Successful pre-project expanded:

– A market of knowledge and ideas

DataCat started last fall and has already attracted many players from several industries – a clear proof that the project has met a need.

By Mari Kristine Buckholm, 16 December 2020

“Today it is a problem that you do not have a unified and machine-readable system that provides opportunities to categorize data streams coming from sensors and other data sources in a building. This makes utilizing big data for various purposes difficult. It complicates statistical analysis and machine learning, and it inhibits the ambition of displaying real-time data such as noise, traffic, temperature, and indoor climate in a dynamic way in visual models of buildings,” says Professor Bernt Bremdal, Senior Advisor Energy Systems at Smart Innovation Norway.

This is precisely the problem that DataCat (Data Categorization for buildings) will find solutions to. In short, the project is committed to developing and compiling a labelling system and framework to categorize data streams and data in connection with smart buildings.

Hit the nail on the head

“The long-term objective will be to develop solutions and bridge different standards to effectively manage data flow, reuse of data and data sources, cross-link data from different data sources and future sales of data related to buildings,” explains Bremdal. These things will be essential for more precise automation in the future, not to mention simplification of automation and maintenance.

He reveals that the project has so far attracted many players from both real estate and vendor industries, as well as consultants.

“It is quite clear that DataCat has met a need. At the moment, four project proposals are being processed based on the concepts and ideas prepared in the preliminary project. We want as many people as possible to assist in the main projects. You don’t necessarily have to be very active in projects like this. You can get the status of discussion partner and observer and still gain a lot from such a project. The more people that participate, the greater the weight of the results we aim for,” Bremdal points out. He adds:

“This is a great opportunity. Such a pre-project represents a market of knowledge and ideas. People pitch in, challenge it, and introduce new technologies and new utilization ideas.

More user-friendly buildings

Bremdal is clear that the project has consequences not only for the participating actors, but also for the ordinary man, woman and child in a building and/or house. He stresses that it is important to adapt energy consumption and indoor climate using more information from a building or several buildings, both before it is realized and long after it is put into operation.

“How is the building used? We know too little about this, and sensors that assist here are important. If you can optimize land use, you can also reduce energy use. The renter can better understand their own needs, notes Bremdal (photo).

The project partners know that some buildings are vacant or not much used during the week and that several educational buildings have an average occupancy of less than 30 % during a semester, while for example primary schools can have activities from seven o’clock in the morning to midnight.

“We need a lot of data to understand how we can build more efficient and user-friendly buildings, but then we also need to make it easier for ourselves to analyze and preserve such data,” says the professor, who also believes that Covid-19 will change habits in the future.

Passive customer or forward-leaning role model?

“I want to add that the timing compared to other countries is good for this project. We have given the partners the choice to become passive customers of foreign suppliers and pay with ‘Norwegian oil money’, or lean forward to show the way, influence things in their image and form the basis for new growth and export around big data and big data services such as statistical analysis, artificial intelligence, or machine learning.”

Initially, DataCat was due to be concluded at the end of 2020, but due to the major commitment, the project has been extended into 2021.

“We are in a phase where we have established writing teams that contribute to applications based on complementary problem formulations. The objective is to get the specifications and plans processed so that they can form the backbone of an application for project funding,” concludes Bremdal.