What is an Intelligent Building?
There is no one definition of an intelligent building. It is actually better to think of building intelligence on a spectrum. In it's simplest form a building can be "intelligent" if it uses a building automation system to control and manage the internal environment of the building. On the other end of the spectrum is a building that leverages machine learning, cloud computing and one common operational network in a manner that "intelligently" adjusts to the occupants of the building.
Are Intelligent Buildings Real?
Yes, very much so. The construction industry has been building intelligent buildings for years. Again, remember building intelligence is a spectrum. The recent "buzz" and the true benefits of intelligent buildings are just starting to be understood and implemented because of the advances of the Internet of Things and Machine Learning. When building systems share the same network and designers require non-proprietary technology it becomes possible to apply machine learning and data analysis techniques to allow us to better manage our work environment.
Why Am I Just Now Hearing About This?
There have been a number of large recent projects that have helped people understand the true benefits of taking a deliberate approach to making our buildings more intelligent. One of the most lauded projects was the Edge in Amsterdam which was completed in 2015. The Edge is considered one of the greenest buildings in the world with a 98.4% sustainability rating. The building dynamically adjusts to its occupants and is managed by one dashboard for all building systems. Since, many more high profile projects have followed and many of the largest technology companies are jumping into the market.