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The smart building that even knows the best spot to park

Attendees at this year’s Smart Building Conference at ISE 2016 got the story behind what has been called “the world’s smartest building.” Deloitte’s Amsterdam headquarters, known as The Edge – a 40,000sqm building just a short distance from the RAI Exhibition and Conference Centre – not only looks stunning, but is packed with technology that is transforming the lives of Deloitte’s employees.

Keynote speaker Erik Ubels is products and innovation director at OVG, the company that designed and developed The Edge. “We wanted to make a building that was sustainable, innovative and the best place to work,” he said.

The Edge uses solar power for heating, cooling and powering devices such as laptops, and a Philips smart LED lighting system, while two deep-water bore holes help cool and heat the building. All this has helped The Edge achieve a BREEAM (an industry-standard rating) sustainability score of 98.4, the highest recorded score.

“Almost everything is connected to the internet − lockers, chairs, desks, coffee machines − there are 28,000 sensors around the building. These provide us with Big Data we can use to make the building even more efficient,” said Ubels. Employees can control multiple devices and their working environment (such as the lighting) using a special app on their smartphone. The app also learns about the user, for example, the temperature they prefer for working. “The idea is for the building to help people become smarter, more effective, more productive and more sustainable,” said Ubels.

The app can even advise employees who drive to work on the best time to leave home, depending on traffic and weather conditions – and when they arrive, the best place to park the car. It’s all very impressive, but Ubels told the ISE Daily that there is more to come: “We’re working with another company to develop new localisation technology that would, for example, tell you that the coffee machine was empty before you left your desk.”