Johnson Controls, the supplier for smart and sustainable buildings, has opened its S$50 million OpenBlue Innovation Centre, located within the School of Design and Environment (SDE), at the National University of Singapore (NUS). It is designed as a living laboratory for a new breed of customisable, contact-free applications built on Johnson Controls’ unifying technology suite, OpenBlue. Together with its ecosystem of partners — which includes NUS and Microsoft — the centre is pioneering the use of a common configuration language that bridges core building technology with behavioural, wellness, and spatial data to develop solutions.
The 240 sq-m centre is housed in SDE4, which is Singapore’s first new-build net-zero energy building. It will have sensors fitted throughout the indoor space — including overhead ventilation to measure air flow, and on furniture that provides insights on occupants’ alertness level. Engineers from the center and collaborating NUS researchers will collect and analyse data using OpenBlue, leveraging artificial intelligence and analytics to obtain a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the interactions between technology, indoor environments, and occupant well-being. The ecosystem of partners will tap on the intelligence generated from the center to create evidence-backed solutions for healthier, safer, and connected indoor spaces.
Visal Leng, president, Building Solutions, Asia Pacific, Johnson Controls, said: “The Johnson Controls OpenBlue Innovation Centre embodies our approach towards building dynamic and resilient spaces, injecting new lease of life into the built environment sector. Taking an unprecedented holistic and human-centric methodology, we are incorporating people and design perspectives, thus sparking greater innovation within industries and outside traditional boundaries.”
OpenBlue, is a suite of connected platform, solutions and services that combines the Company’s 135 years of building expertise with cutting-edge digital technology. This open digital platform, when integrated with Johnson Controls core building systems and enhanced by ecosystem partners, connects traditionally separate systems to create new capabilities for safer, more agile, and sustainable space usages.
NUS will serve as a living laboratory for the OpenBlue Innovation Center’s pioneering solutions, thus helping the university in its ongoing efforts to develop a smart, sustainable and safe campus for its staff and students. The collaboration also includes joint research and innovation in the areas on built and urban environment, particularly in data analytics, sustainability and operations, as well as people and wellness. There will also be opportunities for collaboration on teaching and internship programs.
In 2008, Johnson Controls was the appointed partner to implement a converged campus building management solution for NUS University Town. The University Town achieved the Green Mark District Award, the first for NUS, in 2010. Throughout the last ten years, Johnson Controls had introduced different technologies to enable the precinct to achieve energy savings of 20 per cent. The latest remote maintenance capability introduced at UTown has also proven to be practical and crucial during the current pandemic conditions.
Johnson Controls announced the setup of the centre, with support from the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), in mid-2020. The facility is expected to have more than 100 employees within four years, with strong focus on talent development with NUS at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels.