Smart building software solutions

From services to cross functional smart services

The BKK Web meeting took place once more under the theme “Services,” which is something that all of us have direct experience with on a daily basis. One of the smart services we can experience today is the smart building software solutions.

As always, we have had exceptionally talented speakers who have enriched the conversation with their experience and knowledge of the industry. This time as well, we have Gareth Davies from DDX and Andrew Hamilton from Hitachi.

What follows is a brief summary of the event’s main takeaways. Have fun with the reading!

What is a service?

We all make purchases or use services on a regular basis as part of our lives. But have you ever given any thought to the topic’s actual significance?

In terms of the tech industry, a “service” is an intangible item that arises from the output of one or more people. Everyone uses them, perhaps in technology more than others. Their tangibility comes from the benefits they provide.

Outside of the tech industry however, services are everywhere. Whether it be:

  • Consultants
  • Barbers
  • Doctors
  • Baristas and bar staff
  • Lawyers
  • Mechanics
  • Banks and accountants
  • Games & casinos
  • Insurance companies
  • etc.

Everyone has therefore dealt with and utilized a service, but not all services are “smart services.”

so…What’s a smart service?

Looking at the example in the picture above, are they really a smart service? 

These are excellent concepts for goods or services perhaps, but not actually smart services.

A smart service is a digital service that reacts to collected and analyzed data. Regarding traditional services, they tend to be in a specific sector like hospitality, finance, or legal services.

To provide useful insights and recommendations, smart services like the software solutions for smart buildings must first thoroughly investigate data and cross-functional sectors.

Let’s use our cutting-edge office in the Parq building as an example. It uses information from weather stations, access systems, sensors, or historical data, like when people walk through doors, log in, or get to the office in the morning. Then, use these numbers to make sure the lights and air conditioning are on. All of this data will be kept and utilized later.

At that point, we can optimize temperature, energy consumption, and so on. Therefore, a smart service should preempt what’s going to happen. It needs to collect information, process it, and then apply the results to the task of regulating and dictating future events.

How do we build smart services?

Since our goal is to gather information from many different places, everything we do is based on data.

As shown in the picture above, we are going to use the example of smart building software solutions, or in this particular case, a smart project.

Firstly, we start off with the data which is all known from businesses, people, and sensors. Next at the second circle layer, there are the physical infrastructure within the project. Those are hospitality, MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing), condominiums, retail, parking, CCC, office, and public area.

The whole point of smart services is that they have to be people-centric. If they don’t change people’s experiences, they are pointless. Those people may be the ones managing the building or the ones working inside as well as the community around. Typically the users will be the people living in the building, coming and shopping, working here, buying things, staying in hotels, and also the staff running the buildings.

Now the developers and the people within the stakeholders, these are the people who build the buildings. What we are trying to integrate into this particular process is the software development cycle running here and then the engineer procure and construct cycle running at the base.

We have to get alignment between those two different ways of doing things. Because people alone, whether they are architects, mechanical or electrical engineers, don’t talk to each other. When you try to bring in people who are doing the development cycle, whether it’s peer development or actual designers, they have no idea what the construction people are talking about. Aside from that, they usually hate each other. So one of the challenges we have as a group is trying to get these guys to all understand the model. 

After that, some examples here are the typical ones of core infrastructure services: smart energy, smart parking, smart water, and smart security.

Smart energy

It’s quite easy to understand smart energy. It can be like energy management in a specific area, space management within the area, or EV charging management.

The point is if you can find a way to save people energy, it will save money on the building. Then people are happier and, frankly, they are being more sustainable. 

Smart parking

In Scandinavia, for example, they really employ drones to help you park your cars and identify parking places. Since the labor costs over there are so high, in this part of the world, a little chap running along beside your car is a lot cheaper than the drone.

Smart water

Recycled water, rainwater, water quality control management, and so on are all examples of sustainable practices that contribute to “smart water.”

Smart security

If you and your favorite uncle were to go to the mall, that would be a perfect scenario to illustrate the importance of smart security. There might be the scene when he forced the ground clutching his chest. The camera will pick up the fact he has fallen over, then say it is most likely he is having some kind of seizure or fit. 

The system has to go out and find the nearest security guard. Does that security guard have first aid training? If not, it will find another one. Then it figures out the path between the security guard and the person lying on the ground. Afterwards, they have to prioritize whether it is lift, escalator, whatever else to get that security guard up quickly enough and at the same time call an ambulance. 

Historically, you do that with radio and it takes forever. All of this is now done by the smart building software solutions, by integrating multiple services within the building.

From a coding perspective, it is a nightmare because all the systems and interfaces are horrible. It often does not work well together. Nonetheless, what everyone is trying to do is to glue all these different services together.

Also what we are trying to do by taking this data, using data management, and working with AI is to produce actionable insights as the official terms. This means do something with it instead of simply printing out pretty graphs and the standards which we have to comply with.

The path to smart services

Generationally, we are starting out at Product/Service where you can generate data. A normal product and service starts being a smarter product because some of these elements are generated specifically at the company level. 

Later, we begin to shift to big data, where the service provider owns the data and runs analytics across several verticals, including building performance, human behavior, footfall, and so on.

Finally, it is to hear what you can start forecasting things, behaviors, wellness based on the analytics of the data you are collecting. Data privacy act over at this stage is very important. You must make sure these systems comply whether it be in Europe or in Thailand.

What are the benefits to customers and users?

Smart services are enabling knowledge enhancement and education, also within the retail experience. For the healthcare and wellness area, you will probably have some form of monitoring system on your phone, watch, or whatever. Looking back 15 years ago, the amount of data we personally collect through our watches and everything else would be stunning to everyone.

Moreover, there will be an enablement of digital communities that propagate knowledge and experience based on real-time data. Services will become more individualized as more links are created, people centric approach

The last piece is predictive. Both healthcare and insurance firms can now use technology to forecast behavior. It is due to the evolved ability to aggregate, process, and employ AI to derive actionable insights and improve results for people using smart services.

Checklist on your way there.

This is the ladder to climb until you get to the top where you will be able to customize the products and services to individuals in the real estate development, the shops, or whatever industry you are in.

Again, it is a progressive thing from the developer and the designer perspective. You need to find out where your clients are on this ladder with the different services you are talking about to them. Then you try and standardize these onto platforms so that they are easier to replicate.

Why should we care?

Why should we care about smart service? And why should we care about using data?

We are nearly all involved in the selling and creation of digital products and services. A lot of us will produce apps, websites, products, design, etc. And we all have good case studies and references, similar charging mechanisms and rates.

So where is the value for customers?

What we should be looking at as a company is looking at how we can sell smart services and how we can provide value to customers and ourselves based upon actual evidence. Smart services generate an altogether new kind of value for our customers: the value of removing unpleasant surprises from their life. For us, it’s about pushing ourselves further into the life cycles of the products we sell.


Thanks for the thoughtful content from DDX and also to the speakers from DDX and Hitachi who came to share these insights with us.

This is a topic that is so relevant to our everyday lives. We were involved, perhaps unintentionally, from the beginning of the manufacturing process until the products and services arrived in our hands.

Moreover, data about our activities have been collected in order to maximize their use and transform them into the smart solutions we use today. Examples include smart building software solutions, smart watches, smart security, etc.

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