How to start thinking smart

1 Bligh Street, NSW. Dexus and Cbus Property. 6 Star Green Star - Office As Built v2.

27 Jul 2021

“Sustainability in the built environment is not possible without smart.”

These were the powerful words of Smart Cities Council’s Adam Beck earlier in the year during our TRANSFORM webinar on data in the built environment. How has the pandemic propelled property technology and what does this mean for sustainability specialists? Here are four thoughts to ponder…

1. Sensors support post-COVID cities: Meshed’s Catherine Caruana-McManus has seen an “acceleration of real-time sensing of things that matter to people” over the last 12 months. Meshed is working with 24 councils to gather “aggregated and anonymised data” of people movements to understand the impact of COVID-19 at the “hyper-localised level”. So is Chris Isles, Economic Development Manager at Brisbane City Council. He said matching anonymised expenditure data with foot traffic and activity data has helped his council to understand how Brisbane “has redistributed itself”.

2. Industry collaboration can set common standards: Building owners are also investing in individual counters and sensors, Chris said. “But we don’t want 20 companies with 20 different ways to collect the data. So, let’s agree on a methodology that is vendor-neutral and brings the data together in one place. It’s a perfect opportunity for all the major building owners to come together.”

3. LiDAR should be on your radar: LiDAR, or light detection and ranging, is a popular remote sensing method used for measuring exact distances. LiDAR, already used in self-driving cars, robotics, drones and augmented reality headsets, is being embedded into Apple’s newest iPhones. The “omni-presence of LiDAR” will enhance 3D capability and modelling, said Dr Adam Mowlam, Strategic Lead for Digital Twin in the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. LiDAR will also generate “massive” amounts of data. “Regardless of what governments choose to do, it will hit us very quickly.”

4. Measure what matters is a good mantra: Leveraging data will support better business decisions. “When you've got the data, you can make correct decisions – whether that’s planning for operational maintenance or avoiding water leakage,” Adam Mowlam said. Catherine Caruana-McManus agreed: “You can’t plan forward if you don’t have data.” Where do you start? “Start measuring what matters now and figure out what to do with the data down the track,” Chris said.

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