1. INTRODUCTION

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It is unclear whether the rise of Big Data will usher in a new digital age of extreme productivity, near-free goods and services and the shrinking of capitalism (RIFKIN), or, the prelude to a situation in which better technology in the long run means more unemployment and an eventual socialist backlash. (LANIER) Either way, it’s coming.

Data collection increased 400% in 2012 (Krux). A billion pieces of content are shared daily on Facebook (Zuckerberg), and 90% of the world’s existing data has been generated in just the past 2 years. (Progress). But perhaps the most telling statistic is the fact that 70% of data is user generated, yet enterprises are responsible for storing and managing some 80% of it (CSC). Whether the ones and zeroes that make up big data become the new natural resource that will be freely available to all whom wish to embrace and take full advantage of its possibilities, or, another commodity hoarded and vied for by corporations remains to be seen.

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With the coming of this before unseen amount of data, the role of the Architect in a world of Big Data (online and physical) must be addressed. Will Architecture be just another profession that falls victim to automation and smart machines, or, will it redefine itself and harness the possibilities and potentials Big Data presents? If the latter, can this new tool be used to address the problems currently plaguing not just Architecture, but the whole design discipline and built environment? Brand tells us that buildings don’t adapt well. “When we deal with buildings, we deal with decisions taken long ago for remote reasons. We argue with anonymous predecessors and lose.” But what should a building, a city or an architecture element adapt to? People who work and live in their environments are more knowledgeable than outside observers. It is these end users who should have the most input into their built environment’s services, aesthetics and culture. There are of course examples where these environments already exist.

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Informal settlements are unplanned and unregulated, where housing develops out of necessity, often, not in compliance with planning and building regulations. There are lessons to learn from such settlements, but, of course, they have their own host of problems. The following research will explore the notion of a built environment that is shaped and informed by the data supplied by the same individuals who use that environment. I will specifically look at the social and physical implications of such an environment, whether they can address the problems presented above and what the Architect’s role, if any, might be in such a data-influenced environment. The first part of this document will be composed of research relating to the internet of things and its contribution to Big Data. I will explore how both these subjects might inform a physical space and how an architect might embrace such disciplines to complement their own design and analytical skills. The second section will explore current sensors available to the internet of things and apply these to the Architectural elements that we are most familar with.

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PRESSURE - the force applied perpendicular to the surface of an object. Pressure sensors can be embedded into the physical environment in the likes of doors or floors or any element that experiences physical force. It can be used to gauge the position of people on floors to aid in way-finding or to monitor if someone were to fall to the floor in an accident.

PRESSURE

PRESSURE

BLUETOOTH -A wireless technology for exchanging data over short distances. Most Internet of Things devices will have a sensor like Bluetooth to provide the link between objects, people, elements and the data server (usually the cloud) . Bluetooth (or wifi/cellular) provides the link between objects and is what connects the built environment to the internet.

BLUETOOTH

BLUETOOTH

TIME - the indefinite continued progress  Time is a 'broad' sensor. All sensors will record time, as well as respond to time. Time sensors used to monitor   the sequence in which elements are used allows elements to anticipate their use, creating a highly responsive   built environment.

TIME

TIME – the indefinite continued progress Time is a ‘broad’ sensor. All sensors will record time, as well as respond to time. Time sensors used to monitor the sequence in which elements are used allows elements to anticipate their use, creating a highly responsive built environment.

MOTION - the act or process of changing position or place.  Motion sensors are used to detect and analyse either the type of movement a person makes within a space or   the movement of a person through a space. Motion can be relayed onto other objects and inform how these   objects operate, for example, a wall measuring the motion of someone when they awake triggering the lights to   switch on.

MOTION

MOTION – the act or process of changing position or place. Motion sensors are used to detect and analyse either the type of movement a person makes within a space or the movement of a person through a space. Motion can be relayed onto other objects and inform how these objects operate, for example, a wall measuring the motion of someone when they awake triggering the lights to switch on.

SOUND - vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person's   or animal's ear.  Sound sensors are used to measure noise levels across a range of frequencies. Sound sensors can be used to   activate security measures, for example, if elements register a sound such as glass breaking, an alarm could be   triggered. Sound sensors could also be sensitive enough to sense vibration alerting of foundation movement.

SOUND

SOUND – vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s or animal’s ear. Sound sensors are used to measure noise levels across a range of frequencies. Sound sensors can be used to activate security measures, for example, if elements register a sound such as glass breaking, an alarm could be triggered. Sound sensors could also be sensitive enough to sense vibration alerting of foundation movement.

