Data: The world's most valuable resource

The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data

The global data economy is estimated at $3 trillion, according to The World Economic Forum. This is a trend that is expected to continue and grow in the next decades as different industries transition into the Industry 4.0 stage. As Automation and Artificial Intelligence becomes available to more industries and more companies adopt it, the value of data is expected to increase even further.

Data is the new gold

Architecture projects generate much useful data that could be broken down into three groups:

  1. Design Process Data
  2. Building Data
  3. City Data

Design Process Data

Project data can be valuable for decision-making by making a design process more efficient, or eliminating tasks through automation. During a project design program data, such as area, proportion, dimensions, adjancencies, and programmatic / massing configuration can be automated through program data processing in spatial conditions. This can not only aid designers through a series of potential layouts for a project before even starting the design, but also comparing their efficiencies to help make a better and faster educated decision. Firms that focus on gathering this data, building their own tools to process it, and defining design processes that are enhanced by automation and artificial intelligence will provide a more robust and accurate analysis to their projects that will not be sustainable to develop for the traditional practice. Today, there are a series of tools that are allowing many of these AI strategies and we are expecting to accelerate in the coming years as BIM software is still in the early stages of Cloud Computing compared to other industies.

Building Data

Building models have a lot of data that is useful for building owners, operators, administrators, facility management and overall maintenance teams. From quantities of a given element, to brands, models, dimensions, capacity, consumption, wattage, voltage, tonnage, etc…, the data that these models offer is often lost from Architect to Operator. During the construction process, GCs take over and deliver owners their interpretation of data, but it often lacks the data in a way the O&M team and users will need it, not to mention that GCs usually type in everything they use as data instead of seamlessly integrating all the data provided by Architects. In the end, the client pays a thousand times to have the Architect, Engineers, Contractors, Sub-Contractors, Operations & Maintenance teams, etc… to type-in the specifications, quantity, location or parameter of any given element. The process of data loss chasm is repeated in every cycle of a project, and understanding how to input, gather and manage in the same platform/system for future use has been the biggest argument of this decade, but many have already adopted a centralized system that operates model and market-based to integrate the data during these building stages. Ultimately, Architects can provide their clients the Operations & Maintenance platform data and connect it to monitoring, performance, control, integration or automation.

City Data

Project data can help any given project provide the necessary data to provide an aggregate of data that allows in depth realities of any given geography. Models can provide Wattage, Voltage, Occupancy, water retention capacity, flooding conditions, etc… Also, building data across typologies, scales and geographies can provide information that is very useful to the industries themselves. Firms that focus on building that aggregated project data, and that figure out a way to connect to a larger community of buildings share the data, will find new sources of business in the value of data itself, and focus more on processing, gathering and interpretation.

Here are some fun articles related: 

  • The Economist:
  • The World Economic Forum:
  • BIM Community:
  • University of Cambridge:
  • Smart Cities Dive: