The future is now! - We know no stop in digitalisation. Our administration building in the Buntweberei is already wirelessly networked thanks to the innovative BlueRange Mesh. Our Head of Digitalisation, Matthias Stein, works daily to give old and new buildings an upgrade with the help of digitalisation. In today's edition of "Doro asks," I would like to learn more about his work and the collaboration with BlueRange.
Question: "Why is it important to go down the path of digitalisation?"
Answer: "Because it is future-proof and creates added value in many areas. Not only the users but also the tenants and operators benefit from the digitalised building. The more digitalised the building is, the more sustainable it becomes. Emissions are saved through optimised consumption. Comfort is also a top priority here. For each workstation, there is the option of adapting it entirely to individual needs with the help of room control. With data collection, it is possible to analyse precisely how much energy is consumed at the individual workplaces. If individual functions are not yet available, they can be added later. In this way, the building can be easily "upgraded" to meet individual needs."
Question: "What all is part of a digitalised building? What can all be controlled?"
Answer: "Above all, elements of room automation can be controlled. These include lighting, shading, heating, cooling, ventilation, and many more. Other features that have nothing to do with room automation are additionally included, such as building access via the app or, as integrated into our LuCas app, the search for persons."
Question: "What are obstacles that slow down or even inhibit the digitisation process?"
Answer: "Comprehensive digitisation requires in-depth planning. For this, it is important to understand the area as a whole. The components must be coordinated individually so that they can communicate with each other. Only then it is possible to control the building. This coordination is easier in theory than in practice since the components partly work with different programming languages."
Question: "Digitisation and the environment... damaging or protective?"
Answer: "Naturally protective! A digitised building is used in an energy-efficient way. It uses only as much energy as necessary and adapts to changes in use."
Question: "How did the collaboration with BlueRange come about?"
Answer: "During the planning process for the administration building in the Buntweberei, it was clear that we wanted to implement new workplace concepts with the help of digitalisation. Over time, we came across BlueRange and decided to use their mesh in the Buntweberei. With that, all the basic prerequisites for the collaboration were already in place."
Question: "What projects do you implement together?"
Answer: "Our pilot project was the digitalisation of the Buntweberei in Eislingen. It continues to be our Smartlab, where new things are tested. Another project is Tower One in Frankfurt, where we installed the lighting control system based on BlueRange. BlueRange itself has also been involved in other projects, such as the Cube Berlin or the ZigZag in Mainz. Future joint projects are already in the starting blocks.
Question: "With its LuCas app, the Buntweberei in Eislingen is the pilot project of Salvia and BlueRange. How does the development of a building control app actually work? What difficulties arise?"
Answer: "Developing an app is a little more complicated than you might think. The classic procedure is to develop, test, update, and keep doing so until the app works as planned. The development can be time-consuming because many coordination meetings have to take place. Software limits also complicate development. In this case, you can either have to find a way to go beyond this limit or work around it. Basically, no fixed timetable is possible when developing an app. Many tests and bug fixes are part of the process."
Question: "What can the LuCas app do?"
Answer: "With the LuCas app, users of the building can make room and workspace bookings. This is possible either on site using a QR code or in advance from anywhere in the world. If you book on-site, you will also be shown room suggestions in the vicinity. In addition, people can search other people in the building. Room elements such as lights, blinds, or temperature can also be controlled individually. External apps can be integrated via a jump. This is how we have enabled our keyless building access. In the future, there will still be a ticket system for failures and problems."
Question: "Were there any problems in developing the people search?"
Answer: "Of course. Originally, the people search was planned differently than it works today. We wanted to use the automatic detection of Bluetooth signals from phones and room sensors to integrate the people search. This was not possible because this function consumes a lot of battery, and Apple and Android devices switch an app to standby if it is permanently active in the background to optimise consumption. It would not have been particularly accurate either, as some sensors in the rooms are generally faster at sending the location signal to the mobile phone, which leads to the wrong room being displayed. On top of that, there is the issue of data protection. By law, it is forbidden to request the location of a person without their permission.
Question: "What was the solution to the problem? How exactly does the people search work now?"
Answer: "The person searching sends a location request to the person to be found. With the help of a push notification, the target person is informed that they are being searched for. In the app, they are then asked whether they want to allow location access and are allowed to freely select the room in which they are located. Only rooms near the target person are displayed. If the target person is not in the building, the searching person is notified that they are not in the building or cannot be reached.
Question: "What does the future hold, what else will BlueRange and Salvia implement together?"
Answer: "Our goal is to make buildings "digitally ready," i.e. to bring the building to the point where data is available that can be bundled in An App to network the building. To implement this, we are looking for partners in every trade: ventilation manufacturers, motion detector manufacturers, etc., who want to integrate the BlueRange protocol. We are also actively promoting our services to the outside world, for example, with the event "Analogue meets digital - experience digitalisation live," where we created an on-site experience in the Buntweberei.