Q- People are talking more and more about BIM without always knowing exactly what it is.
EL - BIM isn’t a product or a tool. It’s primarily a methodology, a new way of working that aims to deliver a digital model of a building, a digital avatar. This digital model consists of both 3D views of it and a database that serves as a dynamic repository of a building's data throughout its life cycle.
BIM is leading to a complete revolution in the building sector. In a field that is highly fragmented, this is the first time that every stakeholder can work together from the design process to operations with an ecosystemic, collaborative and unique format.
At ENGIE, we are absolutely convinced that BIM improves our performance operationally, financially and qualitatively, but also that it creates value and offers new solutions to our customers.
Q- How is ENGIE positioning itself in this market?
EL-ENGIE combines its operational business know-how with its ability to use the best digital techniques to create value and be even more efficient. Hence its position as "physical and digital stakeholder in buildings throughout their life cycles."
In practice, this translates into offers like Building Lifetime Manager, which allows ENGIE to be involved from the design phase to building renovation, using the digital model’s dataset and our historical know-how.
ENGIE entities are already present across these phases, but the Group's operational units are now focusing on offering a single value proposition for "building lifecycle management" shared amongst the various business units.
What’s innovative is that we are combining data, data management and data analysis with our traditional areas of business to transform them into digital businesses.
Q- And so you’re going to present the digital model at CES?
EL - Yes, the question we want to address is "how can we highlight the benefits of BIM and make it attractive and visually understandable?"
At CES, we’ll be using a mix of real and virtual tools to explain how to use the digital model in different situations: work environments, design review, site monitoring, etc.
We’ll present a replica of a small factory. Using HoloLens virtual reality glasses with the SDS platform, visitors will be able to access all of the components and interact with features such as temperature control or opening and closing valves. The system translates virtual movements into physical actions on site.
Q- Do you integrate solutions from outside ENGIE?
EL- Yes, absolutely! We incorporate market solutions like Autodesk Viewers (which we use to visualize digital mockups), PowerBI and HoloLens from Microsoft, as well as startup solutions for data mining or data management.
In this Data Lake, the database of semantic data, each bit of data is linked to an event and a place. We know what it represents: pressure, valve function, temperature, surface, quality of a wall, etc. Each piece of data is a 3D digital object with all of the accompanying properties; everything is recognized by the system and dispatched to the partner or application that needs it.
For example, at the ENGIE and Partners booth at CES we will be neighbors with Living Map, with whom we will be showing our combined solution via the Autodesk Viewer in our project on the British Library.
Q- What do you expect to get from CES?
EL- The CES is a showcase but it is also an opportunity to get inspired, to interact with startups who work on data issues, to see how digital environments are changing across the world, to network, and to see what’s happening with the competition.
It is also an opportunity to demonstrate the Group's ability to innovate, to show what we are capable of doing and to find new solutions that let us continue to innovate and reinforce our vision.
Q- What is the most significant innovation, the one that’s most contributed to changing people's lives?
EL- For me, it's the printing press. The printing press marks the transition from oral tradition to written tradition, the beginning of the ability to trace things.
Printing has been a disruptive element both politically and socially.
And I have the feeling that we are living with a similar revolution today to the one Gutenberg started. The revolution is in the cloud, in the ability to have communication networks all over the world and to work virtually. The revolution is to have a device in your pocket that was hardly conceivable 10 years ago, and that has thrust a new way of life upon us.
Q- What would you like to add to conclude?
EL- I would like to emphasize that we do not do innovation for innovation’s sake. We do innovation to win business. Our innovations are linked to the transformation of our businesses and the advent of new ways of working to generate value for our customers and for ourselves.
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