Complex Made Simple

Interview: Developing the ‘Smart Living as a Service’ model in the UAE

A strategic international partnership is set to amplify the Smart Living as a Service (SLaaS) model in the UAE. Facilio, one of the 3 partners, talks to AMEinfo.

"Smart Living as a Service is a future-ready idea that fuses exceptional user experience, sustainability and efficiency using a technology empowered approach to managing buildings and living spaces" - CEO of Facilio "The idea is to implement smart home systems at scale" "The Dubai 10X initiative aspires to position the city 10 years ahead of other major urban centers around the world"

New York-based FM-Tech start-up Facilio, with operations in the US, Middle East and India; and Smart IoT, an innovator in the UAE, have signed an MOU with Digital X, a subsidiary of Digital DEWA, to support the implementation of ‘Smart Living as a Service,’ to further Sheikh Mohammed’s Dubai 10X vision.

Prabhu Ramachandran, founder and CEO of Facilio Inc

This strategic partnership complements both the local and global goals of Digital X. Smart IoT brings to the table local expertise and perspective, and will assist Digital X in day-to-day operations and successful establishment of Digital X systems. While International partner Facilio will help Digital X evolve into an effective futuristic system, in line with global sensibilities.

Hoping to learn more about this, AMEinfo had the opportunity to speak with Prabhu Ramachandran, founder and CEO of Facilio Inc, an enterprise-wide platform for facilities O & M (Operations & Maintenance) across real-estate portfolios,

It is not often we hear about the concept of Smart Living as a Service (SLaaS). Can you break down what your definition of smart living is, and how it’ll be commercialized in an SLaaS business model? 

Smart Living as a Service is a future-ready idea that fuses exceptional user experience, sustainability and efficiency using a technology empowered approach to managing buildings and living spaces. The idea is to implement smart home systems at scale, by using IoT technology to collate data generated by variations in usage patterns, subjecting it to AI basedanalysis, and implementing the insights in real time. This approach is able to allocate and manage resources to achieve optimal outcomes with highly efficient consumption.

Being a scalable software platform based solution, it can be commercialized for a single home, an entire building or a community, with ease. It upgrades existing buildings and homes to fully integrated domestic systems that are responsive to occupant needs, intuitive to use, and offer complete transparency and control over embedded technologies.

How will your partnership help push forward the Dubai 10x vision?

The Dubai 10X initiative aspires to position the city 10 years ahead of other major urban centers around the world. The goal is to implement tomorrow’s technologies today while reducing energy expenditure and resource consumption. This will involve autonomous systems, artificial intelligence driven control, digital services that users can access on the go, and more. DEWA will provide much of the automation and embedded technologies, Smart IoT will enable multi-tier reporting of data, and the Facilio software platform acts as the centralized hub that uses AI driven analysis to generate actionable insights for the system, in real time. The cumulative effect is the delivery of highly sustainable and optimized asset performance.

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What are the biggest innovations driving smart living in the UAE at the moment? What about in the future? 

The UAE real estate market is renowned for its exclusive and luxurious properties. Naturally, Smart Home services have made an appearance on the market already. For the most part, these involve connected devices and automation that can be controlled to exacting standards remotely or onsite, as well as programmed routines that can be selected by the user. In the future, these services will be far more proactive and responsive to occupant needs, with the use of algorithms and cognitive technology. Most importantly, they will not be limited to the high-end of the market. Instead, these technologies will be implemented as standard services at a community and city-wide scale.

Could your aspirations carry over to other Middle Eastern countries if you find success in the UAE? 

The UAE has a well-deserved reputation for leading the region in innovation and people-centric policies. The Middle East shares deep cultural roots and aspirations tend to cross borders relatively easily in such circumstances. I believe many of the UAE’s neighbours in the Middle East will follow suit, once the UAE has demonstrated the very desirable outcomes that the deployment of Smart Infrastructure can achieve. The positive escalation in living standards that our technology can deliver is very significant. In my opinion, once this has been demonstrated, the case for other countries to follow suit will be very compelling.

Another aspect that is often underestimated is the region’s leadership in sustainability and ecological concerns. Despite being so rich in conventional sources of energy, the fact of the matter is that the Middle East is home to a lot of infrastructure that demonstrates the practical potential for sustainable urbanization. I believe the optimal efficiencies our technology enables will elicit an enthusiastic response in the rest of the region as well.

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