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Bosch Energy and Building Solutions Global
Smart Buildings

4 pillars for transparent, digital buildings

The key to meeting current challenges in connection with managing and operating buildings – which include climbing energy costs, new reporting requirements, and evolving work models – is to achieve greater transparency across the board. In order for systems to perform optimally, it’s essential to analyze all of their processes in context in the particular buildings and rooms in each case.

4 pillars for transparent, digital buildings

To achieve this degree of transparency, it’s important to evaluate how various building systems interact in context and seamlessly monitor their performance. When data is evaluated in the right context, it yields ideal synergies of technology and people. Equipment runs better, energy consumption and costs diminish, and less maintenance is required. The bottom line is that users enjoy comfortable, sustainable workplaces and operators smooth, problem-free processes.

4 pillars: the digital basis for greater transparency

To shed light on buildings and all of their processes, it’s vital for them to be digitalized.
A digital building essentially consists of 4 pillars that in turn comprise 11 different building blocks.

Infographic, Connectivity between cloud and devices in the building

1. Connectivity between devices and the cloud

In order to digitally evaluate the data generated by building systems, the devices of domain-specific systems must be reliably linked to the cloud. Data generated in a device first flows via a secure connection to edge and/or IoT gateways. There it is prefiltered and/or aggregated so that only relevant data continues on to the cloud. The point of this is to pare the overall data volume to manageable levels. The gateway consolidates all protocols so that data from equipment of different makes can be analyzed together, and then passes the resulting pre-processed data to the cloud where it is continuously and thoroughly evaluated to derive appropriate recommendations for action by users. The gateways also monitor data flowing in the opposite direction to keep all IT systems and other equipment safe and secure.

Visualization of a building in a digital building twin, software

2. Digital building twin

To obtain a complete, faithful image of a building, the described physical operational and maintenance view is transformed into a digital counterpart in real time. The resulting “digital building twin” receives a constant stream of data from the building’s systems and monitors, which it analyzes using a defined system process that emulates the corresponding real-world context. It highlights interconnections among individual systems and enables early-stage detection of any inefficiencies or possible malfunctions. Interpretation of the data is facilitated by considering it in the context of a particular building or room. For example, an indoor temperature of 23°C can mean different things for a server room and an office. The digital building twin is based on semantic models that describe a building and the interconnections among its systems in encyclopedic detail.

Laptop with desktop view, building management with time series and forecasts

3. Time series for predictive maintenance

Ongoing capture and evaluation of data in a particular context also makes it possible to view system performance over time. Semantically qualified time series are analyzed to reveal anomalies and rapidly detect and predict malfunctions. The ability to almost instantaneously take action when required considerably reduces maintenance-related work and expenditures. It eliminates unnecessary work on the one hand while enabling rapid responses when required on the other, thus preventing incipient problems from snowballing through downstream processes and possibly causing major breakdowns. Semantic prequalification and assessment in the context of a building or room instantly reveals exactly where steps need to be taken. “Predictive maintenance” thus makes it easier to effectively plan maintenance work.

Augmented reality application of a fire detector test

4. Simulation of ideal conditions

On the basis of existing time series, a building twin can be used to simulate scenarios and generate recommendations for efficient and comfortable building operation. It can reveal, for example, how much energy could be saved under certain conditions (for example, if the heating and lighting were turned off in rooms and/or on floors that aren’t in use) or identify the optimal indoor temperature (such as by linking booking and heating systems). It’s up to the users and operators in each case to decide whether the corresponding actions should be partly or completely automated. Even remote maintenance with “augmented reality” becomes possible when service technicians can access all required data and perform maintenance tasks remotely. The importance of external data, such as weather forecasts or information from outside systems, is also growing for identifying the parameters for optimal building operation.


What is the digital foundation of a connected, integrated and intelligent building? Vice President, CTO and Chief Architect Andreas Mauer takes us on a journey on what is required to make commercial buildings more comfortable, efficient and sustainable. Bosch Connected World, November 2022.

NEXOSPACE: The digital foundation for transparent buildings

NEXOSPACE is the digital foundation for digitalized, transparent buildings. NEXO stands for connection, while SPACE describes the areas in and around different types of buildings. NEXOSPACE is a suite of intelligent, networked, and integrated digital IoT services that provide an overview and enable control of a building’s technical systems.

Current challenges: Covid-19, costs, ESG

Many market drivers are currently calling for and promoting the digitalization of buildings. The Covid-19 pandemic has spawned new ways of working together and changed the degree to which office buildings are actually used. Owners of large office facilities are facing the challenge of either flexibly organizing how space is used or reducing it.

Another important factor that is now encouraging investments to digitalize office buildings is the fact that erratic use incurs greater energy and operating costs. In many cases, a lack of transparency regarding the actually required amounts of heat, lighting, electric power and other relevant systems results in unnecessary expenditures for energy. In a worst-case scenario, this can lead to heated, brightly lit office floors where no one actually works.

Besides occupancy and actual requirements, another key to operating buildings efficiently is awareness of how systems degrade. Over the course of time, all office systems are subject to wear and tear. This diminishes their efficiency, affecting everything from sensors across actuators, controllers, and building automation units all the way to video monitoring and access control systems. Even if they were thoroughly and intelligently planned at the outset, regular checks and adjustments are vital for ensuring that they continue to run efficiently over the long term.

Last but not least, the ESG criteria have given rise to new reporting obligations for achieving sustainability targets in the European Union and elsewhere. Here too, there are calls for greater transparency of energy consumption and possibilities for improving the situation.