Johnson Controls, a global leader for smart and sustainable buildings, has announced the opening of its S$50 million OpenBlue Innovation Center to create a future-ready built environment for Singapore and the region. The facility, located within the School of Design and Environment (SDE), at the National University of Singapore (NUS), will be a living laboratory for a new breed of customizable, contact-free applications built on Johnson Controls’ unifying technology suite, OpenBlue. Together with its ecosystem of partners — which includes NUS and Microsoft — the center is pioneering the use of a common configuration language that bridges core building technology with behavioural, wellness, and spatial data to develop solutions that meet new demands for safety and sustainability in connected spaces.
The 240 square-meter center 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 analyze 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 Center 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.
Professor Yong Kwet Yew, NUS Senior Vice President (Campus Infrastructure), said: “NUS and Johnson Controls have collaborated on several campus projects and we are therefore very excited to extend our partnership through these new initiatives which are part of our Smart, Safe and Sustainable Campus strategies. The opportunity to test Johnson Controls’ novel solutions on our campus and conduct joint research will help advance our ongoing efforts to build smarter, healthier and sustainable work, teaching and learning spaces for our staff, faculty and students.”
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 10 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.
Professor Lam Khee Poh, Dean of NUS School of Design and Environment, said: “Our School of Design and Environment is thrilled to host the Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue Innovation Center in SDE4 and to facilitate cross-disciplinary research and development initiatives across the entire NUS community. This partnership strengthens the School’s ‘Well & Green’ vision that emphasizes a people-centric integrated design approach that generates sustainable and resilient value propositions in its endeavours.”
Johnson Controls announced the setup of the OpenBlue Innovation Center, 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. The investment marks the company’s commitment to spearhead the creation and adoption of disruptive solutions for the built environment industry in the region.