Whitepaper: The region has inadequate smart building technologies and initiatives, which are critical for sustainable smart cities.

Despite their governments’ smart city ambitions, many developing cities in South-east Asia still lack adequate smart building technologies and initiatives to transform into data-driven, sustainable cities, according to the new whitepaper Pioneering a Sustainable Future – Building Smarter Net Zero Cities released by Johnson Controls.

Nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, so smart, healthy, and sustainable buildings increasingly play a critical role towards helping cities realize their smart city visions.

The whitepaper – written in collaboration with the International WELL Building Institute, CBRE and WiredScore to provide a roadmap for South-east Asian cities – was launched at BEX Asia as part of Singapore’s International Built Environment Week (IBEW) 2023

“Southeast Asia’s journey to transform its smart cities requires collaboration, innovation, and a holistic approach,” said Anu Rathninde, President, Asia Pacific, Johnson Controls,who was speaking at the Built Environment Leaders’ Summit at the event.

“We see the challenges facing our industry, but more importantly we see the willingness from both public and private sectors to collaborate and scale up technologies available to solve these challenges. To help achieve the aspirations of a growing population, we must work together to leverage the latest smart building innovations to enhance urban living, create sustainable environments, and ensure safe and healthy spaces for people to thrive and grow.”

To enable this, the whitepaper highlights three key areas for South-east Asia to urgently address:

    1. Smart building systems: Significant investment is needed to deploy smart city sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and analyze the smart city data collected to improve the overall efficiency of buildings and promote individuals comfort and health. Whereas before, each building system could be improved only on its own, the potential to connect all of them, enabled by smart city technologies, will open up a new dimension of holistic building performance.
    2. Adopting AI technology: AI-powered systems have a strong potential to help buildings reduce their environmental impact by monitoring and analyzing energy consumption patterns, optimizing energy usage, and managing waste and water consumption. They also can predict when maintenance is needed to prevent equipment failures and reduce downtime and costs.
    3. Robust Regulatory Environments: Policies that encourage collaborations between the public and private sector can help leverage resources, expertise, and funding to drive smart city initiatives. This can overcome the funding and technical expertise barriers to smart city adoption and better integrate governance structures to create more cohesive, streamlined processes among agencies and jurisdictions.

The whitepaper also highlighted Singapore’s pioneering achievements in harnessing technology to create a more efficient and interconnected society while driving net-zero goals, mentioning projects such as:

    • The Land Transport Authority (LTA) implemented its Intelligent Transport System, which uses real-time data to optimize traffic flow and reduce congestion. By 2024, traffic controllers for Fort Canning Tunnel will be able to remotely monitor and manage in-tunnel sub-systems, such as jet fans and fire protection systems, to ensure road safety.
    • Singapore Airlines (SIA) was able to achieve a high level of sophisticated security at its operating sites throughout Changi Airport, with a fully integrated Building Security System featuring intelligent card readers, fingerprint biometrics, and distributed intelligence at all layers of the system design.

Labor supply issues – particularly the digital skills gap – continue to challenge the industry, exacerbated by an aging workforce and the COVID-19 pandemic. The whitepaper highlighted the role that government agencies, industry players and academic institutions have to play together to nurture a digitally savvy workforce that supports their smart city initiatives.