Smart Buildings, Infrastructure, and Environments

Heat map with red and yellow colors showing digitally connected parts of a city.

Digital Technology Moving Into the Built Environment

The AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) industry is at the beginning of a digitally driven revolution that will fundamentally transform all aspects of the built environment, from the design and production of buildings, roads, and cities to the ways people and organizations use these assets.

Broadly, this revolution centers on the development of smart infrastructure, where the revolution of digital technology expands out from the desktop and office and becomes embedded in the physical environment. This revolution is driven on the one hand by mobile, distributed and spatially embedded in intelligent devices; and on the other hand, by the connectivity among people, devices, and spaces afforded by web and cloud services.

Georgia Tech has numerous research and development initiatives pursuing smart buildings, cities, and construction processes, and the DBL connects to many of these. Within the spectrum of smart infrastructure initiatives, DBL leverages its foundations in building information data modeling and integrated systems to provide the infrastructure for connecting physical and digital assets to create intelligent built environments.

Digital Campus/Digital City

DBL is part of a community that is aggregating building, infrastructure, and city level information on the Georgia Tech campus and extending into the city of Atlanta. This initiative will connect a spectrum of spatial and infrastructure data, from BIM and GIS to sensors, traffic, and other systems. The group seeks appropriate technologies for integrating and visualizing aspects of this data. Research interests pursue how high-fidelity data at the city scale can be partitioned and accessed for visualization and analysis. Sub-issues include integration between BIM and building systems, BIM and GIS, smart building and smart city interfaces and applications.

Smart Infrastructure

The world is proliferating with sensors and devices, and cloud- and internet-connected systems that are leveraging this data to provide increasingly sophisticated views of the world. The processes of design and construction are producing structured models and associated data as a byproduct of project delivery -- data that can be repurposed for, or “designed into,” the physical environment. This research asks how embedded intelligence will impact building systems design, construction, and operations.

Smart Environments and Experiences

From mobile devices and robotic devices to embedded sensors and augmented reality, technology is increasingly part of the environment around us. As digital technologies proliferate into the built environment, they will fundamentally impact the ways that humans and organizations interact with their surroundings. The designers and builders of the 21st century will need to understand these new technologies and design facilities that effectively incorporate these new digitally capabilities into their design strategies.