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Digitisation of building technology: The future is within reach

12 Jul 2018

Planning and managing residential and commercial buildings in an energy-efficient and thus sustainable manner has long ceased to be an abstract vision: the digitisation of electrical infrastructures, innovative terminal equipment and downstream services in buildings, quarters and perimeters make this possible. The responsible architects and engineers, planners and developers as well as decision-makers from the housing industry, building management and trade will learn how concrete and meaningful the application of these future technologies is already possible today at the internationally renowned leading trade fairs Light + Building and ISH as well as the E2 Forum Frankfurt for elevator and escalator technology and the Intersec Forum for networked safety technology in the building of the future.

The intelligent combination of available technologies based on electricity and radio is essential – as is the competent handling of data protection and data security requirements. The triad of efficiency, comfort and security of the systems is currently the greatest challenge – worldwide. At all of Messe Frankfurt's 25 trade fairs for building technology, automation and equipment in eight countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America, the markets and their industries compete for the solutions of the future.

At this interface between efficiency, comfort and safety, as the suppliers of lighting and building technology show at their world's leading trade fair Light + Building in Frankfurt am Main, a range of technical solutions for every requirement is now available for modern building technology in new buildings and especially for modernisation in existing buildings. This universe of new and optimised technical possibilities attracts more than 220,000 experts from architecture and interior design, design, planning and engineering as well as from trade, commerce and industry to the world's largest trade fair for lighting and building technology in the Main metropolis. More than half of the international trade fair visitors come from the building design, construction and residential construction, architecture and technical building equipment (TGA) sectors. Günther Mertz, Managing Director of the German Industry Association TGA: "It is extremely important for our industry to be present at such a comprehensive technology trade fair as Light + Building: Our members, all installation companies with their own engineering expertise and market-leading developers of technical solutions for modern buildings, generate and maintain their clientele here. More than that, however, we meet the needs of the application, i.e. architecture, building planning, project development and urban planning".   

Connecting of technologies brings progress

Indeed, the development of modern building technology in line with the needs of its users is an effective way to new products and innovative applications: The idea of comfort, driven by the possibilities of the digital "everywhere" of mobile communication via smartphone and tablet, allows manufacturers and developers to develop intelligent solutions for the increasingly smarter living and working environment: Under the heading Internet of Things (IoT), for example, interoperable platforms for buildings are being created in which Internet-enabled devices can be networked even more efficiently. Today, for example, smoke detectors are able to call for help automatically in emergencies and thermostats can react to storms.

Messe Frankfurt – the place to be for building technology: international, cross-sector, trendsetting (Source: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / P. Sutera 2018)
Messe Frankfurt – the place to be for building technology: international, cross-sector, trendsetting (Source: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / P. Sutera 2018)

Efficiency, convenience and security: digitised locking management

Digitally connected locking systems are already pointing the way for key and access control in buildings or entire building complexes: With the so-called digital key, a series of systems with digital access services is available especially for the housing industry and its application in apartment buildings. They are mostly based on RFID technology. The operators of large residential units buy the system or use the provider's platform in the sense of "access as a service". The main areas of application are the lock and key management of front doors and cellar accesses, for example for tradesmen, disposal companies or other service providers, as well as the defined circle of residents. Apartment doors are increasingly becoming part of such services: An application that is sensitive for security reasons, as it coordinates individual services such as care, parcel delivery or food delivery.

The sensitive security aspects of modern building technology applications are the subject of the Intersec Forum, conference for networked security technology, held annually in parallel with the leading trade fair Light + Building and ISH, the world's leading trade fair for the bathroom experience, building, energy, air-conditioning technology and renewable energies. This is where the innovation drivers from industry and development meet with the decision-makers in technical applications. Political and industry representatives such as Arne Schönbohm, President of the Federal Office for Information Security, and ZVEI President Michael Ziesemer enrich the podium.

Visions for buildings and infrastructure

The elevator and escalator industry is one of the most innovative branches of the mechanical engineering industry in Germany. Initiated not least by European and national standardization, manufacturers have for many years been introducing ground-breaking innovations to the market, which usually lead to considerable cost savings on the customer side. These include the electrically operated machine room-less elevator introduced in the mid-1990s and currently the rope-less elevator, which moves vertically and horizontally in the building at high speed. This history of innovation also helps elevator and escalator companies to meet the future challenges posed by trends such as demographic change and urbanization.

