In cooperation with Holisticon AG, we won the internationally announced #SmartBuildingsChallenge of the Industrial Internet Consortium and were awarded for our contribution in the context of the Bosch Connected World 2020. The focus of our contribution was the conception of a central dashboard for the presentation and analysis of building data.
Smart Buildings Challenge hosted by the Industrial Internet Consortium
Smart Commercial Buildings
User centricity in a smart data environment
Custom dashboard solution that makes data-driven use cases user-centric and interactively accessible
Consulting, conceptual design, UX research, UX design, UI design.
To strengthen the intelligence of shopping centers of ECE Projektmanagement GmbH & Co. KG with innovative digital solutions was the core task of the competition. To do so, data from a multitude of measurement sensors was to be used and processed as a solution approach in order to expand the work of the various stakeholders with new possibilities.
The result is a dashboard with integrated task and action management that not only supports sustainable decisions at the management level, but also revolutionizes the work in the operational business. Partners in this challenge included TÜV Süd, Deka Immobilien, Bosch Building Technologies and Microsoft.
Das Zuhause über eine digitale Anwendung zu steuern ist keine Neuheit mehr und auch in größeren Gebäuden wird mittlerweile fleißig digitalisiert. Dennoch sind in Bestandsimmobilien viele Bereiche weiterhin wenig vernetzt und so von der Analyse und Handhabe durch smarte Lösungen ausgeschlossen.
Um einen großen Schritt in Richtung Zukunft zu gehen, initiierte ECE gemeinsam mit Bosch die „Smart Buildings Challenge“, deren Ziel es ist, innovative digitale Technologien zur Verbesserung der Gebäudeperformance zu identifizieren, zu fördern und in die Praxis zu überführen. Mithilfe von Sensor- und Messtechnik und weiteren digitalen Anwendungen sollen Immobilien energieeffizienter, nutzerfreundlicher und nachhaltiger werden.
Gemeinsam mit unserem Mutterunternehmen Holisticon beschlossen wir, an dieser Challenge teilzunehmen.
ECE entwickelt und betreibt Shopping-Center und Großimmobilien wie Bürogebäude, Hotels und Stadtquartiere. Im Zuge der Challenge sollten alle Lösungsvorschläge für das Shopping-Center „Ettlinger Tor“ in Karlsruhe konzipiert werden.
Die Challenge wurde in vier Use Cases aufgeteilt:
Smart Space Flow Analytics: Tracking, Zonen, anonymisiertes Tracking
Smart Metering in Multi-Tenant Commercial Buildings: Smart Metering, Energieverbrauch, Fokus auf elektronische Energie
Smart Automated Building: HVAC, Kontrolle von technischem Zubehör, Fernzugriff auf Geräte, Nachhaltigkeit
Smart Building Cockpit: Management Tool, Sales Tool, Übersicht, Digital Twin, AR
Jeder Use Case startete mit je 10 Teilnehmerteams. Nach einer Präsentation der Zwischenergebnisse wurde das Teilnehmerfeld auf je 3-5 Teilnehmer pro Use Case reduziert.
Wir stürzten uns auf den vierten Use Case, für den es ein Dashboard-Konzept zu erarbeiten galt, das einerseits die Ideen und Lösungsansätze der ersten drei Use Cases aufgreift, gleichzeitig aber auch generelle Anforderungen der zukünftigen Anwender berücksichtigt. Bei der Anwenderschaft wurden drei unterschiedliche Nutzergruppen mit teils sehr verschiedenen Anforderungen identifiziert.
Zur ersten Nutzergruppe zählen die technischen Manager, die als technische Verantwortliche von Shopping-Centern operative Anforderungen an eine digitale Anwendung haben. Bei der zweiten Nutzergruppe handelt es sich um Facility-Manager. Diese benötigen in der zentralen Managementebene analytische Datenerfassungen. Zusätzlich gibt es noch die Investoren der Deka, die ebenfalls Zugriff auf Statistiken benötigen, um die Entwicklungen von Shopping-Centern über längere Zeiträume hinweg erkennen und auswerten zu können.
We started the Challenge rather coincidentally and with about three months delay, which should not be a disadvantage for us in the later course. The first hurdle, as with any new project, was to first understand the subject matter and the requirements placed on us. The other Challenge participants were mostly tech start-ups specializing in building automation solutions. So there was a big knowledge advantage in terms of hardware usage and technical feasibility.
