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How different forms of intelligence are transforming the building


The workspace as we know it is in a perpetual state of transformation. Continually disrupted by evolving needs, new technology and cultural trends, business models must be willing and able to change.

In order to facilitate changes and to better offer users of work spaces the buildings which are ultimately going to support and in some ways bolster their experience, the use of technology has become a driving force in offering new solutions. 

Today’s offices are clearly a result of new ways of working such as the increase in project driven teams whose size fluctuates depending on the length of a project. These project based models mean greater collaboration between teams and entities and therefore spaces that are designed to encourage interaction and creative thinking. 

The greater understanding of data has also had an impact on the way in which work spaces are managed. 

The combination of cultural and technological ability has resulted in new types of ‘intelligence’ being implemented into a workplace. Where we once heralded the arrival of artificial intelligence and its impact on various aspects of our lives, BNP Paribas Real Estate now identifies a series of different types of ‘intelligence’ which are influencing and changing the workplace of today and tomorrow. 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is designed to simulate certain aspects of human intelligence. Whilst the term AI was coined by John McCarthy back in 1956, the ability to harness the aims of this concept was initially limited by the capacity of technology at the time. Now with the vast quantity of data at our fingertips, the power of computers and the extensive amounts of storage capacity, AI is seeing somewhat of a comeback.

According to Luc Julia the Vice President of Innovation at Samsung and creator of Siri, “A certain form of intelligence may emerge from the interoperability of objects. When 300 or 1,000 objects communicate between themselves they may automatically create good working conditions and effective energy savings reflexes. We will have made it when these objects surprise us and help us as a human assistant would. This will require closer interoperability and better context and historical analysis.”

Collective Intelligence

Collective intelligence refers to the intelligence which emerges from the collaboration of a number of individuals by pooling information and skills from people with different abilities and talents. To obtain collective intelligence the facilitation of a space to encourage creativity and skill sharing is essential.

The future French headquarters of Orange is an example of how collective intelligence can be implemented in a building for the benefits of the occupants. To understand how to go about this, Orange conducted an in-depth review of new work forms and environments in order to implement a building which encourages Collective Intelligence. Orange’s Property Development Director, Bertrand Jasson explains, “We are going to devote the entire ground floor, which is also the most accessible level, to services and interaction.”

Service Intelligence

Service intelligence is the ability of a place to be able to provide a range of innovative applications and services that meet the needs of the occupants. By making use of the latest technological innovations, these services are designed to provide an improved building experience. 

At the Microsoft campus on the outskirts of Paris, a single use application has been put into place in order to access real time information relating to management, parking, restaurants, concierge services and external information such as road traffic. 

Living Intelligence

Living intelligence involves replicating some aspects of the natural environment and placing them into the man made environment. This means building workspaces which are based on the outside world and harnessing natural mechanisms in order to bring greater comfort and well-being to users. 

One particularly notable example of this is the Ferme Abattoir in Brussels. Devised by Steven Beckers, this innovative concept ensures a closed and zero waste loop. The roof of the building houses a 2,000m2 garden and a 2,000m2 greenhouse which produce a number of vegetables and herbs, using heat from the energy lost from the building. A fish farm in the basement produces a natural fertilizer and recovered rainwater irrigates the greenhouse. Produce from the rooftop is used in the company’s restaurant as well as being sold to various local restaurants. Steven Beckers explains, “As well as optimising the building’s energy performance, our facilities have a positive impact on the environment because they follow the principles of the circular economy, create employment, generate revenue and promote social actions.”

Structural Intelligence

Structural intelligence is all about the design and location of a building, as well as choosing materials that will make the building as Smart and innovative as possible. 
Trinity Tower in Paris’ CBD, La Défense has been designed to stimulate individual development and collective intelligence. The idea is that the building is driven by its occupants and the spaces are able to evolve as demand changes. At the top of the tower, six floors merge into three duplexes, a configuration designed to promote interaction and knowledge-sharing. The wood and warm, homey interior of the building create the atmosphere of a ‘home away from home’.

Creative Intelligence

Creative intelligence promotes the creativity of employees, encouraging proactivity, entrepreneurship and cross-mentoring. The French brand, My Little Paris puts this at the heart of their business, attributing the growth of the brand to their focus on an environment of innovation, creativity and collaboration. Elisa Rummelhard Brand Love Manager points out, “Creativity is like a muscle that must be trained. To this end, we have put in place many creativity rituals, brainstorming formats, a specific managerial organisation, shortened validation chains, and so on. As of this year, we will be sharing these creativity techniques and methods via a B2B immersion programme known as The Spark, enabling us to transmit this learning to other companies who come to us for inspiration to disrupt their everyday existence and boost the creativity of their teams and products.

BNP Paribas Real Estate has been able to identify these new ranges of ‘intelligences’ that are being implemented into businesses and buildings globally by meeting with property experts and professionals from a variety of industries. This has enabled us to see how difference types of intelligence can be woven into a building in order to make the transition to a smart office or smart building. To find out more about our conversations with these businesses and specialists, download WatchOut #4