Smart Concrete
Lead: Rodolphe el-Khoury, Christos Marcopoulos, Carol Moukheiber
Team: Faisal Bashir
This study was commissioned by Giatec to explore the potential of embedded technology for next-generation concrete.
Giatec's product is situated within the larger development of what is commonly referred to as "Smart Cities". Embedded technologies, i.e., miniaturized microcontrollers, sensors and actuators will be increasingly deployed and incorporated into buildings, landscapes and cities. The economic, social, and environmental advantages that these technologies present include: real time tracking and monitoring for performance evaluation; system and material behavior knowledge as design feedback for next generation structures and material development; management prioritization and budgeting for infrastructural maintenance, and the potential for greater transparency through citizen awareness and participation.
The scenarios presented in the matrix graphically show the implications for the technology, for the users and Giatec's business model at each stage of the evolution from hand-held devices to the massive distribution and ubiquity of "smart dust". The opportunities are mapped and described within the chart below. The trend highlighted through the scenarios is a movement from the development of discreet products, to services, and to the generation of knowledge.
HANDHELD
MOBILE
ATTACHED
INTEGRATED
IN THE MIX
SMART DUST
1: iCOR (Current Situation)
Giatec develops and manufactures iCOR. iCOR is a hand-held device that measures several parameters from the surface of concrete and then analyzes them using advanced algorithms embedded in the device. iCOR is purchased by the user at major stores [or directly through Giatec.] No training by the user is required for the operation of iCOR. Giatec will provide free product support as part of their customer service program. Giatec's business will grow by expanding the client base and developing new models.
2: iCOR + Geo-tagging
A GPS equipped iCOR links data with spatial coordinates. Pin-point precision is also possible with attached RFIDs, scan codes, or other tagging methods enabled by the device. Users (iCOR device owners, maintenance crew, building inspectors, etc) will be able to call up up-to-date and archives of iCOR-generated information by scanning the tags with the help of a mobile application or by using a web-based mapping interface such as a plug-in to Google Earth. Giatec or third parties may take on the task of mapping and periodically reading the tagged sites. Giatec would be able to supplement the sales revenue by a monetized access to the geo-tagged information.
3: onCOR
iCOR’s sensor array is permanently mounted in critical locations on the concrete structure. onCOR, consists in a weather-proof case containing self-powered and networked sensing devices. onCOR’s case may be designed as an interface with a capacity to communicate information to different user-groups and to the public. It may also be ‘camouflaged’ to inconspicuously integrate with the architecture. The data collected is wirelessly transmitted to Giatec where analysis is performed. The data is collected intermittently and the information provided by Giatec is updated accordingly. The frequency of readings is correlated to the condition of the concrete and can be slowed down or accelerated to optimize power consumption. Giatec may offer design services to assist in devising tailored solutions for the architectural/structural integration of onCOR devices. Subscription services enable different levels of access to and interaction with the information generated by Giatec. Giatec should also be able to offer other services that are based on knowledge and expertise building on extensive real time collection of data and customer feedback. Giatec’s design and post-occupancy services maybe be integrated into BIM environments.
4: enCOR
The sensor array is integrated in pre-fabricated building components—prefabricated structural beams, columns, panels, etc. enCOR is similar to onCOR in most aspects of the technology and the business model it enables. Except that this better integrated technology would be invisible and more efficacious in reading minute variations in the state of the concrete. enCOR will also create a greater role for Giatec as a consulting firm in the design of the sensor equipped building components and potentially a stake in the manufacturing and sale of smart building components.
5: UbiCOR
Low-energy multi-sensing devices are embedded in the concrete and may be developed with other agencies that offer monitoring and analysis service for other aspects of building performance such and energy or structure. The data is transmitted to Giatec and other monitoring agencies. Together they constitute a network whose shared expertise and computational power will enable better readings and smarter solutions for future applications. Giatec’s business moves a few more steps away from hardware and products to software and services.
6: NanoCOR
Giatec taps into ubiquitous smart dust to refine its algorithms and offer its fail-proof predictive knowledge at a high premium. Public concrete infrastructures such as bridges and tunnels require active monitoring systems by law. Data and hardware is accessible to internet based communities. With Giatec management, hardware and software are open-source -- accessible to customers, professionals, public institutions and research centers. Giatec runs and manages the iCOR open-source internet community.
iCOR
iCOR™ is a hand-held device that measures several parameters from the surface of concrete and then analyzes them using advanced algorithms embedded in the device.
iCOR + GEO-TAGGING
The GPS-enabled iCOR™ device is a hand-held device that has the ability to leave data with exact spatial coordinates or tags on structures.
BOX INSTALLED
iCOR™ as sensor modules that are installed in critical zones on a temporary or permanent basis. This strategy is better suited to existing structures in need of realtime monitoring.
UBIQUITOUSLY INTEGRATED
iCor is integrated in pre-fabricated building components. Giatec focuses on new construction, where the sensors are permanently installed while transmitting wirelessly to the Giatec control center.
IN THE MIX
Giatec leads the way in miniaturizing the sensor technology and using it as a concrete aggregate. This allows for sensors to be embedded deep in the structure and in hard to reach places.
SMART DUST
Future technologies enable the incorporation of “smart dust” into materials. Smart dust enables the material itself to become a sensor without needing additional devices installed. This stage is the optimum in acquiring data and knowledge to monitor and safeguard our built infrastructure.
PRODUCT DESIGN
Giatec iCOR™ can evolve into a range of hand-held devices that are more accurate, efficient, portable and durable. It should access hard to reach places and easily gather data from a large surface area. Industrial designers can make the device more user and environmentally friendly using ergonomics and sustainable materials.
PRODUCT + GPS/APPS
iCOR with GPS for spatially locating data. Other possibilities include tagging technologies such as QR codes that can be printed from the device. This also involves a mapping interface which visualizes the tagged locations -- logging the structure's status with each inspection.
PUBLIC TRUST + CAMO BOX
The sensor module/box can have either a public presence or be visually integrated into the structure. A public interface could, through its communication capacity, create more transparency and instill trust.
EMBEDDED SENSORS
Engineers develop better and different sensors that can be integrated in structural members. Giatec will provide critical information gained regarding structural performance under various environmental situations.
BUILDING COMPONENTS
Giatec focuses on working with companies that produce prefabricated structural panels. This allows for optimization of sensor array depending on the structure type and its installed environment.
MATERIAL INNOVATIONS
Innovation in material science becomes the medium of design expression, where new materials will create new possibilities of design.
RETAIL
iCOR™ can sell directly to consumers and/or has a network of retail locations where individual units are sold, such as Home Depot, Lowe's and Rona.
GPS + LOCAL TAGS
iCOR™ user can mark a virtual GPS tag through the web interface and/or attach a local tag. The geo-tagged information can then be accessed by eligible users such as - engineers, inspectors, mapping services, etc.
GIATEC MONITORING
Sensor modules can communicate wirelessly to Giatec centers, which monitor in real-time, the structural integrity of structures.
GIATEC MONITORING
Giatec monitors in real-time the structural integrity of its components. This allows for a greater granularity of information regarding the performance of the material. This strategy also provides an opportunity to incorporate other sensors to correlate data with diverse environmental inputs.
MONITORING AGENCIES
An array of monitoring agencies including Giatec become part of a larger network providing real-time monitoring.
MESH NETWORK
An array of monitoring agencies including Giatec become part of a larger network providing real-time monitoring. The sensors will communicate with one another, correlating massive data into comprehensible patterns of behavior over time.
ATTACHED READER
iCOR™ comes with a digital interface that displays results in the form of color indicators showing the category of corrosion - negligible, moderate or severe.
MOBILE DEVICES
Consumer mobile devices can be used to access the GPS and local tags. The web apps enable these devices to display data in the form of maps or in augmented reality overlays.
WEB + APPS
Real-time information procurement allows web applications to display data aggregation in various formats, including mapping. Google Maps, realtors, engineers, municipalities and others may use such data for public, scientific or commercial use.
MULTIPLE PLATFORMS
The high resolution real-time data allows multiple communication platforms to function. The embedded sensors may also include virtual/physical tags that enable augmented reality devices such as smart phones and Google Glasses. Visualized data may be accessed on web applications for public and/or private uses.
MULTIPLE PLATFORMS
The high resolution real-time data allows multiple communication platforms to function. The embedded sensors may also include virtual/physical tags that enable augmented reality devices such as smart phones and Google Glasses. Visualized data may be accessed on web applications for public and/or private uses.
ANALYTICS + KNOWLEDGE
Knowledge of performance over time contributes to the evolution of the material. Data will feedback into the design of materials and structures.
BUYER
iCOR™ result/data is accessible only to the user whether it is an individual, a private or public organization.
BUYER + APPS SUBSCRIPTIONS
Access to information gathered with the iCOR™ device is available to the local user and the web application subscribers. The web increases user access to Giatec's data repository.
CENTER TO STAKEHOLDERS
Giatec control center monitors structural integrity in real-time, performing analysis on structures and disseminating that information to the various stakeholders.
REGIONAL COMMUNITIES
Local agencies, municipal, construction, civic action groups draw on the knowledge generated to specific geographic locations by Giatec to prioritize their budgets in the maintenance of existing structures and in the design of new ones.
THE GLOBE
Local agencies draw on the knowledge generated to specific geographic locations by Giatec to prioritize their budgets in the maintenance of existing structures and in the design of new ones. The design industry begins to contribute to innovative uses of the material.
OPEN SOURCE
Local agencies draw on the knowledge generated for specific geographic locations, prioritizing their budgets in the maintenance of existing structures and in the design of new ones. Stakeholders are active contributors to big data through the use of new materials. Design industry innovates with new uses and application.
RETAIL SALES
Giatec current business model relies on sales of the iCOR™ device. Efficiency and accuracy are the main selling points. Additional range of iCOR™ products and accessories, along with marketing and product reach would help revenues and profits.
SALES + SUBSCRIPTIONS
The web-enabled iCOR™ device shifts focus of Giatec's business model from retail only to retail + subscription service. This allows Giatec to charge for accessing the information while continuously increasing and updating the data repository.
BIM + SUBSCRIPTIONS
Real-time monitoring and data collection allows Giatec to diversify its focus towards building information management.Giatec would become the go-to organization for government agencies, engineers, citizen action groups, realtors, for information on urban structures and their performance.
BIM + CONSULTATION
Giatec provides design consultation to architecture, construction and engineering firms in embedding of sensors. Real-time monitoring and data collection enables Giatec to diversify its focus towards building information management. Giatec would become the go-to organization for government agencies, engineers, citizen action groups, realtors, for information on urban structures and their performance.
RESEARCH & DESIGN
With building information management, Giatec transforms data into knowledge to innovate the concrete design building industry. Giatec would get involved with research and design institutes to test new material technologies and structural strategies, advocating new standards. Similarly Giatec would provide consultation to architects and engineers in creating better design through the use of its acquired knowledge.
GIATEC
The internet of physical global infrastructure.