Using Azure Percept to build the next Smart Building.

You have heard it for sure. AI and IoT make it possible to create smart buildings that put a lot of data to work, and the Real Estate companies can thrive from all the possibilities that are presenting itself from that investment. But the reality is that not many Real Estate companies have started to use any data from their buildings due to the perceived view that the technology is inaccessible. The common belief within the industry is that you must make a heavy investment and need to launch a big project to get started. 

But the truth is that the technology has already been launched on the market! And since it is an “off the shelf” solution, the initial project does not have to be a heavy investment to get you started. You will not need a large budget and it will not take too long from the initial idea to the first tests. The out of the box technology is available for anybody, and at low cost! And from ideas to actual tests, we are talking about days, maybe weeks, but not months! 

Of course, you still would need a solid business case and the people to set the devices up, but when it comes to the tech part, it is easy to get started. Since the devices are already connected to the cloud, it is easy to analyze the data and get advanced insights. 

So, how is it done and what could a business case look like? 

Let us look at an example. The challenge of how to lower costs of maintenance of office spaces is quite common for Real Estate companies. Identified potential cost savings could be to lower the temperature of the building, since heating is known to drive high costs. The solution could be using AI on the Edge that determines when people are in the building, identifies patterns from the data, makes predictions and adjusts the heating system. The benefits are that the temperature could be lowered, not only when the building is empty at night and during weekends, but also when the last employee leaves the building. Systems nowadays are often set to turn up the heat very early in the morning and to lower it very late, but this does not have to be a fixed time. With predictive models, the temperature could be proactively adjusted, avoiding reactive steering of the system. To take this further, weather forecasts can be added to the prediction, and this will allow more automated and precise heating. Depending on how efficient your current system is, costs could be lowered by up to 20%. If you do the quick math, you can see that this will have a significant impact on your profits, if applied to all buildings in the real estate portfolio. 

Other examples of cost savings could be to adjust the schedule of cleaning inside and outside of the building to when it is needed, e.g., cleaning restrooms based upon amount of visits and snow removal when sensors pick up that the snow level is critical. 

To take it further, possible benefits of using AI on the Edge goes beyond cost savings. The monitoring could be linked to safety reasons, e.g., counting people entering and leaving the building. In the wake of the recent pandemic, the concept of crowd control could be important to give guidance to when there is lower occupancy in different areas in the office building. And we are not talking about monitoring individuals since data is processed on the edge and only data points are uploaded to the cloud. 

With Azure Percept it is easy to set up a system described above and that could have a great impact. Camera detection comes out of the box, and it is possible to monitor different parts inside and outside the building constantly and process the data you are interested in. 

We have done a test, feel free to check out the video for the short demo we prepared.

Is it as simple as that? Yes, it is! Technology is available, so why not get started? A word of advice: remember to think big but start small. Perhaps start with just one building and take it from there. And do not be afraid to reach out if you would like some help to get started! 

Information about Azure Percept development kit can be found here, http://aka.ms/getazurepercept. Azure Percept Studio, which allows you to connect, build, customize and manage your Azure Percept edge solutions is described here, https://aka.ms/azureperceptbuild. Azure Percept devices come with built-in security on every device and information about it can be found herehttps://aka.ms/azureperceptsecure. Azure Percept library of AI models is available here, https://aka.ms/azureperceptexplore.