Beckhoff says despite the serious emissions challenges faced by the property and construction industries, the digital transformation of both industries is occurring extremely slowly.

While the debate has raged on as to what constitutes a smart building, Beckhoff believes too many building projects have got the approach to creating a smart building all wrong.

Karl Walker, market development manager at Beckhoff UK, said: “The past decade has seen technology in buildings take huge leaps forward, resulting in more efficient spaces through connected systems. However, these connections are typically made in a point-to-point fashion, making changing or upgrading systems difficult and expensive. These deployments can’t easily facilitate data extraction or analysis either and certainly don’t support industry demands for self-optimising buildings enabled by machine learning.”

Beckhoff believes the way forward is to begin with the end in mind, taking into account who is going to be using the building and what they are going to be doing there.

Walker continued: “If more thought is given to how people use a building, and the potential improvements to technology and working style are taken into consideration, then time and money can be saved on adapting the building in the future. Our industry is gradually coming to realise that while a building is built to stand for 50+ years, the technology systems within it will nearly all be refreshed on three to 10-year cycles.”

With this in mind, Vanti, a Beckhoff UK Integration Partner, is developing Smart Core, a building technology platform and framework designed to standardise the approach people take to integrating systems and make it much more sustainable for the future. After Smart Core has been deployed, clients with the requisite skills can continue to make changes as and when required.

Mike Brooman, CEO at Vanti, said: “We see huge risks for building owners and operators locked in to poorly executed projects and proprietary products, both with associated long-running contracts. As such, the Smart Core Foundation develops approaches to achieving genuinely open building technology interoperability to ensure these expensive assets deliver exceptional user experiences through their entire lifecycle – from concept to demolition.”

The work produced by the Smart Core Foundation will be freely available under a Creative Commons licence to those who wish to use it and anyone making enhancements to it also has to release their work under the same terms.

Brooman concluded: “By establishing a community of people using Smart Core patterns and software, we aim to source more ideas to improve them and get closer to the goal of having a standardised approach to the integration of building technology. Getting to this point will benefit everyone involved in these industries as it will allow us to all speak the same language during design, construction and operation, working better together.”