A digital twin platform for optimization of buildings, construction and ESG.
Akila is an Asia-based digital twin platform harnessing real-time data and AI to streamline ESG reporting and optimize the performance, sustainability and human-centricity of buildings and cities. Backed by strategic partnerships with Microsoft, Dassault Systèmes and Aden Group, Akila currently has a growing team of 100+ members and 7.5M square meters managed across 90 sites of deployment. Akila was recognized in 2022 by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer.
The foundation of Akila is the “digital twin” that we create for our customers. We have several ways of building a digital twin, depending on the resources available from the customer, but the most common way is by extracting the relationships between entities that have been defined in a Building Information Modeling (BIM) of a facility or facilities. Once these entity relationships are defined, we use this information to construct the database architecture for the digital representation of the building, and then proceed to integrate all relevant data from sensors, systems, and applications.
A core principle of Akila is being an open platform, capable of integrating with any system the customer already is using, if that 3rd party system is open itself. To achieve this, we have built, using Azure IoT Edge and Azure IoT Hub, a data gateway for data sources relying on MQTT or HTTP protocols, and a message queue service plus on-site data collection server that handles cases where we need to integrate with operational technologies such as PLC or SCADA systems.
By standardizing and compiling all of what were previously disparate data sets in one place with a common digital twin structure, the customer can carry out cross-functional analytics that were previously either highly cumbersome, or impossible all together. These applications require cross-regional support to integrate geographically disparate data sets, which is provided by Azure’s near-parity support for China and the rest of the world. This need for standardization and cross-regional access is particularly true for ESG related analysis and tracking, as it is cross-functional by nature, which is why ESG analytics is a key high-level value proposition of Akila. Making these analytics and KPIs visible to users is key, and with PowerBI, customers can view these analytics in customizable dashboards surfacing their required data and metrics.
Additionally, we are building native Akila applications that cover multiple aspects of building operations. Today, we have built dedicated Energy, Asset, and Waste management modules that are available to our customers, and are currently working on Workspace, Leasing, and Mobility applications.
We built the Energy module as we recognized that reaching net-zero carbon is now a requirement for organizations across the world. We also knew that different facilities are at different stages of their energy transition, and as each stage presents its own set of challenges, we have built Akila to help customers reach their carbon emission targets regardless of their current situation. Without Azure’s robust cross-regional support, data from disparate sites would remain siloed, necessitating complex and costly solutions.
The Asset module was built because poor maintenance of equipment is a key driver of increasing carbon emissions, both scope 1 and 2 from system inefficiencies, and scope 3 from early retirement of equipment. In Akila, the digital twin is leveraged to create and manage a continuous flow of real-time performance data harnessing IoT devices, resulting in far more responsive and targeted maintenance, reduction in TCO, lower overall carbon and better value. In order to guarantee our clients a secure data platform, we have built this functionality on Azure IoT Edge and IoT Hub, ensuring a secure pipeline from device to hub to cloud.
Finally, the Environment module was built because proper waste management is a key capability of any organization, and a requirement for both ESG reporting and compliance with local regulations. Waste value streams are notoriously complex and without the correct tools, waste quickly becomes a liability and ongoing cost. Akila reverses this dilemma, managing the complexity of waste by providing systemic data on what kinds of waste your site is producing, how it is handled, and what opportunities exist to generate value through recycling and other measures.