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Revolutionizing the Building Industry: An Inside Look at the openDBL Project with Kai Oberste-Ufer from dormakaba

July 26, 2023

In this exclusive written interview, we sit down with dormakaba project coordinator Kai Oberste-Ufer, Head of Architecture, Engineering & Construction Planning Tools & Configurators. openDBL, an EU-funded Research project, has set its sights on transforming the building industry with its ambitious goal of creating an open digital building logbook (DBL). By integrating data from various sources, such as BIM Models, Laser Scanning, Plans, and operational IoT sensor data, the project aims to revolutionize building operations through smart data evaluation and optimization.


Kai Oberste-Ufer sheds light on the purpose behind dormakaba's participation in the openDBL project, the challenges that the architecture, engineering, construction, and operations (AECO) industry faces,and how the open digital logbook can pave the way for a sustainable, connected, and collaborative future in the building industry. With a strong emphasis on promoting efficiency, sustainability, and user-friendliness, the openDBL project is set to empower building owners and planners alike, offering them intelligent tools to enhance their decision-making processes and streamline operations. We also explore the potential impact of openDBL on the building industry's digital transformation, and how architects and planners can position themselves as pioneers in this exciting journey.


What is openDBL and why its going tochange the building industry?
openDBL is a EU-fundedResearch project with the goal of developing a framework for an open digital building logbook. The system will collect building data from various sources like BIM Models, Laser Scanning and Plans and combine this with AI driven smart data evaluation tools. In addition, operational IoT sensor data will be added to archive a smarter and optimized way of operating the building.


Why do we participate? What is our Purpose? What is your part at this project?
dormakaba takes part in this project because our goal is also to contribute to more efficient, sustainable, and user-friendly buildings. Initiatives like EntriWorX underline this very much. More than ever, products and solutions must be part of the building operation system and must be connected to other systems. In the openDBL project dormakaba supports this idea with Access Control solutions as well as the analysis by IoT data.


What challengedo you see for AECO in the next couple of years?
Especially the lack of skilled people will be a challenge for the industry. Using modern technology requires trained people that can connect domain specific skills (e.g. for door planning) with IT related processes. In addition, the building industry is pushed toward energy efficient, sustainable, and efficient buildings. This challenge can only be completed by using smart digital technology and methods for design, build and operation of the building.


Who will benefit from openDBL and why?
Two main groups will mostly benefit from the openDBL project: Building Owners and Architects and Planners. Owners because they get a new intelligent tool in their hand to operate the building. All data will be at one place and searching for data will belong to the past. Architects and Planners will benefit especially when it comes to retrofit a building. There will be less effort required to capture the current state of the building (including products) and creating a new concept for a more efficient building based on the installed base will be much faster possible.


With our EntriWorX EcoSystem we have now develop a solution for more effective planning of new buildings. How will the digital logbook fit into that and what is the role for the future?
The EntriWorX EcoSystem is a perfect match to the openDBL approach. Its data driven backend was designed to handover data into external systems and contribute with door data to a more efficient building. In addition, the software tools used for planning and installation are flexible and open to connect to other systems and exchange data for planning and installation. In addition, EntriWorX EcoSystem provides information into the logbook.

What advantages do you see from collaborative and fully integrated digital platforms/ processes?
I see a huge advantage especially when it comes to decision making. Take a complex problem such as the energy optimized management of a building. Here, it is not sufficient to just look at one aspect or technical system of a building. It requires to include data from various sources into the calculation. A fully connected digital platform can support here and help to overcome silo thinking.

What opportunities do you see in the use of digital tools and platforms?
Besides from the optimization of the building operation, I also see huge potential for new business models. For building owners, manufacturers, and service providers. Take service as an example: connecting service providers through an open online system will enable to react in a faster manner to events and requests. Also, a more precise billing of executed service is possible.

What opportunities does the digital logbook offer in relation to the sustainability of buildings and the daily business of our clients?
The use of a digital logbook will help in many ways to achieve a more sustainable building. Data from sensors will help to control the HVAC systems better and identify optimization potential to prevent energy loss. Realtime data combined with a smart AI driven evaluation core allows to react to non-optimal settings quickly and steer the installed systems back to normal.


What role does sustainability play for you in the development of the openDBL?
dormakaba provides its knowledge and expertise in two areas: Access control and IoT Sensors for people counting (e. g. EntriWorX Occupancy Insights). During the pilot projects, dormakaba will install our digital Access Control Solution "Exivo" at several doors and connect it with the openDBL database.The second area is IoT. We will install several sensors for people counting and include the data into the digital building model. Connecting this with information coming from other sensors (e. g. air quality) allows advanced insights into the building. 


What future possibilities do you see for openDBL and its impact on the building industry, particularly in terms of sustainability, connectivity, and collaboration?
openDBL will pave a new way of how facility management in the future could facilitate different data sources for an optimal and transparent building management. 


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