s work on digital technology adoption please contact:

  • Ahmed Kotb, Sector Head for Information and Communications for Cyber Security, Internet of Things, Data Centres, Wireless Spectrum and Big Data.
  • Alan Howard, Sector Head for Thought Leadership for Smart Cities and Infrastructure Resilience.
  • Ian Borthwick, IET Standards for practitioner standards, guidance and training related to this Technical Briefing.