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University develops brainy buildings

Big data and apps will be used to intelligently change the internal environment

From left: Karl Mahoney, Professor Jon Whittle, Steve Dimopoulos and Marc Parlange
From left: Karl Mahoney, Professor Jon Whittle, Steve Dimopoulos and Marc Parlange

Monash University in Australia is collaborating with Honeywell Building Solutions to create what claims to be one of the world’s first cognitive office buildings.


It will use big data and smartphones to enable its buildings to intelligently and automatically change the internal environment and transform the way staff and students live, work and learn as well as how the building is managed.


Honeywell will deploy its Honeywell Vector Occupant app across the Clayton Campus to collect data on how staff and students rate spaces, how they navigate buildings, report faults, and how often and when buildings are accessed.


The data will feed into Honeywell’s Command and Control suite based in the Future Control Room at Monash to connect key personnel with data visualisations. It will provide simple, intuitive displays to building operations teams and allow them to enhance facilities and security management, and to create comfortable spaces for students and staff while reducing energy consumption.


The research outcomes will contribute to the broader Monash University Net Zero initiative, in which Monash aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030, one of the most ambitious projects of its kind undertaken by an Australian university.


Monash faculty of IT dean, Professor Jon Whittle said the size of the Clayton Campus and its energy requirements are similar to a small city making it the perfect place to establish a cognitive building environment.


“As Australia’s largest university, with more than 78,000 students, 16,000 staff and over 150 buildings spread across four domestic campuses, we’re a significant consumer of energy,” he said.


“The team at Monash, working together with Honeywell, are changing the way building performance data can be used to help mitigate risk, enhance business continuity and reduce operational costs,” said Professor Whittle.


Karl Mahoney, vice president of Honeywell Building Solutions Asia Pacific, says that the data gathered from their buildings will allow Monash to achieve unprecedented levels of optimisation.


He added: “Using Monash University buildings, we want to bring a new level of intelligence – a brain if you will – allowing them to service their occupants in ways we might never have thought possible. This first research project is a great vehicle for Honeywell working alongside Monash IT experts and students to solve real challenges for the University.”


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