Oliver has been leading the Smart Buildings Division of ABB since 2018. With a passion for digitalization, his experience spans electrical distribution including smart grid and smart metering, building technologies including building automation and smart homes, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure and industry automation.

How did you become involved in the Smart Buildings industry?

I’ve been fortunate to work in ‘smart’ industries essentially for my entire career, first in smart power distribution, then smart metering and now in smart buildings. The customers are different, but the underlying technologies and business models have many similarities.

What excites you about the Smart Buildings industry?

Very few industries will see a similar degree of transformation ahead in the current decade as Smart Buildings, with the introduction of new smart technologies which significantly improve the quality, safety, comfort and productivity in commercial and residential buildings.

Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of?

Artificial Intelligence for adaptable buildings is a certainly a key emerging technology, as it can help optimize the use of all the data collected by smart IoT devices. Touch-free interfaces are another, highly relevant technology particularly in the context of the pandemic and the need for enhanced hygiene. And technologies like space management, intelligent lighting, heating and ventilation solutions will improve employee productivity in a post-pandemic world.

What services does your organisation offer?

ABB has been a technology pioneer for 130 years, and so we offer extensive expertise in smart building electrification and integration.

What are the benefits of a smart building?

There are many, and I’ve already touched on a few… safety, security, comfort are always at the top of the list. And being able to automatically control your building has positive impacts on productivity too. We are also focused on the possibilities for enhancing energy efficiency, given that buildings consume more than 30 percent of the world’s energy and contribute almost 40 percent of global carbon emissions; there is a real drive to explore and invest in technology that helps progress towards a lower carbon future. Governments worldwide are imposing tighter restrictions on building use, energy consumption and emissions and this is the new reality that investors, asset owners, facilities managers and others are facing and where we see a lot of potential for smart building tech to help provide solutions through more efficient energy management.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career?

My first manager. I learned from him about the benefits of demonstrating managerial courage and risk taking.

What is the question you are asked most often in your business life?

Do you agree?

What are the best / worst things about your job?

The best thing is that – despite of the current pandemic – there is no day without a lot of virtual interactions with colleagues, customers and partners. The worst thing is, that everything is only virtual.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Think about which technological innovation can create further value for Smarter Cities and Smarter Buildings in the future. And then, how can this innovation contribute to decarbonization, circular economy, or other key sustainability issues? We need new products and solutions, new business models, and people willing to shake up the industry with new ideas.

What living person do you admire and why?

All the people working selflessly in aid organizations around the world.

Where would you most live to live?

Sydney, Australia

What is your favourite book?

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

How do you relax?

In front of my fireplace

What sports team do you support?

Arminia Bielefeld

What is your ‘desert island disc’?

African Queen from 2Baba

What is your ideal holiday?

A full week of canoeing or rafting on a remote river without cellular reception.