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News & opinion

17 JAN 2019

How video and AI are improving the spaces you work in

Ansley Yeo leads the IoT business for Microsoft in Southeast Asia. He helps partners, customers and local Microsoft sellers have beneficial conversations about the Internet of Things (IoT) and determine how Microsoft can help them with smart building solutions.

Microsoft's base foundation of a smart building is a development that has sensors that collect information and uses that data to gain insights. With that, you need to close the loop to act on the information you have received. This involves an evolution of buildings to become far more people-centric, where we are capturing the complex integrations of people, spaces and things.

"We already have customers approaching us to do smart buildings across Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia,", says Ansley. "The retail sector is especially aggressive about making their buildings smarter — not only to get more people into shopping malls, but also to evaluate how energy is impacting the environment."

Where’s colleagues?

Currently, Microsoft are working on smart-office space and trying to learn how the office space reacts to people when it comes to hot desking. Finding your colleagues in a hot-desking situation can be quite difficult, so we are gathering information about where people sit and where meeting rooms are that they have booked. The aim is to make these workspaces more efficient, more interactive and boost collaboration.

Azure Digital Twins

Microsoft has been aggressively building, deploying, and testing smart building technology on its own buildings for years. It has been progressively getting better and better at using sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) technology to manage hundreds of buildings at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, and around the world. All that work has been woven into Azure Digital Twins, which brings spatial intelligence to the Microsoft Azure IoT platform.

Learn more

Cognitive services

This "vision" technology is part of Microsoft's Cognitive Services, which makes it possible for apps and services to identify and analyse content within images and video. It interprets a user needs through natural methods of communication using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Other examples of where this might be deployed in smart buildings could be health and safety. Videos can be used to identify if someone is wearing a hard hat, safety vest or even googles, which helps enhance safety conditions in the workplace. Another example could be fire safety, where, traditionally, you must wait for smoke to hit an alarm. Today, by analysing the pattern and behavior of fire, cognitive services can send notifications and raise alerts much quicker, which means there is less chance of a fire spreading and potentially causing harm.

Watch Ansley's full interview

Ansley Yeo, IOT Lead Southeast Asia, Microsoft, tells us about his role, smart buildings and one of his most exciting projects to date: Azure Digital Twins.