Brick Schema and RealEstateCore announce a major harmonization effort between two smart building metadata standards

Cooperation between leading industry standards supercharges the digital transformation of the real estate and smart building industry

Today the Brick Consortium and RealEstateCore announce the two groups are making it easier to create rich semantic models of smart buildings and real estate portfolios. Currently, at-scale digital transformation in the real estate industry, within and across organizational boundaries, is challenging because of the number of competing smart building metadata standards. These standards often have significant overlap in features, but are not directly compatible, making it difficult for building stakeholders to exchange data and application developers to be able to fully support all building systems. 

The Brick Schema and RealEstateCore, two of the leading metadata standards for smart buildings, have cooperated over the years to create alignments to make it easier to translate  between the two standards. Today, the two groups announced that over the past six months, these efforts have ramped up and extensive work has been carried out to harmonize the two projects, resulting in a new, clarified metadata solution, removing the need to choose between the Brick Schema and RealEstateCore.

When all of the work is completed, the two standards will be complementary and redesigned to work together. Rather than modeling a building using only Brick or using only RealEstateCore, in the new solution, buildings will be modeled using the best parts of Brick and the best parts of RealEstateCore. For example, in the semantic model for a building, a piece of HVAC equipment and its sensors would be modeled using Brick, while the equipment’s location, the building’s lease, and other key real estate concerns would be modeled using RealEstateCore. This scenario is made possible because both Brick and RealEstateCore have leveraged a shared semantic web foundation to enable the interoperability and collaborative use of their ontologies in a given building’s model.

A Working Group of representatives from both standards has been meeting over the past six months to identify areas of overlap between the two standards and determine which parts to keep in each standard. In upcoming releases of Brick and of RealEstateCore, parts of each standard will be deprecated in favor of using a similar feature from the other standard. Broadly speaking, equipment and sensors will come from Brick, and spatial information and facility usage types will come from RealEstateCore, along with core information modeling for commercial real estate management.

“The Brick Schema and RealEstateCore combine the best of two worlds. We have created a complete open-source standard based on semantic web technologies which the industry can use efficiently for a long time. We enable buildings to become good inhabitants of smart cities and contribute to reducing carbon emissions.”

Gabriel Fierro (Brick Consortium) and Erik Wallin (RealEstateCore Consortium)

The two standards will continue to exist as standalone projects, each managed by their respective consortium. The combination of Brick Schema and RealEstateCore comprehensively covers the following domains:

    • Building management systems (e.g. HVAC, Access control, Elevator)
    • Business administration systems (e.g. CAFM, ERP, Sustainability reporting)
    • IoT devices (e.g. Indoor climate, People counting)
    • Blueprints (e.g. Building information modeling, DWG)

These integrated, complete standards allow the real estate industry to drive the digital transformation forward in line with expectations from tenants, building owners, and society, achieving the objectives of lowering carbon emissions and contributing to a sustainable smart city. The Brick Schema and RealEstateCore harmonization enables real estate owners and other stakeholders to unlock the value of the data in their buildings, supporting new applications for reducing energy consumption, and interacting with energy sources and grids, enhancing the tenant experience, automated facility management, and more.

The harmonization of the two standards is also being done with an eye towards compatibility with the upcoming ASHRAE 223 standard.

Brick Schema 1.3 and RealEstateCore 4.0 are both targeting a release on August 30, 2022. These releases will include much of the technological foundation necessary to make the harmonization possible while letting each standard preserve backwards compatibility with the previous versions of their respective standards. Full harmonization will occur in future releases of the two standards, which is expected to occur quickly after the August release.

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A webinar will be held on August 30 PDT8.30am/EDT11.30am/CEST17.30 where the working group will explain and discuss the design.

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About Brick

The Brick Consortium, Inc. is a non-profit membership corporation whose purpose is to encourage the research and development of the Brick Schema Specifications for the built environment and any supporting tooling, documentation, and best practices necessary to promote Brick. The consortium develops the Brick Schema Specifications as open-source through member participation. To learn more, visit Brick Consortium, Inc

About RealEstateCore

RealEstateCore is a non-profit organization by real estate owners, software houses, and research institutions. The purpose of the consortium is to create an environment for cooperation and sharing of knowledge between property owners and partners, to prioritize and organize the development of shared ontology features and associated technology, and to be a speaking partner for public and private sector ontology and linked data initiatives within the real estate and construction industries. To learn more, visit RealEstateCore Consortium or Contact RealEstateCore

Contacts

A copy of the Brick logo can be downloaded from the Brick website.
A copy of the RealEstateCore logo can be downloaded from the RealEstateCore website.

For the Brick Consortium
Gabe Fierro, Steering Committee Member, Brick Consortium, Inc.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Colorado School of Mines
gtfierro@mines.edu | https://online.mines.edu/project/fierro-gabriel/

For RealEstateCore
Karl Hammar, Technical Committee Chair, RealEstateCore Consortium
Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Jönköping University, Sweden
karl.hammar@ju.se | https://karlhammar.com

The working group behind the harmonization of Brick Schema and RealEstateCore

Gabriel Fierro (Brick Consortium, Colorado School of Mines, National Renewable Energy Laboratory)
Karl Hammar (RealEstateCore Consortium, Jönköping University)
Joel Bender (ASHRAE 223P, Cornell University)
Erik Paulson (Johnson Controls, Brick Consortium)
Akshay Johar (Microsoft)
Erik Wallin (RealEstateCore Consortium, Idun ProptechOS).

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