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What are IBs

The term “Intelligent Building” (IB) has become a very popular description covering almost all new commercial and residential buildings in major cities worldwide. In the general sense, IB relates to buildings that contain high-speed local area networks, protocols, fiber optics, multimedia environments and even satellite conferencing. It is generally believed that all modern IBs in the world possess advanced information technologies (ITs). The trend is for most building service systems to be integrated into an IT environment, which is an essential tool for an IB. IBs utilize advanced information, control and mechatronic technologies as well as employ smart structure and modern management theories. But IBs should encompass more than that; AIIB will promote a true and comprehensive picture of IBs.

The definition of IB varies in different regions. According to Dr. Albert So, who has developed a definition of IB for Asia, an intelligent building is designed and constructed based on an appropriate selection of quality environment modules to meet users’ requirements by matching the appropriate building facilities to achieve long-termed building value. The definition includes two dimensions -- the needs of the building developer/owner/occupants and the enabling technologies. The integration of these two dimensions will generate measurable long-termed building values such as productivity, market value, energy conservation, environmental friendliness and high working efficiency. (Source: So A.T.P., Wong A.C.W. and Wong K.C., “A new definition of intelligent buildings for Asia”, Facilities, Vol.17, No.12/13, 1999, pp.485-491)


IB Benefits

Since Hong Kong is an international financial metropolis, modern commercial, governmental and residential buildings should follow the trend toward IB. Investment in an IB project must be viewed as long-termed and value-added, offering the following benefits:

  1. Provides a better and more comfortable environment for occupants, leading to greatly improved working efficiency with the aid of modern information technology.

  2. Ensures much lower life-cycle costs, in particular for maintenance and upgrades.

  3. Guarantees a greater flexibility in changing the functions of the buildings.

  4. Maintains a relatively higher value for the buildings in terms of marketability and productivity; establishes an excellent image of IB to the public and suits the needs of the occupants.

  5. Upholds the concept of an environmental friendly building.

It is believed that IB will become a major building trend in the coming decades. However, up to now, there has been no standard definition of IB for Asia. Therefore, the establishment of the Asian Institute of Intelligent Buildings (AIIB)is important for developing Asia’s definition of, and standards for, IB and acting as an independent certification authority for IB in Asia.

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