Johnson Controls, Microsoft Corp. and the Middle East’s sustainability pioneer, Bee’ah, announced an agreement to enhance Bee’ah’s new headquarters in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, with a sweeping array of artificial intelligence (AI) and smart building solutions powered by Microsoft.
Using its Digital Vault offering and extended capabilities built on Microsoft Azure, Johnson Controls will work with Microsoft to outfit the new building with intelligent edge systems, devices and software designed to optimize energy efficiency, make the best use of available space and help the building’s occupants be more productive through a virtual AI persona. Evoteq, Bee’ah’s digital venture, will serve as the technical project management partner for this unique project, deploying integrated solutions and enhanced digital capabilities for greater operational output.
From digital workspaces to smart back-office integration, smart lobby-visitor management to smart security, employees and visitors at Bee’ah’s new headquarters will experience a diverse range of cutting-edge AI features through multiple touchpoints across various functions including HR, customer care, procurement, administration, and mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
“Environmental sustainability and digital technologies are mutually inclusive factors in driving an economy of the future,” said HE Khaled Al Huraimel, Bee’ah’s group CEO. “Our headquarters embodies our vision for this future and exemplifies the most sustainable solutions and advanced technologies, with no compromise on strategic partnerships, innovation or delivery. This will be the first building in the region, and one of the first in the world, to have full integration with AI to support new seamless experiences for optimization of efficiencies, performance and functionality. Our office of the future will manifest our commitment to the continual advancement of our valued staff body, and AI solutions will provide new avenues of employee development and operational convenience. We look forward to the gradual rollout of AI-powered smart building solutions at other Bee’ah offices and locations across the UAE.”
Designed by the renowned Zaha Hadid Architects, Bee’ah’s futuristic new headquarters will be fully powered by renewable energy and optimized for the sustainable use of resources to have zero net energy consumption and achieve a LEED platinum certification — the highest recognition awarded to green buildings. Under the agreement, Johnson Controls will deploy a technical infrastructure for the building capable of monitoring its entire environment virtually with Microsoft Azure Digital Twins and IoT technologies. The solution will enable Bee’ah to analyze volumes of data to optimize building operations and drive efficiency.
As Bee’ah’s exclusive cloud provider, Microsoft will also optimize the experience of the building for people through technology and solutions powered by Microsoft Azure. Intelligent concierge capabilities will engage visitors and employees to help locate available meeting spaces, book appointments, give directions, hail rides and support day-to-day tasks. These AI-powered personal concierge services are believed to be the first in the Middle East designed specifically for building occupants.
“Digital Vault and our building apps will give Bee’ah the power to make faster, intelligent data-driven decisions to run its headquarters more safely, efficiently and sustainably, and will increase productivity for the people working and visiting Bee’ah’s headquarters,” said Bill Jackson, vice president and president, Global Products, Building Technologies & Solutions, Johnson Controls. “In partnership with Microsoft, Johnson Controls is transforming traditional building systems with services that merge the physical and digital worlds. Through this project, we are showcasing how the cloud and AI can tap into data from physical spaces to drive better engagement with occupants and achieve new levels of efficiency and sustainability.”
Johnson Controls’ Digital Vault offering takes advantage of the capabilities of Azure Digital Twins, Azure IoT and Azure Container Registry to provide a complete virtual representation of data from connected devices and systems throughout the building. With this approach, Digital Vault translates the physical world inside the building into a digital representation of the building with rich data that can be visualized, analyzed and acted upon to deliver proactive maintenance, optimize building systems and deliver intelligent support for the people inside.
Bee’ah started with a vision to create one of the most sustainable and smartest buildings in the Middle East. After an exhaustive search, the firm selected Microsoft as its trusted digital advisor because of the company’s deep industry expertise and commitment to empowering smart cities around the world. Microsoft collaborated with Bee’ah to design the new digital experiences and to build an executable strategy using cloud and AI that would not only deliver smart building systems, but also lead to the creation of spaces and services designed to delight its occupants. Bee'ah selected Johnson Controls based on the company's skills and offerings across smart building systems and the underlying software platforms, as well as its commitment to and close relationship with Microsoft.
“Together with Johnson Controls and Bee’ah, we are driving the digitization of smarter, more sustainable buildings and spaces,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud + AI Group, Microsoft. “Bee’ah’s iconic new headquarters will be among the first buildings globally to have end-to-end experiences designed and built on the Azure platform. Azure is the platform that can truly integrate across all the devices, systems and services required for such a large and diverse implementation. Microsoft has been able to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent on our own campus in Redmond by using machine learning on edge devices and in the cloud, and we can’t wait to see what Bee’ah is able to do by applying this approach to its ultramodern new headquarters in Sharjah.”