RFID – (radio frequency identification) - the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. RFID tags are used in a similar manner to barcodes, to record and track the usage and locations of possessions. Unlike a barcode, the tag contains electronically stored information, which can be transmitted to the reader from remote sites, offering greater flexibility of use.

RFID

RFID – (radio frequency identification) – the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. RFID tags are used in a similar manner to barcodes, to record and track the usage and locations of possessions. Unlike a barcode, the tag contains electronically stored information, which can be transmitted to the reader from remote sites, offering greater flexibility of use.

SMOKE – a visible suspension of carbon or other particles in air, typically one emitted from a burning substance.  Smoke detectors analyse the air for smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. The sensors activate automatic   opening vents to extract the smoke from the building. When smoke is detected, an audible or visual alarm is   triggered and the emergency services are alerted.

SMOKE

SMOKE

PARTICLES – a minute portion of matter.  Particle detectors are used to detect, track and/or identify high energy particles, such as those produced by   nuclear decay or cosmic radiation. In unsafe conditions, sensors can alert people in the surrounding area to   evacuate and alert the emergency services immediately.

PARTICLES

PARTICLES – a minute portion of matter. Particle detectors are used to detect, track and/or identify high energy particles, such as those produced by nuclear decay or cosmic radiation. In unsafe conditions, sensors can alert people in the surrounding area to evacuate and alert the emergency services immediately.

TOUCH – the physiological sense by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the   body.  Touch sensors are used to operate elements within the built environment. Different types of touch motion i.e tap,   swipe, push trigger different actions. Touch recognition allows preferences to be recorded for multiple users.

TOUCH

TOUCH – the physiological sense by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the body. Touch sensors are used to operate elements within the built environment. Different types of touch motion i.e tap, swipe, push trigger different actions. Touch recognition allows preferences to be recorded for multiple users.

WIND – the perceptible natural movement of the air, especially in the form of a current of air blowing from a  particular direction. Wind meters are used to measure wind speed and direction over a certain area. If high levels   of wind are detected, protection measures are triggered to improve the comfort of an environment. During   extreme levels of wind, people may be instructed to evacuate or emergency services may be alerted.

WIND

WIND – the perceptible natural movement of the air, especially in the form of a current of air blowing from a particular direction. Wind meters are used to measure wind speed and direction over a certain area. If high levels of wind are detected, protection measures are triggered to improve the comfort of an environment. During extreme levels of wind, people may be instructed to evacuate or emergency services may be alerted.

TEMPERATURE – a measure of the average kinetic energy of atoms or molecules in a system.  Temperature sensors are used to monitor both the ambient temperature of a space and the temperature of   individuals within that space. The sensors can trigger temperature adjustments for the whole space or local to the   user, to improve user comfort levels.

TEMPERATURE

TEMPERATURE – a measure of the average kinetic energy of atoms or molecules in a system. Temperature sensors are used to monitor both the ambient temperature of a space and the temperature of individuals within that space. The sensors can trigger temperature adjustments for the whole space or local to the user, to improve user comfort levels.

HEART RATE – the number of heartbeats per unit of time, usually per minute.  Heart rate monitors are used to measure the heart rate of individuals, to help identify comfort levels and also   potential health risks. If an individual experiences heart problems, the emergency services can be alerted   immediately.

HEART RATE

HEART RATE – the number of heartbeats per unit of time, usually per minute. Heart rate monitors are used to measure the heart rate of individuals, to help identify comfort levels and also potential health risks. If an individual experiences heart problems, the emergency services can be alerted immediately.

SPEECH - the sound produced by the vocal organs of a vertebrate, especially a human.  Voice commands are used to instruct elements to perform a certain task or to initiate certain events. Voice   recognition allows preferences to be recorded for multiple users.

SPEECH

SPEECH – the sound produced by the vocal organs of a vertebrate, especially a human. Voice commands are used to instruct elements to perform a certain task or to initiate certain events. Voice recognition allows preferences to be recorded for multiple users.

FLAME – a hot glowing body of ignited gas that is  Flame sensors are used to detect and respond to the presence of a flame or fire. When a flame or fire is   detected, the sensor can trigger various responses, in the form of an alarm, a sprinkler system or deactivation of   a fuel line. A flame detector can often respond faster and more accurately than a smoke or heat detector,   enabling immediate evacuation of an affected area.

FLAME

FLAME – a hot glowing body of ignited gas that is Flame sensors are used to detect and respond to the presence of a flame or fire. When a flame or fire is detected, the sensor can trigger various responses, in the form of an alarm, a sprinkler system or deactivation of a fuel line. A flame detector can often respond faster and more accurately than a smoke or heat detector, enabling immediate evacuation of an affected area.

