Operational technology is everywhere - from Earth to Mars and beyond

March 18, 2021
Hanna Pikkusaari
API Economy
Data economy

Operational technology is everywhere - from Earth to Mars and beyond. It’s a superpower that keeps the industrial processes going and lights lit at the office. It’s the technology beyond IT. It detects and causes change in the invisible technological environment. It runs the air conditioning, heating and cooling. It sends and receives alarms and it ensures that the conditions in the server room are optimal for all the transactions and data flow.

In an average 50.000 m2 office building you have to install thousands of luminaires, thousands of sensors for building automation, thousands of security control devices and maybe thousands of other IoT devices. And in the end you can have tens of thousands of IoT devices and maybe dozens of different control systems and solutions in a complicated network environment. That’s all operational technology. And they all have to be brought into use almost at the same time. That’s unreal. But it happens somehow.

A construction project is complex and the construction and lifecycle management of the built environment might be one of the most conservative industries at this point. It’s big, it’s strong, and it affects us all. And it encloses an endless supply of future data products.

I argue that there may not be such a thing as a smart building. And why is that? Buildings may look smart and there may be e.g. some automation and predictive functionality in lighting control, comprehensive analytics combined with machine learning algorithms and a cool smart office layer. But as we defined with my former colleague Maria Niemi, first you need to find the right kind of mindset. After that you can make smart choices and design smartly. You can purchase, implement and use smart solutions for your construction project, building and office. Then you can roll out smart processes and smart maintenance based on the right timing and answering to a specific need. But this requires a lot of changes in the conservative mindset. And artificial intelligence used in one or two solutions doesn’t make a building smart.

The smart people do.

Hanna Pikkusaari

Smart Tech Advisor

Osaango Ltd

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