Smart buildings enhance Southeast Asia's urban experience

Smart buildings enhance Southeast Asia's urban experience

Southeast Asian countries are investing in smart city technology to improve urban planning and energy efficiency.

Smart buildings serve as foundational elements in the creation of sustainable, efficient, and human-centric urban environments, and Southeast Asian countries are eyeing these through investments.

Anu Rathninde, President of Asia Pacific at Johnson Controls, said that smart building technologies not only aims to enhance the quality of life for residents but also addresses pressing environmental concerns.

"First of all, when we think of smart cities, technology comes to mind first... But the whole idea of having a smart city is having a better human experience for people," Rathninde remarked. 

He highlighted that smart cities should prioritise improving human experiences, emphasising that technology is not an end in itself but a means to achieve more livable, sustainable, and inclusive urban spaces. 

According to Rathninde, smart buildings play a crucial role in reducing carbon emissions, with approximately 40% of global emissions originating from buildings. Through the use of advanced technologies, these structures can become more autonomous, significantly reducing their environmental impact.

Rathninde further pointed out that by integrating high-efficiency equipment with IoT devices and employing AI for data analysis, buildings can achieve remarkable levels of autonomy and energy savings. 

He shared an example of how Johnson Controls successfully implemented digital automation equipment at the Microsoft headquarters in Beijing, resulting in reduction in energy consumption while also creating healthier work environments.

“Healthy buildings means a more productive workforce, people like to work in healthy buildings, and at the same time saving energy by about 30% of what it used to be before,” he said.

He stressed Southeast Asia's vulnerability to climate change and the pressing need for sustainable urban development to protect against natural disasters and rising sea levels. "Southeast Asia is very vulnerable to climate change... So there's a great opportunity for us to solve the problem of sustainability," he stated.

Rathninde underscored the potential for leveraging technology and local talent to create resilient and sustainable cities in the face of these challenges. He cited the example of a partnership between Johnson Controls and the Singapore government through the SkillsFuture Queen Bee programme which aims to equip facility managers from small and medium enterprises with the necessary skills to adopt new building technologies, demonstrating the importance of community and government collaboration in the journey towards smart urban development.

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