BRIGHTNESS – the   effect  Light sensors are used to monitor and adjust the brightness of a space. An optimum level of illuminance can be   achieved to improve user comfort or to enhance the experience of a space, for example, the lighting in a gallery   adjusted to consider the level of natural daylighting.

BRIGHTNESS

BRIGHTNESS – the effect Light sensors are used to monitor and adjust the brightness of a space. An optimum level of illuminance can be achieved to improve user comfort or to enhance the experience of a space, for example, the lighting in a gallery adjusted to consider the level of natural daylighting.

AIR QUALITY – the degree to which air in a particular place is pollution-free.  Air quality sensors sample the air regularly to analyse pollution content i.e dust, pollen, gas. The sensors trigger   the extraction of pollutants to improve air quality and user comfort. The sensors can alert the user or emergency   services in a case where the level of pollutant is dangerous.

AIR QUALITY

AIR QUALITY – the degree to which air in a particular place is pollution-free. Air quality sensors sample the air regularly to analyse pollution content i.e dust, pollen, gas. The sensors trigger the extraction of pollutants to improve air quality and user comfort. The sensors can alert the user or emergency services in a case where the level of pollutant is dangerous.

WATER – a clear, colourless, odourless, and tasteless liquid, H2O, essential for most plant and animal life.  Moisture sensors are used to monitor the moisture content of both natural and built elements. The sensors can   be used to trigger responses to improve user comfort or safety. In natural environments, high levels or water   detection can trigger a flood warning. In the built environment, early water detection can prevent water damage to   infrastructure.

WATER

WATER – a clear, colourless, Moisture sensors are used to monitor the moisture content of both natural and built elements. The sensors can be used to trigger responses to improve user comfort or safety. In natural environments, high levels or water detection can trigger a flood warning. In the built environment, early water detection can prevent water damage to infrastructure.

EEG – (electroencephalogram) a test that detects electrical activity in the brain using electrodes.  EEGs are used to map the brain activity of individual to gauge comfort, mood and responses to the environment.   Impulse responses to changes in the surrounding can be recorded and used to improve the environmental   conditions according to individual user preferences.

EEG

EEG – (electroencephalogram) a test that detects electrical activity in the brain using electrodes. EEGs are used to map the brain activity of individual to gauge comfort, mood and responses to the environment. Impulse responses to changes in the surrounding can be recorded and used to improve the environmental conditions according to individual user preferences.

PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time, or relationship.  Proximity sensors use infrared to detect the presence of nearby objects without any physical contact. Elements   are able to detect the distance between themselves, other elements and individuals. When certain proximity is   recorded between two elements or an element and an individual, the element is triggered to respond with an   action.

PROXIMITY

PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time, or relationship. Proximity sensors use infrared to detect the presence of nearby objects without any physical contact. Elements are able to detect the distance between themselves, other elements and individuals. When certain proximity is recorded between two elements or an element and an individual, the element is triggered to respond with an action.

LOCATION – a particular place or position where something is or where something is occurring.  Position sensors are used to record the location of people and objects. Sensors are able to track both individual’s   movements and place-specific events, enabling the surrounding environment to alter to suit the preferences of   each individual and of each event.

LOCATION

LOCATION – a particular place or position where something is or where something is occurring. Position sensors are used to record the location of people and objects. Sensors are able to track both individual’s movements and place-specific events, enabling the surrounding environment to alter to suit the preferences of each individual and of each event.

CAMERA – a device for recording visual images in the form of photographs, film, or video signals.  Cameras are incorporated into elements, enabling both still images and video recordings to be captured at all   times. These images and recordings can be relayed instantly to other elements which are responsible for   adjusting the environment, either to enhance user comfort or to improve security.

CAMERA

CAMERA – a device for recording visual images in the form of photographs, film, or video signals. Cameras are incorporated into elements, enabling both still images and video recordings to be captured at all times. These images and recordings can be relayed instantly to other elements which are responsible for adjusting the environment, either to enhance user comfort or to improve security.

BARCODE - a machine-readable code in the form of numbers widths, printed on a commodity and used especially for stock control. Barcodes are used to scan items as they pass from one threshold to another i.e. doors, corridors, windows. The use of possessions is recorded and their locations tracked. A low stock item is replenished or redistributed accordingly.

BARCODE

BARCODE – a machine-readable code in the form of numbers widths, printed on a commodity and used especially for stock control. Barcodes are used to scan items as they pass from one threshold to another i.e. doors, corridors, windows. The use of possessions is recorded and their locations tracked. A low stock item is replenished or redistributed accordingly.