Proximus develops ecosystem with IoT partners

Published on 18/03/2019 in Solutions & services

Proximus develops ecosystem with IoT partners

A smart building does far more than simply keep its energy consumption under control. IoT applications help create an environment in which we can live more comfortably and work more efficiently.

“A smart building is about more than just the technology used,” says Alex Lorette, Director Enterprise Solutions at Proximus. “The smart nature of a building can be seen in the goals you strive to attain, not just for the building itself – such as greater energy efficiency – but above all, for the people who live and work there. A smart building provides a pleasant and productive working environment.”

Smart technology has an important supporting role to play here. However, every situation is different. There is no such thing as one size fits all. “The actual situation determines the choice of the technology used,” Alex explains. The starting-point with a new building is totally different from a renovation project. “Nevertheless, two trends usually come to the fore: optimization of energy consumption (smart energy) and the use made of the available surface area (smart workplace).”

Discover IoT applications that help create an environment in which we can live more comfortably and work more efficiently.

IoT applications

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Sensors, data and connectivity

The Internet of Things (IoT) plays a key role in a smart building. “We make a distinction here between three main fields,” says Alex. “First of all, there are hospitality applications These are applications that guide the employee or visitor efficiently to the right place, such as a parking spot or a meeting room. The availability of Wi-Fi is important here, but so are digital signage applications.”

The second area is that of the smart workplace. The use of sensors is key here. “Let’s say someone has booked a meeting room, but a quarter of an hour after the time indicated, a sensor has still not recorded the presence of any people. In that case, the application can decide to cancel the booking and make the meeting room available again.”

The third type of IoT applications relates to the general efficiency of the building, including energy consumption. “The heating or air conditioning can be adjusted on the basis of the weather forecast and the number of people expected”. Finally, IoT can also be used to track objects in the workplace more effectively: for example in a hospital or on a production site, sensors can indicate very quickly where particular devices can be found.”

Of course, the IoT applications are only the final element in a broader approach. A fair amount of infrastructure is needed for this, not only in the building but also between the building and the outside world. Proximus resolves this issue, among other things, by providing fiberglass as far as the building. Inside the building, too, connectivity is essential: via traditional cabling or Wi-Fi, but more and more with fiberglass and indoor mobile coverage.

The smart nature of a building is seen not in the technology used, but in the goals you are trying to attain, such as energy efficiency, a pleasant living area and a productive working environment.

Alex Lorette, Director Enterprise Solutions at Proximus

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Ecosystem

“For the general public, the smart building concept was, until recently, almost exclusively linked to energy efficiency,” says Alex. “But with IoT, you can do much more. It's about using the data that you have available intelligently.” Now that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are making an appearance, a great many more possibilities are opening up. “The sensors provide data. With new technology, we are finding patterns in these data. Among other things, that allows a more proactive mindset. With IoT and smart buildings, we really are just at the beginning.”

Cooperation and co-creation are essential to come up with new applications quickly. “Various parties combine their expertise in an ecosystem and that means they can make progress far faster,” Alex explains. “That’s the Proximus vision, as well. We work on open platforms, where we develop services with project partners and customers. In this way, design thinking is also an indispensable element in the future of the smart building.”

Alex Lorette studied commercial engineering in Louvain-la-Neuve. He has worked at Proximus for almost twenty years and, since 2013, as Director Enterprise Solutions.

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