Towards blossoming smart building ecosystem- co-visioning future services

What if service robots had feelings? Or a space could adapt to user needs and change from a rock concert area to golf range? Or maybe a virtual self would help you to cope on a busy day? 


In the KEKO project (Blossoming Smart Building ecosystem) we aimed to recognize future service opportunities in the smart building context. This work built on the previous results gained in the project, which were further developed by stretching the interest towards understanding how users’ and stakeholders’ future needs might develop in the contexts of smart buildings.  This was done by conducting a desk study on how other actors in the field see and present their visions of future smart building services. Based on this, the work continued in the workshops of Future Services, where smart building trends previously identified in KEKO, potential technical enablers as well as possible contexts of use and personas were utilized as food for thought. In the workshops, KEKO members together generated and evaluated service ideas for the future. The group was complemented with SME participants who represented potential future service providers.  Finally, the ideas were validated by KEKO members in an interactive results presentation session.  

As a result, over 100 future service ideas were generated to illustrate what KEKO ecosystem could provide in the future. All these service ideas were grouped under one of the nine recognized future trends, forming service opportunity entities. These trends and related service opportunities in general level are listed in the table below. The ideas were also placed on a rough timeline 2021-2030 based on when they are expected to be applicable. 


So, would you like to be served by robot with empathy and understanding of feelings? As a customer, you could receive more personal and tailored service with better customer experience. For the service provider, this would make it possible to let the robots take care of wider variety of services and to relocate service professionals in more demanding tasks.   

Or could a space that adapts to the varying needs of use, offer new possibilities for you or your company? An area that can be flexibly adapted to the leisure needs of certain user group, would reduce the need for space resourcing. When the same space can change from a golf range to a concert area, people could conveniently participate a variety of leisure activities and they would not need to travel to each activity separately.  

Or would you benefit from a virtual copy of you that could present you when you are busy? The virtual self would act as a powerful intelligence multiplier and summarize the most critical events of the day at the end of the day. This would be the opportunity to enhance learning and performing, a real possibility to both eat and save the cake.  

These service ideas are just examples of the variety of ideas generated in KEKO. Some of them will need more modification than others and some of them might never be applicable. Some of the realizable ones, will be possible sooner and others later. However, the service ideas act as examples and inspiration for the ecosystem members to generate more and better future services and through that, support the development of smart buildings as service platforms. And moreover, to remind people that also the wildest ideas should be brought out, as they can pave the way towards future blossoming smart building ecosystem.   

See also white paper “Creating new service opportunities in smart buildings”


Maarit Halttunen

Research Scientist, Future consumer research, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd

Maaria Nuutinen

Senior Principal Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd

Eija Kaasinen

Principal Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd