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20 September, 2021

Siemens and UK university plan ‘smartest campus’

14 September, 2021

Siemens has joined forces with the UK’s University of Birmingham to make its Edgbaston and Dubai campuses the world’s smartest, using a combination of digital sensor and analytics technologies, AI (artificial intelligence), decentralised energy generation and storage, renewable energy and other technologies. They say they are creating a “living laboratory” where research, teaching and learning will benefit from access to data and connectivity.

The University believes it will become the first in the world to roll out Internet of Things (IoT) technology at scale. The first phase of the project will include the roll out of 23,000 IoT sensors across the University’s estate, starting later this year.

The scheme will capture data from the University’s building technologies, estates infrastructure and energy plants and use it for innovation, r&d activities, and teaching. By scrutinising energy demand and production – from individual consumers/producers (“prosumers”) to complete systems – using live data gathered from across the University’s sites, the project partners say they will provide “a unique opportunity” for applied learning for students as well as creating a platform for cutting-edge research.

“As one of the largest universities in the UK – with a global community of more than 38,000 students – the university is already an energy prosumer and these technologies will be further optimised in the system we are now working on together,” explains Matthias Rebellius, CEO of Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “Partnerships like this are extremely important for gathering new insights, testing and developing new technologies and creating efficient and sustainable energy infrastructure. The university’s campus in Dubai will be a global example of sustainability at the rescheduled Dubai Expo 2020.”

“Our goal is to deliver the campus of the future, using cutting-edge technologies to make our campuses in Edgbaston and Dubai the smartest globally,” adds Professor Tim Jones, provost and vice-principal of the University of Birmingham. “This will enhance our student experience, create new research and innovation opportunities, whilst significantly reducing our carbon footprint.

“As we approach COP26 in Glasgow this autumn,” he continues, “it is clear we are into the ‘decade of delivery’ for net-zero targets. University-industry strategic partnerships – such as ours with Siemens – are important for helping to identify pathways for turning targets into reality.”

As part of the cooperation, Siemens will also sponsor a team of PhD students at the University with research projects designed to address challenges in data, technology, urban systems and the net-zero goal.

Siemens and the University of Birmingham plan to make its campuses ‘the smartest in the world’

“We are excited to be working with the University of Birmingham on this project and confident that together we can develop a clear pathway to the University becoming a smart campus and net-zero,” says Carl Ennis, CEO of Siemens GB & Ireland. “Our goal is to apply the University’s strategic vision to their campus. We will uncover where carbon savings are possible by managing resources more efficiently, in a system that is adaptable to changing demand.

“All of this can be achieved with a combination of connected digital technologies, artificial intelligence, decentralised energy generation and storage, renewable energy and ideas that help change users’ behaviour.”

Siemens will also provide a 10-year bureau for energy and IoT services to ensure that the University reaps the full potential of both the technology and industry expertise. The University has already cut its carbon emissions by 20% and is looking to reduce emissions from its buildings by a further 2,856 tonnes of CO2 annually – or 5% of its current emissions.

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