What is BIM?
The creation of every structure begins with an idea. It is then the job of architects to put copious amounts of energy and labor into planning and devising a construction plan. It then takes a great deal of effort by different teams of engineers, contractors and laborers to transform that plan into reality. This tedious process of planning and construction demands a huge amount of time, money and resources. Moreover, it also requires close collaboration between multi-disciplinary teams during the planning, design as well as construction stage as any unplanned changes that occur during the project results in budget and schedule overruns.
The solution was a need to introduce a process wherein all construction professionals can collaborate their operations in one model and it was first envisioned by an American professor, Charles M. Eastman. He published an article in the AIA Journal describing interactively defined elements where data about maps, facades, sections, elevations and perspectives were all combined in the same document. Any alteration in the design by of one drawing was recorded and registered in all other drawings. Details about requirements, costs as well as scheduling of materials and supplies became convenient to generate. This concept was made into reality by the construction industry by issuing the first edition of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) Protocol in 2013 for official use.
By using Revit Modeling Services, construction professionals can create a digital twin of the building plan and collaborate their efforts directly on it and can even visualize the impact of a change in design way before any financial materials or resources are committed. This brings consistency and allows the users to coordinate the architectural, mechanical, engineering and plumbing aspects of the construction of a building, all under one roof.
BIM also allows the users to create an As-Built model which is a digital replica of the building after construction. Although less talked about, it is a crucial step of BIM process. It enables digital visualization of the entire structure just as it is built so that it can be corroborated with the pre-construction design model to recognize and then change or accept nonconformities.
What is IoT?
The Internet of Things refers to a web or an interconnected network of all devices on the internet that have the ability to exchange user input in form of data with other systems and devices. It views every device as a separate entity that has its functions and mechanism and can be operated by the user via the internet.
Although the idea of interconnected devices has been around for a long time, the first-ever internet governed device was developed in the 80s. It was a Coke machine that was connected to the internet by the students at Carnegie Mellon University. The programmers had the ability to manage the status of the machine via a local network. It enabled to report inventory in the machine and if the newly loaded beverages are hot or cold.
Today, the Internet of things allows users to achieve completion of much more complex tasks. The Internet of Things can now gather information from remote locations to control devices and equipment i.e. it is a natural extension of data acquisition and supervisory control. The purpose is basically to monitor, manage and move information and then carry out specific logical actions as per the acquired data.
Scope of the Internet of Things in BIM
Despite the IoT devices being extremely simple technology, it can do wonders when applied to buildings and infrastructures. They have the potential to generate exceptionally advanced methods that enable users to manage technological as well as financial aspects to ensure correct and efficient operation.
IoT is used in the BIM process aids various aspects. Some of which are listed below:
1. Increased Managerial and Maintenance efficiencies
The integration of real-time data from the IoT devices with BIM provides a powerful benchmark for applications to improve managerial and maintenance efficiencies. The constant flow of data from the IoT networks through the devices deployed in the structure allows the users to integrate it with the data from Scan to BIM Services to spot areas of impairments and inefficiencies. The users can then target those specific areas to carry out repair and maintenance work by referring to the As-Built BIM model.
2. Building Automation
Users can now keep track of real-time activities inside the building and monitor aspects like temperatures, humidity levels, light intensity, movements or any other types of MEP information using the IoT. By consolidating this information with the model generated from MEP BIM Services, it enables users to remotely change the temperature and other settings of the specific area that requires attention.
3. Sustainable Building
The construction industry can now start on the journey to trace back it steps on the path of environmental degradation. With IoT devices continually feeding data of the real-time health of the building, users can make alterations in energy consumption wherever necessary by referring to the As-Built BIM model, thus reducing the carbon footprint of the building.
4. Positioning and Tracing
This theme is concerned with developing a method to locate or trace people and facilities inside a building by using IoT sensors and the As-Built BIM model. Positioning and tracing can be applied in many occasions, such as emergency management, site security management and facility management. This data can also be used to improvise the operations artificial intelligence by tracking patterns and making sound predictions as well as adaptations based on it to optimize user experience.
IoT in BIM is the Future
Today, the amalgamation of BIM with IoT is still in its nascent stages but with the constant technological advancements in the field of building sustainability optimization, it carries extensive potential in the future. This revolutionary integration of technology with the process also houses the potential to make innovations in the AI industry that would eliminate the need to manually track, analyze and change the inefficiencies detected by the IoT. The uninterrupted flow of data from the IoT sensors integrated with As-Built model, when fused with AI, will enable machines to operate without human interference as they will be able to change settings of MEP components and other aspects on their own by analyzing patterns and making predictions.
Thus, the inculcation of IoT devices and sensors in BIM is a crucial link in the path towards a fully automated as well as self-sustaining future of living and working spaces.