"Big Data" is the buzzword in almost every industry, and we are keenly aware of the value personally. From Google Maps to Wikipedia, we leverage the world's database in almost every area of our lives. And while the AEC industry talks a lot about Building Information Modeling (BIM), we tend to focus more on the model than the building information.
There are multiple breakthroughs in the things people measure and the apps available to process the data. (Anyone own a FitBit?) But those measurements are just now being explored in the built environment. David Fano—a building information consultant with Case, Inc—shared the following futurecast with the Global Design Alliance for what is on the horizon for Big Data and AEC professionals:
- Spatial Usage Metrics. Gathering information on how people use a space can drive evidence-based design. The themed entertainment industry is already using RFID sensors to track how people use their venues; yet this technology can be leveraged in every type of built environment. Indoor positioning and user tracking is possible via cellphone and Wi-Fi triangulations and there are sensors of every type available to measure usage.
- Building Data Monetization. Google has gone beyond scanning the streetscapes to scanning the interiors of some buildings. The AEC industry has data for the buildings, but much of it is sitting in drawing storage or on hard drives. In the near future, we will begin to see firms find ways to provide access and monetize this.
- Facility API's. Look for firms to leverage the BIM to provide managed services and to write the apps that make this possible. Some of the most complex buildings are still managed with MSExcel spreadsheets. This will mature in the near future.
Fano highlighted that data is a raw, renewable resource…and that the future belongs to those who learn to work with it.
By Cathy Hutchison
By Cathy Hutchison