This video is an interview with Thomas Stadler, Bouygues Energies & Services Switzerland Chief Digital & Innovation Officer in which he answers questions about an ICONICS/Microsoft digital twins pilot project, in particular what the company wants to do with the software and what sort of benefits it expects to get out of the project.

Video Transcript

[0:00] Spyros Sakellariadis, ICONICS Global Director of IoT Business Development

The next thing I want to show you is an interview with a construction company in France called Bouygues that is deploying our latest software which is based on Microsoft digital twins. This is a pilot that's just starting up. And I want to play an interview with Bouygues as they talk about what it is they want to do with the software and what sort of benefits they expect to get. 

[0:56] Thomas Stadler, Bouygues Energies & Services Switzerland Chief Digital & Innovation Officer

My pleasure, Bouygues and Services Switzerland is a subsidiary of Bouygues Energies and Services. We are part of the Bouygues group, a leading construction company headquartered in Paris, as “Energy and Services” already states in our name, we are the part of Bouygues concentrating on energy generation, transportation, as well as all services around a building from facility management, to HVAC, and of course, building automation. In Switzerland, we are about 5000 employees, and have a revenue of about a billion. We are the leading independent provider for building automation and also provide industrial automation to our customers. 

[1:44] Could you please describe some of the challenges you are trying to address? 

Our challenges are that we see more and more customers asking for integrated solutions. Many customers have multiple building automation systems in their buildings and need to manage multiple buildings. Often in the building itself, they have a variety of building management systems sensors and alike. So, getting an understanding of what is actually happening in the building and how to manage and automate the building is a challenge for our customers. Even more so, if you consider like carbon dioxide reductions and energy management considerations that you want to execute your strategies across a portfolio of systems or buildings. So, what we are looking for is a solution we can offer to our customers where we can ensure that they can run their building, their buildings seamlessly, which means we need to be able to orchestrate building automation systems and other systems in the building seamlessly in order to be able to apply our strategies and fulfill the customer requests on a centralized automated building management.

[3:08] Where is the project located and what is the ultimate goals of the project? 

We have multiple systems in one building, and we also have another site in France also providing information into the same POS platform. So, to make sure that we would be able to prove that the concept is working, that we can have multiple buildings connected via the ICONICS digital twin into that platform to do all the wonderful things of orchestration, visualization, analytics in one place.

[3:49] What are the next steps of the project? 

So, we are already planning the next phase. The next phase for our proof of concept will be to add more systems. It's an easy one, and to get a pilot customer to roll the system out to them, at least multiple buildings, not just one in order to be able to test the application of an overarching strategy. So, the building orchestration system: orchestration is the key word here. We want to be sure that if a customer decides, for whatever reason energy consumption CO2 he wants to apply one rule to all buildings, that we can implement this rule, that we have the sensors and the actors available to really make this happen from a strategic directive down to the individual building management system coherently in one go without going to multiple buildings, hundreds of buildings in some cases, and ensure that the strategy will be implemented. To make a very simple example, if you decide that Friday is the home office day, you could say, “Okay, starting Thursday evening, we reduce the ventilation, the heating, the cooling for all our buildings, and we ramped up again on Sunday”. In our vision, with a building orchestration system, you can do this once in our Azure ICONICS platform, you apply that rule, and automatically, all those building management systems, the other sensors work to ensure that that strategy will be implemented across the portfolio of all the buildings. So, to measure where we are, and then to actually regulate to act upon the strategy.

[6:01] How would you describe what digital twins is doing for you in your project and how are you applying it? 