We therefore split up in terms of sourcing information. While a colleague from Holisticon took on the role of product owner and was responsible for the specialist technical part, we focused on the users in order to consolidate our joint results later.
Already in our internal kick-off workshop it became clear that we see the greatest need to consider the users of the dashboard and their requirements for a "Smart Building Cockpit". A technical manager has the responsibility to independently monitor a shopping center. For this purpose, he has a team of internal forces as well as a network of external companies at his disposal. A facility manager, on the other hand, needs analytical tools to track the short-term development of a shopping center or to derive forecasts.
We set ourselves the goal of developing an innovative dashboard concept that supports technical managers in better structuring their daily work and in easily managing tasks for their colleagues. To do this, it was necessary to find out what the working day of a technical manager looks like, what tasks he has to perform and what challenges he has to deal with in his daily work in order to derive from this which criteria have to be considered in the conceptual design. We proceeded in exactly the same way when determining the requirements of facility managers. Due to the large overlap in the data required by facility managers and investors, we initially focused only on the first two user groups.
Iteratively, the design personae of an exemplary technical and facility manager emerged, which were used as the basis for the subsequent UX process. With the help of LinkedIn, but also Xing profiles of real employees of ECE and additionally collected information from open job postings for said positions, we sharpened our common picture of our users.
At our first official challenge workshop in Munich, we verified our collected data and the persona components that were partly based on assumptions. We found a large overlap with our first iteration, but learned even more details that could only be worked out in a personal conversation.
With a sharpened picture of the potential users, the next steps were to first find out general information about the operation of shopping centers. Unlike the view of a consumer who visits a shopping center to buy his groceries or consumer electronics and to pass the time, operation - also from a strategic point of view - is characterized by maintenance, troubleshooting, repair, modernization and optimization. For example, there are energy efficiency goals that are desirable not only from an ethical perspective, but also from an economic one.
Through qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys via online questionnaires with different people from the ECE context, we were able to get a good overview of the status quo, but also the needs we wanted to incorporate into our concept in a short time.
Probably the most complex part of our concept was to translate the information we had into user flows. In doing so, we had to use the needs of our personae to identify exactly what intersections existed from the different requirements for the application. We absolutely wanted to avoid two scenarios: 1. a dashboard that has to be put together independently, individually. 2. two different applications with specific feature sets for each user group.
To better understand the day-to-day work of the technical manager and to develop targeted solutions, we used Customer Journey Maps to develop ideas that fit the daily requirements of his work environment.
To consolidate all defined requirements within the same application, we documented features on post-its, sorted them by user groups, prioritized them by importance, and compared both user groups in a comparison. A high degree of congruence emerged, which we ourselves would not have expected to this extent.
Only after this partial breakthrough were we in a position to create our user flows.
Unlike classic operational dashboards, we set out to create an interface that focuses on getting specific tasks done. Following the user-centric approach, our main focus was on the user and his daily work routine. We derived from daily actions which tasks should be completed with high priority and which with lower priority. Important tasks should be quickly findable and highlighted.
In addition, we developed an operating concept whose goal is to only have to process one action at a time. After selecting the desired action, the user is offered only those options that are directly related to the completion of a specific task. A context switch is only forced by a modal dialog when a critical error occurs.
When transferring our UX concept to the user interface, we made sure from the beginning to build a component-based library that could be used as a basis when jointly developing individual views. This not only saves time in the development of specific views. One also benefits from a consistent representation of the user interface.
Even in a very short time window of a few weeks and a manageable amount of product functions to be displayed, a considerable component library was created that can be used as a basis for many other features.
The second challenge workshop took place in Berlin and was to be used to present a (if possible) fully comprehensive presentation of the contribution to the use case. The aim was to clarify as many detailed questions as possible in order to be able to "fine-tune" the final submission. We already knew in advance that we, as a team of IT consultants and design offices, were the exotics in the field of participants. Some of our competitors had several years of experience in installing hardware and evaluating it in buildings.
Our claim was to make clear in which way our concept differs from the partly already ready-made solutions. In doing so, we were aware of the risk of arguing for an approach that is associated with a certain implementation period before the customized software can be used productively.
Shortly after the last workshop in Berlin, we received the news that we were selected as the winner of our use case after a short recall in which technical questions were clarified.
We were presented with the winner's trophy at the Bosch Connected World trade fair in Berlin, where, among others, Alexander Otto, CEO of ECE, gave a presentation on the necessity of digitalization in buildings.