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Expert opinion - Smart buildings: a rapidly evolving ecosystem

Paris, November 29th 2018 – An unmissable event for all involved in the commercial real estate sector in France, the Salon de l’Immobilier d’Entreprise (The professional real estate event, SIMI) presents an opportunity for SPIE to address emerging challenges associated with Smart buildings, from installation to operation and maintenance. Kevin Kernn, Director for Business Development and Strategy within the Tertiaire division of SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire, and Aude Lévêque, Director for Innovations, Expertise and Methods at SPIE Facilities, share their analysis of this rapidly evolving market.

What recent changes have occurred in the Smart buildings market? 

Kevin Kernn: We are experiencing a paradigm shift, first and foremost in our working environment. Until a few years ago, employees had to make the effort to adapt to their working environment. It is now the working environment that must adapt to the employees. For that reason, we need to offer innovative services to the occupant, and boost well-being in the workplace. This significantly changes the way buildings are constructed, as we now think in terms of usage right from the design phase. Single-function spaces are a thing of the past; nowadays, we need modular spaces able to fit to a range of occupancy types, such as collaborative working. As a result, we must offer customised systems and services with the aim of fostering employee loyalty in particular. 

The regulations are also evolving. Indeed, the national energy guidelines must also be integrated. The stated objective is “to have a property portfolio for which all of the buildings have been renovated in accordance with the ‘low-energy building’ standards or similar by 2050”(1) There is therefore an obligation to reduce the energy consumption of commercial buildings by at least 60% by 2050 when compared with 2010. 

How can we keep pace with these changes? 

Kevin Kernn: At SPIE, we bring together the technical management of the building and facility management as early as the design and installation phase, as we believe, above all, that a building must blend in with its surroundings and be tailored to its internal uses. The two subsidiaries, SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire and SPIE Facilities are therefore regularly called upon to work on joint projects. With regard to technology, we rely particularly on Building Information Modelling (BIM), which has become indispensable when designing any building. For example, 3D modelling enables us to integrate the new management of spaces and to optimise the energy performance of the building. Having the most precise information available in advance, such as the wear rate for components, also enables us to truly optimise maintenance costs. 

Another major revolution is the centralisation of Technical Building Management. We have switched from traditional supervision to hypervision which allows several systems to interact with each other: access control, heating, air conditioning, video, presence detectors, lighting, etc. The multiplication of connected objects is a key aspect of these new practices. They result in fully integrated, smart systems, which optimise the energy consumption of the buildings. Older buildings are by no means excluded from these changes: the Internet of Things enables attractive performance levels to be achieved, even with equipment that has already been in operation for several years! 

How are the stakeholders within the e-fficient buildings sector currently organised? 

Kevin Kernn: Our ecosystem is evolving rapidly. Previously, issues regarding uses and energy efficiency were primarily handled by the equipment suppliers and the installers; however, nowadays, certain highly specific services may be entrusted to specialist start-ups. These newcomers are shaking up the monopolies on the market by offering innovations and niche services. The challenge for players such as SPIE is to adopt the innovative approach taken by these start-ups in order to work together to achieve improved integration of the Internet of Things within buildings, including during the operating phases. That’s why two subsidiaries of SPIE France entered into a partnership agreement with IoT Valley, a European ecosystem composed of start-up companies dedicated to the Internet of Things.  

On the other hand, it appeared essential to formalise the issues regarding the usage change brought about by digital technology and to respond to this by establishing new methods for designing, constructing and operating buildings. That is why the “Ready 2 Services” label, which was announced in June by the Smart Building Alliance and Certivéa, was created(2). Acting as a reference framework for project managers, this label evaluates the technologies deployed within commercial sites with a view to guaranteeing the open data format and the interoperability of services. It also incorporates requirements in terms of data security and the range of services offered to users. 

Finally, what sets SPIE apart from the rest of the market? 

Aude Lévêque: Thanks to our various subsidiaries, we are able to call upon a broad range of expertise, such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, networking, lighting, facility management, supervision and security, in order to establish an overall reflection of tomorrow’s building. 

Among our most recent innovations, our unified platform, “SMART FM 360°”, is capable of centralising, managing, analysing and generating reports, in real time, concerning the millions of pieces of data generated by existing systems and new connected things within the technical installations of buildings and their immediate surroundings. Our service offer therefore enables managers to understand the operation, maintenance and services within buildings by providing them with a comprehensive overview. As well as enabling more refined management of all of the technical parameters of the buildings, this platform also involves staff members in managing their own comfort levels and makes everyone aware of the environmental impact of their activities. 

The aim of this platform is to offer our customers, and in turn their customers, new services linked to their interaction with the building (environmental impact, thermal and acoustic comfort, etc.) and new solutions to ensure the comfort and well-being of the occupants of the building. 


Paris-Palais des Congrès-Porte Maillot
5-7 December
SPIE stand: G12, level 4


(1) Section I, paragraph III-7 of the Loi de transition énergétique pour une Croissance Verte [French law on energy transition for green growth]
(2) A subsidiary of the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (Scientific and Technical Centre for Building, CSTB), Certivéa represents the benchmark for the evaluation and certification of commercial buildings in particular.



Pascal Omnès
Group Communications Director
Tel.: +33 (0)1 34 41 81 11

SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire - Division Tertiaire

Aurélie Antajan
Communications Manager
Tel.: +33 (0)5 61 36 78 24

SPIE Facilities

Anne Letellier
Communications & Marketing Manager
Tel.: +33 (0)6 03 85 14 82

Agence Droit Devant

Philippe Hériard / Clotilde Pichon
Tel.: +33 (0)1 39 53 53 33 / 01 64