8. September 2020
The Center Smart Commercial Building in the Smart Logistics Cluster on RWTH Aachen Campus monitors the development and concept creation of smart buildings, bundles all the expert knowledge available on RWTH Aachen Campus and coordinates the collaboration between enrolled industry, software and research partners. It offers a unique platform for businesses, research institutes, software and service providers. Our interview with Alexandra Köther, Head of Innovation Projects, offers insights into the Center Smart Commercial Building.

You are part of the founding team of the Center Smart Commercial Building. How did you get started on RWTH Aachen Campus and how do you feel about the results after the first year?

I began working on RWTH Aachen Campus around three years ago and my focus was on driving the topic of digital commercial real estate. I also started my first consortial study on “The Future of Facility Management” here. The Center Smart Commercial Building was then officially founded in the fall of 2019. The initial consortium included companies like Drees & Sommer SE, Art-Invest Real Estate Management GmbH & Co. KG, Signify GmbH, Formitas GmbH, Thing Technologies GmbH and Enlighted Inc. To date, we were able to add other highly innovative businesses to our membership list, including American Tower Germany, Landmarken AG, Phoenix Contact Deutschland GmbH, Zumtobel Lighting GmbH and some others.
Together, we work on topics like the development of a proprietary smart building platform, the establishment of a state-of-the-art infrastructure (5G and WiFi6), as well as the Smart Parking & Charging Campus, where we explore opportunities for user-focused commercial charging solutions.

What does the Center Smart Commercial Building stand for? And what exactly do you offer enrolled members?

We offer our members one of the most advanced research and development landscapes, as well as a comprehensive network of innovative companies. In this environment, we work on relevant issues from the areas of: Value creation models in software and security, system development in the Internet of Things (IoT) and the qualification of specialist staff.
We look at how area efficiency and productivity of commercial property can be optimized by way of digital components and systems, what stakeholders profit from that optimization and how these systems can be operated safely and intuitively. The Smart Building platform is used for the testing of scalable solutions from various manufacturers under real life conditions in terms of their interoperability and functionality.

What are you, the Head of Innovation Projects, working on right now?

We are currently focusing on two consortial studies. One, entitled “Digital Customer Centric Building”, which will involve American Tower Germany, will start shortly. Here we look at the requirements for connectivity in buildings based on concrete use cases. The consortial study “Digital Real Estate Management” was developed in collaboration with Drees & Sommer SE. It will identify the new digital service requirements for property, asset and facility managers. Both consortial studies are open to enrolled members and external companies.

How important is the RWTH Aachen Campus ecosystem for your center and your enrolled members?

The ecosystem on RWTH Aachen Campus and specifically in our Smart Logistics Cluster offers us and our enrolled members a perfect framework in which we can accelerate innovation in interdisciplinary teams. We have access to various chairs and institutes and their expertise, for example on the topics of human user interaction and real estate project management. The collaboration with other centers within the community allows us to jointly approach complex problems and find highly efficient solutions taking into account all cross-departmental aspects. We additionally have the unique opportunity here to utilize our location and the entire campus as a living lab for our development topics and ensure the practical relevance of our solutions.

Which direction will the department Smart Commercial Building and your center take next?

There are still many topics, for which we have not found final answers as yet. For example, what future operator models for digital properties will look like, how to overcome the challenges of cyber security, and what the legal framework conditions will have to be. On September 15 and 16, leading companies in the industry will meet at our specialist symposium “Smart Building Solutions” in Aachen to focus on these specific issues.

You are one of the organizers/co-organizers of the “Smart Building Solutions” event in September 2020 in Aachen. Who are you addressing specifically and why should companies attend?

Our hybrid symposium is aimed at real estate developers, investors and experts in the construction sector. High-caliber speakers will present and discuss opportunities for the digitization of smart buildings, smart complexes and higher-level mobility concepts on the basis of concrete best practice examples. In an exhibition forum alongside the event, companies from the PropTech sector, as well as established software and technology providers will offer live demonstrations of their innovative solutions.

09/15/2020 – 09/16/2020

Which new business models offer big opportunities in our time of sharing community – what risks must be taken into consideration?

More information about the event and the program can be found here.

Metropolitan Cities MC GmbH

Metropolitan Cities MC GmbH