Well, we need a real presentation of the buildings with their complexity. Today, at least in a building management system, the building only exists with the available actors and sensors of the building management system. Any building has far more capabilities and sensors available. So, we really want to represent the building as much as we can for an orchestration strategy. So, if we have sensors measuring, for example the air quality, these should be included in a strategy for the ventilation. Maybe the building management system is not equipped to do that. Additional sensors will provide that, and we need to understand where those sensors are, where the sensors of the building management system are, how is that really represented in real life to understand relationships and interactions. And eventually, if you think this further, obviously one da, we would like to simulate our strategies before we apply them, so we would be able to really test in this digital twin some of our strategies and how these would be implemented: let's say, we change the ventilation, and we would like to know, what is the air quality doing, and hopefully, one day we will be able to do just that to actually advise our customers. If you would do this, our digital twin, our model predicts that this is happening. So, that would be an additional value we are looking for in the longer term. 

[7:51] What kind of goals are you trying to achieve? 

We need to be able to manage the building with all its different systems in a better way in order to achieve a cleaner building which is only viable if you consider all the input factors: people, the building itself, the weather outside. All of these need to work together to have a clear path to a more energy efficient building. Simply reducing the ventilation or the temperature will not help if, on that given day, you have a huge assembly of workers in that building and you're not creating the right effects. Then people will not be happy. If we are energy efficient, but the comfort is not there. So, again, the orchestration system will provide us with the capability to understand all the different factors: the weather, occupancy, maybe even where tasks are done. Do we have a gathering in a cafeteria or are the people working in in their cubicles? All this information needs to give input into the building management system and then in terms of orchestration, with all the sensors, we will be able to execute better strategies for that given setting. So that is a long answer to the simple question. Are you expecting and how much are you expecting in terms of efficiency gains? Yes, we are expecting efficiency gain. Yes, we would hope they are double digit. Obviously, it will depend on what is available in the system in terms of equipment, in terms of other sensors, and also on the strategy and already given efficiency. So yes, gains are expected, and I would say we're looking for something which is double digit. Our expectation is that for the majority of our customers that use standard systems and use standard protocols, implementation should be fairly quick and easy. Obviously, we will always come across customers that have special or outdated legacy systems. And there, we really trust that the depth and breadth of the technical solutions available will also ensure that we still can get these customers onboarded in a reasonable amount of time. So, in a nutshell, we're looking for reuse. We're looking for low code, no code deployments. And obviously, we want a partner which can help us develop being standard adapters, so that hopefully, we will have something which becomes plug and play for our customers.

[11:07] How do you strike a balance between comfort and sustainability? 

We are looking for a balance, maybe between, let's say, comfort, and sustainability and energy efficiency. And each customer will have a different balance. And each customer maybe within the one side will emphasize some aspects more than others. Now, if you have photovoltaic roof, maybe energy consumption is not your primary concern because you're already producing your own energy and have surplus, so ventilation, which costs energies is not your issue. Maybe your issue is water. We really need to understand for each individual customer, how they want to strike this balance. And I think the beauty of the Azure and ICONICS system is that not only will be able to have this building orchestration, but we will have all the powerful tools to do visualization to do analytics. And as I said earlier to do simulation, so within one platform, we cannot only tell our customer, “Look, here's what your building looks today. Here's what your building would look like, or your buildings would look like when you apply this strategy”. And the customer will get visual aid to really understand some, you know, sometimes rather complex dependencies and linkages between some of the choices he needs to make. 

[12:48] Does the system meet your security requirements?

Yes, our CSO department has reviewed your overall solution as we are already a customer of Microsoft and Azure for a long time. We're very confident that the underlying platform is secure. We had a conversation with our CSO on the solution. We are building here it was reviewed, and we got the stamp of approval. We are good to go.

13:26 Can you tell us the reason(s) you chose the ICONICS/Microsoft solution?

Microsoft ICONICS won a tender; we did a rather long, elaborate list of requirements. And we wanted to make sure that we have a partner who's not only fulfilling the technical requirements, but also shares our view in terms of cloud, in terms of sustainability. And to be companies where we know we can have a long-term partnerships with preferably somebody we already know and is no surprise that given the requirements, the joint vision of Microsoft and ICONICS and the long-term relationship we already have, ICONICS came on top on our selection process.