Skip to content

The Internet of Things – Navigating the trends and threats


This month the CIBSE ANZ Seminar Series, IoT – The Neurology of Building Operations, took Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Brisbane by storm.

Following audience feedback from 2018’s seminar series on the Anatomy of the Smart Building, it was clear that industry was keen to dive deeper into several areas and see how much things can change in just 12 months in this rapidly evolving space.

The building industry is moving forward towards fully integrated communication networks, with property owners reaping the benefits of customer experience improvements through optimised energy & waste management, better space utilization and even climate resilience.

A shift from building management to experience management is seeing IoT enabling initiatives deliver concierge services to tenants.

But IoT pulsing through our buildings is not without its challenges and threats and the expert panel certainly don’t have their heads in the cloud, figuratively speaking. In fact, caution of cloud-based storage was repeatedly echoed throughout the series

“There is no such thing as the cloud, only someone else’s computer”- Jon Clarke from Dexus warned of the costs associated with extracting and storing all manner of data to avoid the volume becoming unmanageable and for no benefit. Instead he suggests we evaluate what data is required to provide the outcomes we are looking for.

In his presentation, Senior Cyber security Consultant Ray Frangie, talks of the security risks associated with not understanding where your data is being stored around the world and exposure to weaker international regulations and cyber threats. Ray suggested the “Internet of Threats” an alternative to the Internet of Things and cyber security be considered as a business issue rather than an IT issue.  Delegates were reminded of the shortage of skills in the industry and how growing technology threats is putting pressure on the demand for these experts.

There is also a looming issue concerning the blurring of user privacy and what people are willing to share in order to benefit from sharing of “big data”. How can individual privacy be balanced with the group benefit? And is it even possible for people to opt out of this technology in public and quasi-public spaces like commercial buildings? As Mirvac’s Nathan Rosaguti put it, “smart buildings is not a destination, but a journey, one that is increasingly data laden, and one that is conscious of the cyber-threat and the need for ethical consideration”.

It was not all gloom and doom. Each destination on the CIBSE roadshow added its own flavour to the panel with some out of the box presentations. In Auckland, Samara McCaw took delegates on a tour with virtual and augmented reality tech and in Perth Erica Brett shared how Superspace explores the dynamic relationship between people and space through the lens of data, computation, and analysis.

AI and Machine Learning formed part of the panel discussion in Brisbane and Melbourne too. In Brisbane IBM’s John MacLeod explored IBM Watson technology that was originally developed to play the game show Jeopardy, and in Melbourne Matt Sinclair, Microsoft AI Lead, shared some examples of highly advanced AI technology that is being deployed and trialled in Microsoft’s properties.

The value of Intelligent precincts was championed by Aurecon’s Tim Spies and Peter Greaves to create efficient, healthy and economical places to live, work, shop and play.

ANZ Young Engineers Network competition winner James Gore received audience praise for his innovative look into the future expectation of buildings and building users and overall the panel were commended in the post event survey for the quality of their information and technical expertise.

“The presenters had a lot of interesting, educational and eye-opening information to share and it was great to be amongst other engineers who are like minded” – Anonymous

The applications of the Internet of Things is limited only by our imaginations and great to see so many examples presented by this panel along with valuable to threads of caution and guidance for navigating the pitfalls.

Delegates will receive access to the presentations, including reference links, shortly.











-          Poll for 2020’s seminar series.