Atea’s facilities managers need to be able to act on the insight from many different systems and sensors across the new smart office, so technicians turned to a revolutionary new approach: building a digital twin.
A digital twin is a three-dimensional model of a space that you can move through in the same way that you can move through a virtual world in a first-person video game. In fact, engineers at Atea Stavanger created its digital twin by putting the architect’s 3D building information model into a gaming engine.
“This pairing of the virtual and physical worlds allows analysis of data and monitoring of systems to head off problems before they even occur,” explains Bjelland. “You can prevent downtime, and you can develop new opportunities or even plan for the future by using simulations.”
Sensors in the building feed data into the digital twin. Real-time data from Cisco DNA Spaces displays people counts in meeting rooms and common spaces. Real-time sensor data from Signify multisensors appears in the digital twin as temperature and humidity measurements, while real-time data from the building management system shows how much power the building is using. Data feeds from weather and other informational websites show the current conditions outdoors, alongside information from power generated by solar cells on the roof and CO2 levels per building floor.
FMs can even drill down on a specific feature or product represented in the digital twin to view technical documentation for management, operations and maintenance purposes. Technicians can track when maintenance was last performed on fire extinguishers or in rest rooms.
The Atea Stavanger headquarters uses location-based technology from Cisco and Signify to give employees and facilities managers new services. For employees, indoor navigation can reduce the amount of time spent searching for available meeting rooms or an open desk. For facilities managers, space optimisation reveals traffic patterns, hot spots and underutilised areas within the building, allowing workspace planners to design the ultimate floorplan based on understanding where people tend to hang out.
The indoor location system in the Atea building delivers location-based services to employees, accurate to 50cm, making it possible to locate people and resources with a high degree of accuracy. Atea has integrated this technology with calendars and scheduling, allowing employees to easily find and book free rooms to reduce the amount of time wasted walking around searching for available meeting spaces – up to 30 minutes per day per employee, according to one industry estimate.
Taking this one step further for facilities managers, the technology uses the meeting room cameras to count the number of people, automatically adjusting conditions in meeting rooms based on occupancy and other factors. For example, the system automatically kicks in when there are more than 12 people in the room, or when CO2 levels rise above the threshold defined for maximum comfort and alertness.
Getting the proper light throughout the day is crucial for maintaining the human body’s natural circadian rhythm, which governs alertness and a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Because people spend so much time indoors, especially in office environments, artificial lighting can disrupt this rhythm and interfere with employees’ concentration, energy, and productiveness.
To support employee wellbeing at Atea Stavanger, a glass-roofed atrium in the centre of the building introduces generous amounts of natural light. The atrium roof also features a bio-adaptive lighting application to reinforce employees’ circadian health.
The application uses a lighting ‘recipe’ based on research into the effect of light on the human circadian cycle throughout the day. The lighting slowly changes intensity and colour temperature depending on the hour of the day – brighter, bluer light in the morning to energise, softer, redder light towards the end of the working day to relax, for example. The system runs automatically so that employees don’t need to think about it, but they reap the benefits in terms of enhanced alertness, comfort and productivity.
Facilities managers play a crucial role in delivering the best employee experience possible, and with the advent of these new technology solutions, that experience can be more intuitive than ever before. “You can have all the machines and the sensors and everything, but as long as the employees are not happy with it, you’re unsuccessful,” says Espen Riska.