Partners over the past three decades, UCF and Siemens recently unveiled a new collaboration around smart infrastructure that aims to improve the performance and efficiency of buildings and energy grids by harnessing the power of data.

The collaboration will include software and hardware to be installed at UCF’s Smart Infrastructure Data Analytics Lab and will incorporate the existing Siemens’ Digital Grid Lab unveiled last year.

The announcement was made at Friday’s Data Science-Smart Cities of the Future summit, hosted by UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, College of Business and College of Sciences in partnership with the National Science Foundation’s South Big Data Hub.

The summit brought together industry, academic and community thought leaders to discuss Orlando’s future as a smart city, tackling topics as diverse as transportation, infrastructure and the power grid, and fintech, with data analytics at the core.

“We look forward to partnering with Siemens to help build and shape the smart cities of tomorrow,” UCF President Dale Whittaker said at the summit. “Together, we will prepare our students to meet the data-science workforce demands of the future and produce technology efficiencies and innovations in infrastructure and energy that will benefit our community and our nation for decades to come.”

“We look forward to partnering with Siemens to help build and shape the smart cities of tomorrow.” — UCF President Dale Whittaker

Traditional building automation integrates and controls a structure’s operations from HVAC, lighting and security to other systems. With smart buildings evolving every day, high-tech digital mechanisms are being used to link these systems together, gather data and analyze operations to provide better decision making for building operators.

Siemens will integrate a variety of software and building automation hardware into the Smart Infrastructure Data Analytics Lab’s facilities and corresponding building automation management systems. Students and faculty will use Siemens software platforms and learn how to conduct in-depth research on data analytics focused on building systems while assisting Siemens in planning, prioritizing and testing various technology prototypes.

“Siemens’ long-time partnership with UCF is a win-win for all parties,” says Dave Hopping, president of Siemens Building Technologies – North America. “Siemens gets to thoroughly test its analytics platforms as well as new software prototypes for use with various applications. We will apply those learnings to advance smart buildings. In turn, UCF students gain valuable hands-on experience and industry knowledge of real-time findings that will affect how we interact with buildings and the grid in the future.”

The Smart Infrastructure Data Analytics Lab is expected to be fully operational in early 2019.