For decades, popular media has skewed our perception of smart buildings. The heuristically programmed algorithmic computer HAL 9000, featured in Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), depicts a malevolent and preservationist system that jeopardized the lives of its crew. By 2001, the Ultrahouse 3000 in “The Simpsons” kept the misconceptions alive by depicting a smart home that tries to kill Homer Simpson. Most recently, Dwayne Johnson’s blockbuster “Skyscraper” highlighted the safety and security perils of installing smart building technologies. Despite the fantasy architype of a smart building, owner and occupier demand is accelerating our transition from traditional to smart buildings.
For me, a lot of how we think about smart buildings has changed. Although the industry is still obsessed with finding the right definition, the way we deliver it is much more professional. The reason that the definition has been so elusive is that it’s a moving target, changing as businesses’ focuses respond to market pressures.