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How Smart Data Has Changed Building Planning as We Know It

We create around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day and more than 90% of that data has actually been created during the last couple of years alone.

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There isn’t a thing we do today that doesn’t generate data, whether it’s making digital pictures and videos, sending e-mails, posting on social media, swiping credit cards and thus making transaction records, requesting GPS signals and Google Maps directions, you name it. All this data we generate in called Big Data and a part of it is being used to today to transform the way we design, test out and construct buildings.

Even our environment has begun to generate data, with all the smart refrigerators, thermostats and other internet connected that are communicating over the Internet of things and relaying gathered data. As the amount of generated data increases over time, many city governors have started utilizing it in order to plan for and manage their cities more efficiently, turning them into real-life examples of Smart Cities. But how exactly is this Big Data being used and what does this mean for the future of building planning as we know it?

Big Data vs Smart Data

Big Data is essentially meaningless. Big Data refers to enormous sets of user-generated data that can be used to improve many things, from the way businesses, operate to the way cities are designed and developed. But in order for this Big Data to become usable, it needs to be sifted through and condensed into actionable and smart data. This process extracts the relevant data and inserts it into a specific business workflow with the intent of automating particular business transactions.

Whereas Big Data focuses on the amount of information at our disposal, smart data focuses more on small sets of actionable data that can be used to address various business challenges. Smart Data is basically Big Data transformed into Actionable Data, making it available for a variety of real-time business applications and process optimizations. Architects, for example, are moving away from the traditional pen and paper approach used to design buildings for personal use and most of them are finding themselves developing buildings used to host big data servers and warehouses and other, equipment-oriented buildings.

It Smart Data affecting building planning?

These large amounts of data are helping architects design more efficient and safer buildings or allowing them to experiment with new, unique designs. Urban planners and city designers are using big and smart data in order to meet the increasingly complex needs of the average user, experiment with and create models using that data, analyzing it and improving local or national policy for building design and implementation and using it to speed up the development processes and improve transparency.

As the amount of data, as well as the speed and volume with which it’s becoming available rises, this opens new doors for practitioners and provides them with a better understanding of people, places, and objects they can use to improve their design process. These are just some of the many benefits provided by Big Data and transforming it into smart and actionable data will allow us to develop urban areas more efficiently and sustainably. 

Design and data

Big and smart data are not only changing the way architecture industry is working, but also the way we work with it. People now want smart buildings capable of providing them with big stores of information and user-generated data. Companies want this data because they can use it to improve their performance, cut back on unnecessary expenses and increase their revenues, so why shouldn’t the same process be used to improve our cities and urban playgrounds?

Architects can use data to match user needs with better precision. The way people currently use infrastructure and public spaces can be used to generate new forms or real-time data and provide a far better understanding of their urban needs and look for new ways of meeting those needs with more efficient and data-driven design process. Designers and building planners can save a lot of time and resources simply by using information and data modeling tools to experiment with and test out their designs well before starting construction.

TDK Formwork is an excellent example of this data-driven behavior and this company relies on data for advice and project management consultations in order to cut down on the time needed to assemble, install and maintain their formwork. This approach helps them, and all other data-oriented companies, to identify any potential issues with the project and model their solutions accordingly and could one-day help cities improve their planning process and deliver services to citizens more efficiently.

Working with data

Data can be generated by a number of different sources, including the building information itself used for design and construction, building management systems and utility-related services, infrastructure, transport and enterprise systems such as performance reporting, purchasing systems, work schedules, etc. Analytical technologies, improved data standards, and visualization techniques have all made sifting through large amounts of data more manageable and allow decision makers to interrogate and understand complex data coming from a variety of different sources.

New, smart technologies have helped us improve the collection, storage, and distribution of large amounts of data and allowed us to analyze the interaction of various individual processes in relations to each other, instead of observing them in isolation. Interconnected technologies such as automated systems, intelligent management systems and networked appliances are starting to shape the world as we know it and make our building much more intelligent, responsive and efficient.

However, as built environment data is being generated, there are some questions that need to be answered before completely relying on it for building entire city infrastructures. How will companies verify their data? How will that data be exchanged with panthers and others parties working on the same project? Who is responsible for all that data and who will safeguard it against security breaches? Will companies now be required to hire a data scientist to handle their big data?

 

These are just some of the questions whose answers will have a large impact on the future of big and smart data. While large amounts of data are considered as ideal opportunities for building designers and city planners to use actual data and dedicated digital tools to improve on their designs and test out their theories, we have only scratched the surface of big data and data-oriented technologies. Granted, they can be used for improvement, but only with the help of governments, environmental professionals and technology experts working together towards a single goal of improvement and efficiency.

There isn’t a thing we do today that doesn’t generate data, whether it’s making digital pictures and videos, sending e-mails, posting on social media, swiping credit cards and thus making transaction records, requesting GPS signals and Google Maps directions, you name it. All this data we generate in called Big Data and a part of it is being used to today to transform the way we design, test out and construct buildings.

Even our environment has begun to generate data, with all the smart refrigerators, thermostats and other internet connected that are communicating over the Internet of things and relaying gathered data. As the amount of generated data increases over time, many city governors have started utilizing it in order to plan for and manage their cities more efficiently, turning them into real-life examples of Smart Cities. But how exactly is this Big Data being used and what does this mean for the future of building planning as we know it?

Big Data vs Smart Data

Big Data is essentially meaningless. Big Data refers to enormous sets of user-generated data that can be used to improve many things, from the way businesses, operate to the way cities are designed and developed. But in order for this Big Data to become usable, it needs to be sifted through and condensed into actionable and smart data. This process extracts the relevant data and inserts it into a specific business workflow with the intent of automating particular business transactions.

Whereas Big Data focuses on the amount of information at our disposal, smart data focuses more on small sets of actionable data that can be used to address various business challenges. Smart Data is basically Big Data transformed into Actionable Data, making it available for a variety of real-time business applications and process optimizations. Architects, for example, are moving away from the traditional pen and paper approach used to design buildings for personal use and most of them are finding themselves developing buildings used to host big data servers and warehouses and other, equipment-oriented buildings.

It Smart Data affecting building planning?

These large amounts of data are helping architects design more efficient and safer buildings or allowing them to experiment with new, unique designs. Urban planners and city designers are using big and smart data in order to meet the increasingly complex needs of the average user, experiment with and create models using that data, analyzing it and improving local or national policy for building design and implementation and using it to speed up the development processes and improve transparency.

As the amount of data, as well as the speed and volume with which it’s becoming available rises, this opens new doors for practitioners and provides them with a better understanding of people, places, and objects they can use to improve their design process. These are just some of the many benefits provided by Big Data and transforming it into smart and actionable data will allow us to develop urban areas more efficiently and sustainably. 

Design and data

Big and smart data are not only changing the way architecture industry is working, but also the way we work with it. People now want smart buildings capable of providing them with big stores of information and user-generated data. Companies want this data because they can use it to improve their performance, cut back on unnecessary expenses and increase their revenues, so why shouldn’t the same process be used to improve our cities and urban playgrounds?

Architects can use data to match user needs with better precision. The way people currently use infrastructure and public spaces can be used to generate new forms or real-time data and provide a far better understanding of their urban needs and look for new ways of meeting those needs with more efficient and data-driven design process. Designers and building planners can save a lot of time and resources simply by using information and data modeling tools to experiment with and test out their designs well before starting construction.

TDK Formwork is an excellent example of this data-driven behavior and this company relies on data for advice and project management consultations in order to cut down on the time needed to assemble, install and maintain their formwork. This approach helps them, and all other data-oriented companies, to identify any potential issues with the project and model their solutions accordingly and could one-day help cities improve their planning process and deliver services to citizens more efficiently.

Working with data

Data can be generated by a number of different sources, including the building information itself used for design and construction, building management systems and utility-related services, infrastructure, transport and enterprise systems such as performance reporting, purchasing systems, work schedules, etc. Analytical technologies, improved data standards, and visualization techniques have all made sifting through large amounts of data more manageable and allow decision makers to interrogate and understand complex data coming from a variety of different sources.

New, smart technologies have helped us improve the collection, storage, and distribution of large amounts of data and allowed us to analyze the interaction of various individual processes in relations to each other, instead of observing them in isolation. Interconnected technologies such as automated systems, intelligent management systems and networked appliances are starting to shape the world as we know it and make our building much more intelligent, responsive and efficient.

However, as built environment data is being generated, there are some questions that need to be answered before completely relying on it for building entire city infrastructures. How will companies verify their data? How will that data be exchanged with panthers and others parties working on the same project? Who is responsible for all that data and who will safeguard it against security breaches? Will companies now be required to hire a data scientist to handle their big data?

These are just some of the questions whose answers will have a large impact on the future of big and smart data. While large amounts of data are considered as ideal opportunities for building designers and city planners to use actual data and dedicated digital tools to improve on their designs and test out their theories, we have only scratched the surface of big data and data-oriented technologies. Granted, they can be used for improvement, but only with the help of governments, environmental professionals and technology experts working together towards a single goal of improvement and efficiency.

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Page last edited Dec 11, 2017 History

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