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22 April 2018
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AI WILL HELP WORKPLACES ‘THINK FOR THEMSELVES’

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Offices will adapt to workers © iStock

14 September 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal


Buildings are only decades away from being able to adapt themselves to an occupant’s needs, delegates at this week’s CoreNet conference heard.


In a session titled ‘AI & Machines: A curse or blessing for corporate real estate?’ a panel discussed how long it would take to have a building that can “think for itself, have emotional intelligence and a self-consciousness” so if an occupant enters a building, stressed because of a terrible commute, it would be able to modify the environment to calm the occupant down.

 

Roksana Fasovska, COO, co-founder of Providensal, predicted this would happen soon.

 

She said: “I don’t think we are that far off to be honest… strong AI is referring to human level intelligence… there is still a lot of data and analysis that would need to go into a model [of this kind] that would mean a building would need to know what kind of music to play after a stressful commute. I think it would be pretty soon that that would be able to happen.”

 

Michael Ewert, head of business intelligence and business solutions of EMEA at real estate firm JLL, said “to enable this, corporations would have to embrace the fact that buildings need to be smarter and make an investment”.

 

“We are seeing technology starting to solve some of these problems, but it’s about combining solutions into one product or experience,” said Ewert.

 

He added: “The second piece is solving the challenge of buildings being able to communicate with each other.

 

“The notion of the smart building and self-managing property is heavily reliant on the fact that those buildings are connected to each other somehow. This requires a change in the perception in how I feel as a person, when the building knows I am arriving – it would require the building to be connected to the internet, for example.

 

“This goes back to cybersecurity issues. For instance, a hacker could start stopping an elevator because someone important is in the building. It’s these kind of problems that need to be solved. The technology is there but the adoption, mindset and cultural shift will take 10 to 15 years [for it to happen].”