Siemens today is helping to drive digitalization worldwide, and is pushing the same in all of its business units. So it's almost a matter of course that the Siemens Campus Erlangen, too, as one of Siemens' major developing and future locations, is working and expanding under the banner of digitized data and data usage.
This trend began right from the start of planning. This is the first time that the building information modeling (BIM) methodology, by which the buildings are planned in virtual 3D models, has been used for a large-scale Siemens site anywhere in the world.
The data gathered by countless sensors during subsequent operation will flow into these "digital twins" of the buildings. Consistently combined and integrated with innovative building service systems from Siemens, state-of-the-art digital technology such as smart building applications and an intelligent smart-grid-based network connection will increase the sustainability of buildings and the entire site.
These data have also been used for example for the Siemens Campus app developed in-house at Siemens. This app enables everyone to take their own personal virtual tour through the Campus, already today.
The first tenants were also enthused by the fact that they could configure their own offices virtually online. The app enabled them to explore their future workspaces, express specific wishes for their layout and colors, and experience their choices immediately in the virtual world.
Siemens' employees, too, are benefiting. On the Campus, the future is now: state-of-the-art IT landscapes and high-performance Wi-Fi are available everywhere, allowing employees to flexibly work and research on the go, anywhere on campus – even in the cafes and outdoor areas. The "Comfy" app enables personnel to use important services on the Campus online.
This is how the Siemens Campus Erlangen is setting whole new standards for digitalization, because here, too, data provide the foundation for more: more sustainability, more services, more convenience, and more added value.
The concept of building information modeling – BIM for short – defines a work methodology in which all parties involved in a construction project are networked and work together. This method is based on virtual 3D models called digital twins in which not only the geometrical data of all building elements are stored, but also the time and cost schedules for project erection along with data on energy supply, lighting, fire protection and building management. These digital twins constitute the digital brain of a building or – as in the case of the Siemens Campus Erlangen – of an entire company location.
The complete process chain benefits from this innovative method – from planning and construction right though to building operation.
Right from the planning phase onward, all participating partners work on one and the same common digital model. This simplifies coordination and agreement, and accelerates the processes involved. It enables engineers as early as the planning phase, for instance, to identify and eliminate potential collisions between piping and cable runs which would otherwise first be noticed on the construction site. And such issues can often number in the hundreds or even thousands if buildings like these on the Siemens Campus are planned and erected by conventional construction methods.
For the innovative timber-hybrid system of the office buildings in the Campus Module 2, BIM delivers the data essential to enabling industrial prefabrication of the individual building elements, including the integrated building service system supply lines.
Later, when buildings are in operation, their digital twin links the building data with the usage data from a wide array of sensors, thereby enabling highly efficient, resource-conserving and thus sustainable use of the buildings.
What's more, these stored data can be used for other applications. At the Siemens Campus Erlangen, for example, these data provided the basis for the Campus app, the Comfy app and a virtual office configurator that allows future tenants to explore their future office spaces, express wishes for the layout design and color scheme, and then experience their choices immediately in the virtual world long before construction of the building is actually completed.
Hence, BIM data have additionally opened up whole new possibilities for visualization and communication at the Siemens Campus Erlangen.
Digital twin – the digital brain of a building
Strictly speaking, the term "digital twin" in the context of building information modeling (BIM) means three different twins:
The digital product twin presents the building dimensions and floor plan, levels and walls, including electrical cabling and supply lines. In addition to these static properties, this digital twin also includes the windows, doors, specific components and furniture. It thereby provides a complete overview that includes technical data, manufacturing materials and operating equipment and materials.
The digital construction twin contains all heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems installed in the building as well as other permanently installed systems. This twin can be used not only to improve building and energy efficiency, but also for example for visualization purposes and to create artificial intelligence.
The digital performance twin effectively constitutes the brain of the building when it is in operation. It links the static data of the other two twins over the entire service lifetime of the building with the usage data, is continuously learning more, and is used to optimize building efficiency, to plan and perform predictive maintenance, and for simulation purposes. The dynamic usage data originate from a wide assortment of sensors, fire alarms, lighting as well as heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, and from from building safety and security systems. External data on such aspects as weather conditions and daylight may also be integrated.
The employees working at the Siemens Campus Erlangen are the first personnel anywhere in the world to use the new Comfy app at a company location of this size. This app was developed, trial-tested and adapted to the specific requirements at the Campus by Siemens Real Estate – Siemens' real estate asset management company and owner-operator of the Erlangen Campus – in collaboration with a young developer team in the United States.
The Comfy app links Campus data in real time with additional sources, thereby offering employees a comprehensive information portal. These data range from arrival and departure timetables of the local public transport network and current weather information to the daily specials on the respective menus of the cafeterias, cafes and restaurants on the Campus.
Employees can also use the Campus and In-House Navigation functions, for example, to find their way directly to their next meeting. Meeting rooms can also be booked directly through the app. Meeting appointments are thereby automatically taken over from the calendar into the app, and the app sends timely reminders to all participants, and shows you the way there.
All Siemens employees can use the Comfy app on their company smartphones.
Siemens Campus App
The innovative Siemens Campus app enables online visitors from around the globe to conveniently experience the Campus already today in the virtual world. The digital twins of the Campus building provide the basis for this virtual exploration. Besides taking guided tours, it's even possible to do a customized virtual walkdown tour of Module 1 of the Campus, strolling along the central green promenade axis past cafes, restaurants and the office buildings, and thereby also gain an impression from a distance of how the Campus lives and works.
The Siemens Campus app is available to download free of charge from both the Google Play Store and from the Apple Store: simply scan the QR code with your smartphone.