The Silver Bullet
Author: Andrei Efimov
A Silver Bullet: “Something that acts as a magical weapon, solving a long-standing problem” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
It is January 2019 and the new Geo-ICT team of Ordina Belgium is finalizing the Strategic Development Plan after weeks of work. Our Business Unit Manager, Tom Francis, looks at the document for a few minutes and throws it into the bin. “Give me a silver bullet”, he says.
Later in February, I was playing with some lidar data. I was creating 3D models of the Ordina offices and linking other data to them in order to show other colleagues what GIS can do. The sketchy visualization ends up on our internal website and is shown by an Ordina consultant to an important energy provider where he is detached.
The client sends us an email asking if we could create such a product for all of Belgium. Then, it hit me… here is our Silver Bullet. Its name: MY3D.
What is our Silver Bullet?
Our solution is a 3D geo-platform focused on buildings and their surroundings. We create accurate 3D models for each building in Belgium based on lidar data. We enrich the models with a lot of information about each building that we either calculate from the 3D geometry, detect from aerial imagery or we link from various external data sources. We make the geometry and additional data available for visualization and analysis in a web platform with various GIS functionalities.
The result is that with a few clicks a customer can see the complete information sheet about any building.
Why is it our Silver Bullet?
For two main reasons: it is an innovative solution that incorporates GIS market development trends and it helps solving real problems that customers from different markets struggle with.
Let me explain. Today, the GIS market is changing rapidly. There are many trends, but a few are particularly interesting: capturing reality and creating a ‘’digital twin”. This means working with 3D data that offers additional information and analysis possibilities or moving everything, like software, data and services to the cloud. All of these should bring us closer to the holy grail of today’s geospatial world: ‘’the smart cities’’. But are we there yet? In our opinion, the geospatial world is far away from this goal. There are bits and pieces here and there and we are certainly progressing. However, there is no solution or product that if used transforms a city into a smart one.
MY3D encompasses all of the above trends and is a piece of the smart cities puzzle with a clear purpose, helping our customers to make SMART BUSINESS by using geo-data.
By using 3D models, we created a pretty accurate digital twin. Sure, there are many other city models out there, so why choose ours? We will explain our advantages in a future blog post, but just few hints for now: the complete scale of Belgium, the model’s level of detail and most important the unprecedented information we offer about each building. All offered in a cloud DAAS (data as a service) solution.
Secondly, and most importantly, MY3D is an answer to real questions and problems faced by customers in various sectors. We notice that many business processes are suffering from a lack of accurate data about buildings. In some cases, the data does not exist or the data exists but is scattered across many sources and very difficult to compile and get insights. Even if the data exists, the solution is often not time- and cost efficient. MY3D offers a solution for that.
We identified real business cases for sectors like energy, utilities, finance, real estate, retail and public authorities. We will discuss the benefits of using our solution for each sector in detail in future dedicated blog posts, but for now some obvious examples.
Imagine building renovations. It is a market of 2.7 billion a year from which the energy sector, the construction sector or the finance sector all want a share. But to offer the best solution to a customer, you need to know the hard facts about the building, including information that the owner does not know. For example, the area of his roof to be replaced or the volume of the house to be heated. With our silver bullet, all this information will be available automatically, so, an online estimation and an offer can be done in minutes.
Or imagine the reverse… a targeted marketing campaign. As a provider of goods or services related to buildings you would like to know who your target audience is and where you can find them. By using our solution, you can find out with a click where your customers or potential customers live. You can get a complete list of buildings in a certain commune that are bigger than a specific area, have a specific roof inclination and have a south orientation. Combine this with demographic information we offer, and you will have the best candidates for a solar panel targeted marketing campaign.
To conclude this blogpost: as of today the MY3D tool has been made available for demoing. If our solution sparked your interest, please visit https://visionworks-my3d-demo.azurewebsites.net/.