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Automation is not enough. Buildings require AI-powered smarts

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Automation is not enough. Buildings require AI-powered smarts

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Buildings have been one of the most voracious users of IoT devices. Smart buildings, in particular, use connected devices to measure everything from temperature, lighting, air quality, noise, vibration, occupancy levels and energy consumption — and that’s just the very tip of the iceberg.

Building Automation is big and growing. There are over 6 million commercial buildings across the U.S. and an estimated 2 billion connected devices. The global market for building automation systems in 2022 will reach about $80 billion.

This type of automation relies on fleets of IoT devices. Many automatic condition-action actions are used to detect fires. Alarms are activated automatically with voice instructions, and fire departments are notified. This was the case before the IoT. Fire alarms can now be connected via the Internet or secondarily via cell communication.

The IoT’s value in building automation is primarily realized in two main areas.

  • The data generated by in-building devices and how it is analyzed and leveraged.
  • The actions and management performed by building automation systems

Rich, ongoing data streams provide valuable insights into building operations, but there’s an issue: large device fleets create large volumes of data that humans alone cannot properly parse and understand. To realize the potential payoff from deploying these sensors (and cameras), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is needed to continuously monitor and assess the data streams.

Automation can’t do the job alone

Until 2020, the emphasis of smart buildings systems, including building automation, was the responsibility of facilities’ management. Then, the focus shifted to employee health and ESG initiatives, in addition to facilities management. This created a demand for the capabilities that ML enables.

An artificial intelligence system can monitor air quality and determine correlations with occupancy limits. It can also learn to assign conference rooms and cubicles to employees, in relation to ventilation and occupancy. This is done to increase the employee’s physical distance and reduce the risk of illness.

AI also can be used to analyze water temperature and the use of water supply pipes in order to detect legionella or other harmful pathogens. Legionella thrives at specific temperatures of warm water.

The relevance of AI-enabled new capabilities does not exclude the old functions like tracking and managing energy usage. An AI-driven platform can be used to power down areas of a building and adjust window shades at different times. This will help reduce energy consumption. Learn from it and experiment. This is a bottom-line issue and will become more important in 2022 due to energy prices.

AI is able to help with cleaning efficiency by identifying which tables have been used and which bathrooms have had increased use. In the age of COVID-19, facilities managers are focused on cleanliness.

AI can greatly enhance systems that support physical security, too. A system can recognize anomalous behavior and alert security once it has learned what normal access and movement behavior are. Other AI-driven applications are able to detect and recognize duress situations, abandoned items, weapons, and pinpoint shots fired. They can also perform emergency lockdowns.

An intelligent infectious disease control system can use data to determine local infection rates. AI systems can do things people cannot, like staring at a wall for 20 years and looking for signs of change in the concrete that could herald a pending structural collapse.

Applying AI for smart buildings

Teaching is the best way to start an AI-driven system. The foundation data must be representative of the reality that the system will face. However, many will discover that there is no good data base for smart-building systems. You can create the training data through ‘experiments in the physical building’.

To lower energy bills, you can experiment with adjusting AC and window shades based on office occupancy and time of day. This system could be based on temperature sensors, occupancy readings, and sunlight detection.

There are some basic best practices you should follow. To increase the confidence in your samples being representative, be scientific and meticulous when gathering ground truth data.

AI-driven systems are able to learn from specific office area occupancy patterns and reduce human error when planning space. It is expensive to upgrade space and it is important to keep your flexibility. Space utilization and occupancy became a major health concern during the pandemic. Workers may prefer to meet for coffee and conversation on an open-air patio or balcony, rather than in small rooms.

Where AI-driven building management is heading

AI systems that are powered by AI can suggest changes in facilities management and make it easier for building managers to be more proactive. They also enable more efficient responses to unexpected challenges when it comes to reactivity. A recent example; before 2020, identifying employees who are running hot (fever) and reducing the probability of infection probability was not a thing, but it is within current capabilities to address this problem.

It takes time and careful planning to find the truth. A digital twin is a virtual replica of a commercial building that the architect has provided to the owner or manager. As a test ground for AI-driven facility management and smart building management, the digital twin can be used as a starting point.

We expect IT, security, and facilities management to become more integrated and to make greater use of AI. It is possible to reap a variety of benefits by joining information silos and creating data streams for AI apps.

It is urgent to develop AI-based building operating systems based on reliable, current data. Any of these applications support a strong business case; taken together, they make a persuasive argument that facilities’ management should look at AI-driven applications for operating smart buildings and making buildings smarter.

William Cowell de Gruchy is the founder and CEO of Infogrid.

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are
A player shouldering the ball



(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 23 might be the best game soccer game yet for terrible sports fans, as it lets you turn off commentary that criticizes your bad playing.

Now that the early access FIFA 23 release time has passed, EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can hop into the game ahead of its full release. But as Eurogamer (opens in new tab) spotted, they’ll find a peculiar option waiting for them.

FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected. 

Spare your feelings

A player dribbling the ball in FIFA 23

(Image credit: EA)

The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.

It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?

Polite commentary isn’t the only new addition in FIFA 23. It’s the first game in the series to include women’s club football teams, and fancy overhauled animations that take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S’s new-gen hardware. EA will be hoping to end on a high, as FIFA 23 will be the last of its soccer games to release with the official FIFA licence.

If disabling critical commentary doesn’t improve your soccer skills, maybe building a squad of Marvel superheroes will. Although you might not do much better with Ted Lasso wandering the pitch.

FIFA 23 is set to fully release this Friday, September 30.

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games. 

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch
The backs of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro



(Image credit: Google)

We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.


Analysis: same price, new world

Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.

Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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