Scheduling Resources and Operations with BIM
Friday, February 3, 2012 at 07:58PM
Toby Considine in Schedules, Smart Energy

Recently, I wrote of standards for calendar synchronization, vcards, and directory services. This week, in a meeting on iResource, we explored the Enterprise IT perspective on the same issues. Today, I will place these two views side by side, and look for a solution.

In enterprise calendaring, conference rooms were originally added to corporate address books as if they were another person. An account was created in the corporate directory for each conference room, albeit an account that lacked an employee ID. This account was assocated with a calendar server and perhaps an email account. Conference rooms were set up Justas were senior staff that do not manage their own schedule. Anyone could invite the conference room to a meeting. An assigned administrative assistant received all schedule requests.

Over time, this process became formalized and these accounts were flagged as Resources. Resources in mail and calendar servers may reject or discard all email other than schedule requests. A Resource may automatically accept all requests it receives, or it may automatically reject all requests when already scheduled. Tools, projection equipment, phone bridges, and office vehicles are all often scheduled as Resources. Some systems automatically set the Meeting Location to the display name of the Conference Room.

Now Resources need more definition in Enterprise scheduling systems. To the enterprise calendar world, a Resource might ebe A Conference Room, a Phone Bridge, a Projection Screen, possibly a catered Pot of Coffee—in the Scheduling World, I might need to invite all 4 to a Meeting.

Details:

Task: Respond to “I need a room for 35 with a phone bridge, projection screen, and coffee”

In some cases, each Resource might also be associated with a fixed or variable cost. A Calendar server needs standard semantics to present candidate rooms to the organizer. I

In world of buildings, the source for this information is the BIM. When a building is completed, every room is identified by purpose. Each room is linked to the system or systems it supports or that support it. There are standard names for each amenity. These names and their values will define the common directory information needed for smart scheduling in enterprise calendar systems. That is iResource.

For smart energy and smart buildings, we need to ensure that this scheduling information gets to the systems that operate the building. Each room is fully described in BIM. BIM can use consistent information through design, construction, commissioning, and maintenance and facility operation.

But BIMs are large, complicated information models, with far more detail than is need for the calendar server. BIMs have more information than is needed for maintenance and operations, too. Fortunately, we have a format for transferring information from BIN to a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). This simplified format is the Common Operations Building Information Exchange (COBIE). COBIE includes lists of all spaces [rooms] as well as the fixed and movable assets identified in each spaces.

Once the resources match in the building systems and in the enterprise calendar server, we can use standards-based synchronization to align schedules within the two. Building systems are notified automatically of the 2:00 to 3:00 meeting for 25 people in room 207. A noteworthy aspect of this approach is that the catering service can be notified ("Coffee for 25 in room 207") with a precisely equivalent synchronization with the calendar service hosting their coffee service.

It has become a standard function for BIM software to export a COBIE file. Many CMMS systems routinely import COBIE to define new buildings; a few are themselves able to export information using the COBIE format.

IResource should use the attribute names and values defined in COBIE. These attributes then become the basis for Resource directories, and this means the basis of a vCard standard for building-based Resources.

Standard vCards and directory services for building-based resources promise to accelerate smart use of buildings, smart operation of buildings, and smart scheduling of buildings. vCards provide a basis for standardized synchronization services between enterprise calendars and building system calendars. Using the existing COBIE specification as the basis for service vCards will make the standard arrive sooner and improve completeness and accuracy of information.

Dr.Bill East at the Army Construction Engineering Research Lab (CERL) kindly directed me two three standard models, for the duplex, office, and clinic.

http://buildingsmartalliance.org/index.php/projects/commonbimfiles/

http://buildinginformationmanagement.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/cobie-and-bamie-specifications-released/

Article originally appeared on New Daedalus (http://www.newdaedalus.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.