The Role of Semantics in Google's Smart Building Platform

The Internet of Things is transforming the way buildings are operated and managed by interconnecting things in order to tackle several challenges such as energy efficiency, occupancy analytics, physical security, and a better user productivity.
In the domain of buildings and real estate management, various sensors, actuators, gateways, and systems are deployed to collect several types of data such as contextual, environmental, or operations related.
However, the collected data is trapped in various vertical siloed solutions: HVAC, lighting, energy management, occupancy analytics preventing facility managers from having a holistic, scalable, and unified asset management approach.
Semantic technology is one of the most promising fields in the knowledge representation domain, expected to enable interoperability across these siloes.

In this presentation, we tackle the challenges Google faces to operate and manage its growing number of buildings across the globe. Then, we detail why a unified semantic model across buildings is primordial. We also overview our Brick-like ontology which allows us to structure and unify the data representation layer of our Smart Buildings platform. Once we have a unified layer, we demonstrate how we are able to build applications on top such as chatbots. Finally, we conclude with remaining challenges and future work.


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