Innovation and development

Each year, Granlund invests approximately 6–8 per cent consolidated net sales in development and innovation. In addition to future innovations, the long-term product development of software and services is important for us. Our innovation strategy focuses on property end users. One of the most important goals of the innovation strategy for 2017–2021 is to consider our operations from the end users’ point of view. Information from properties must facilitate the use of premises. To support this goal, we have introduced the digital twin of the actual property, called the Virtual property. Furthermore, we collect information about user satisfaction and develop new digital ways to receive feedback from users. We also take into consideration the possibility that in the future, end users might appreciate completely things in properties, such as smart urban services.

Towards reporting, learning and thinking properties

The vision in our innovation strategy is the property of the future, a smart building. Future smart buildings communicate with their users. Our goal is to create more predictable, reporting and learning properties that are capable of meeting the users’ needs with the aid of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in building system control and in software and services.

In the design of technical building services, routine tasks and simple decision-making are increasingly assigned to AI, which enables the designer to concentrate on the tasks that have the most significance for the outcome. In consulting, the application of AI creates new opportunities for energy use optimisation and demand flexibility. Indeed, AI can help in achieving significant savings in properties, in the operations of energy companies and in society as a whole.

Virtual technologies create new property services

Virtual reality (VR) increases interaction in the construction and real estate sector. New virtual technologies are an excellent means of visualisation that improves the customer experience and communications. In the future, the sharing of virtual reality among multiple users will also be an everyday phenomenon. At their best, virtual technologies increase interaction.

The different levels of virtual reality can be utilised in many tasks. Augmented reality (AR) complements the real world with information about building systems, for instance. Premises can also be observed in virtual reality, enabling, for instance, the virtual evaluation of design solutions even before the property is built.

Theses and doctoral dissertations ensure the development of expertise

Theses play a key role in our innovation activities. We supervise theses on topics that are in line with the targets of our innovation strategy. These theses bring innovations into practical use and build our expertise in different business areas. Theses are written in all of our departments and the majority of their topics provide multidisciplinary support for our entire business. We encourage people to write theses, especially in fields that yield new innovations, and reward the best theses every year. Each year, dozens of studies ranging from Master’s theses to doctoral dissertations are completed, and they have already created the foundation for the development of artificial intelligence as part of our services, among other things.

Cooperation with start-ups and other companies contributes to pilot projects

We want to develop together with others. Networking, cooperation with companies and development projects with research institutes form a significant part of our innovation and development activities. We participate actively in the EU and Business Finland projects and KIRA-digi’s joint projects. We are also actively involved in many international industry organisations, such as ASHRAE, REHVA, buildingSMART and Innovation platform.

In addition, we invest in pilot projects with start-ups. This also gives the start-ups the opportunity to demonstrate their products and services to our management. Joint piloting creates partnerships, in which we test new solutions, such as space utilisation rate measurement methods and augmented reality opportunities.