Now that I have relocated to the Houston area, I can participate in local events far from Silicon Valley. On Thursday, April 16, Microsoft had an IoT (Internet of Things) in Action conference at the JW Marriott in downtown Houston. Microsoft extolled the virtues of their Microsoft Azure platform for IoT. Microsoft partners showcased their solutions that they had built using the Azure platform.
The event was kicked off by the Honorable Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston.
The mayor shared some fun facts about Houston:
- Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States.
- It is second only to New York City in headquarters for Fortune 100 companies.
- Houston is a smart city, winner of the 2019 International Data Corporation (IDC) Smart City of America award for smart buildings.
- Houston is a city of innovation. Coordinating the moon landing and the first heart transplant took place in Houston.
The mayor was there to encourage attendees to be part of Houston's smart city initiatives that leverage IoT technology.
I was there to see what types of IoT solutions were being provided. Autodesk makes software for customers who make things. Our customers are part of three industries:
- Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC)
- Product Design and Manufacturing (PD&M)
- Media and Entertainment (M&E)
so what they make includes high-performance cars, towering skyscrapers, smartphones, and blockbuster films. The solutions highlighted at the IoT conference could add value to many of these things, but for this blog article, I have decided to focus on things from the AEC industry.
At its highest level, the AEC industry has three phases:
It is quite typical for IoT to be applied in the BUILD and OPERATE phases where what is learned is fed back into those phases:
Some examples of this include:
- BUILD: Data from video cameras can determine if construction workers are not wearing their safety equipment. Corrective action can be taken while the building is still being built.
- OPERATE: Motion sensors in conference rooms can determine when they are not in use and throttle thermostat settings to reduce operational energy costs.
In these two examples, what is sensed during the phase is acted upon in the same phase. I was curious if data collected via IoT services in those phases could also be aggregated and analyzed using artificial intelligence with the resulting insights being fed back into the design phase:
At the conference, I found that data from:
- TrackingforLess from Synnex could help city planners layout roadways more effectively.
- ActiveShield from BeSafe can help architects design buildings to more effectively handle emergencies.
- Naviz Analytics nVino could help farmers design their fields to maximize yields.
- Avnet Asset Monitoring can help oil experts configure oil rigs to minimize maintenance costs.
- T4G Predictive Maintenance for Wind Farms could help energy consultants recommend where wind-based energy is a viable alternative to fossil fuels.
- Smart Healthcare from Avnet can help hospital administrators make recommendations to architects on hospital design.
- Emerson Valve Connected Services could help plant designers minimize noise that impacts workers' health.
- Avnet Smart Retail can help interior designers with store layout to streamline the buying experience.
- Avnet Smart Building could help architects avoid designing buildings that result in unmet demands for occupants.
- Datahoist can help engineers ensure that skyscrapers have an optimal number of elevators.
- Mobilya could help energy analysts design cooling and heating systems that minimize energy use.
As we move our software from providing documentation that is the basis for action (e.g., plans that allow construction to happen with precision) to providing insight that is the basis for decision making (e.g., the selection of materials based on predicted cost), it is great that data captured from as-builts using IoT technology can be included in that decision-making process during design.
If we had the insights from these IoT services available, how would you like to see them exposed in AutoCAD and Revit to help you with your design process?
Requesting feedback on the internet of things is alive in the lab.