In line with these developments, the conference at the E2 Forum Frankfurt will focus on these current topics: Building Information Modeling (BIM) from the client's perspective; the elevator in building planning with questions of noise protection and ventilation; rules and regulations for the planning of elevators and the influencing factors through fire protection concepts; digitization concepts with the challenges posed by cloud-based solutions or IoT applications in buildings; requirements for energy and cost efficiency as well as for maintenance concepts; interfaces to building regulations, standards and operator obligations for the elevator as a working tool.

Exhibitors include leading manufacturers of elevators, escalators and related components such as Bosch Service Solutions, Cedes (Switzerland), Gebhardt, Kleemann, Kollmorgen Steuerungstechnik, Kone, Meiller Aufzugtüren, OSMA, Otis, RLS Wacon, Schindler Deutschland, Serapid, Siemens, Thyssen-Krupp and Wittur. Among the 32 exhibitors registered so far, start-ups will also present their sustainable solutions for vertical and horizontal transport.

Focus on mobility in buildings

The construction of apartment buildings, which is particularly important in the housing and real estate industry as well as in the building technology sectors, has increased significantly in recent years and will, according to the Ifo Institute, remain at a high level. The trend is towards ever taller buildings, not least due to a lack of space, especially in conurbations. The volume of modernizations in the portfolio will also level off at a high level.

These are the coordinates within which the need for new construction and retrofitting of existing elevators arises. The elevator and escalator industry is one of the most innovative branches of the mechanical engineering industry in Germany. Not least initiated by European and national standardization, manufacturers have been introducing innovations to the market for many years that lead to considerable cost savings on the customer side. These include the electrically operated elevator without a machine room, which was introduced in the mid-1990s. The rope-less elevator, which moves vertically and horizontally in and between buildings at high speed, is currently causing a sensation.

Finding answers to megatrends

Tackling the future global challenges posed by climate change, demographic change and urbanization are topics that the industry will discuss at the E2 Forum Frankfurt in September 2018, especially with decision-makers from building technology, planning, architecture and the housing industry: "Building the future urgently requires the integration of engineering, design and sustainability in urban space. Architecture must integrate and think along with vertical and horizontal transport", demands the renowned German engineer and architect Professor Dr. Werner Sobek, opening speaker of the conference at the E2 Forum Frankfurt. It also focuses on a variety of other topics: Building Information Modeling (BIM) with requirements from the client's perspective; building planning, fire protection, noise control and ventilation; digitization concepts and cloud-based solutions or IoT applications in buildings; requirements for energy and cost efficiency as well as maintenance concepts; interfaces to building regulations, standards, and operator obligations for elevators as work equipment.

Digital building technology: Networking is essential

For planners, clients and operators of state-of-the-art building technology, Frankfurt am Main with its leading international technology trade fairs and its specialist conferences is the place-to-be: Light + Building, ISH, E2 Forum Frankfurt and Intersec Forum are the events on the basis of which building technology related manufacturers, experts and decision-makers from industry, politics and applications have created a platform for presentation, industry policy, knowledge transfer and exchange. "The Frankfurt Technology events are of extraordinary importance for these target groups. We have thus created a network that we will continue to expand," emphasises Wolfgang Marzin, Chairman of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt GmbH. "The latest decision by the VDMA to co-operate on the E2 Forum Frankfurt from next September is a vote for Frankfurt as a trade fair venue and a confirmation that we are perceived in the market as the leading location for building technology. As a competent partner for innovative events, we not only follow the market, but we move it. With the design of perfect locations worldwide where the latest megatrends, exhibitors, customers and markets can meet millions of times".

Trade fairs for the challenges in building technology and housing  industry

The E2 Forum Frankfurt will take place for the first time on 18 and 19 September 2018 in the Forum 1 conference building on the Frankfurt exhibition grounds. It is planned as a two-yearly innovation forum.

The E2 Forum Frankfurt is organised by Messe Frankfurt in cooperation with the VDMA trade association for elevators and escalators, which is responsible for the content and planning of the conference section.

Further information and exhibitors can be found on the Internet at:

The E2 Forum Frankfurt is the third event for the elevator and escalator industry in the Building Technologies portfolio of the

Messe Frankfurt. These include the IEE-Expo in Mumbai (India), which has been successful for years, and the E2 Forum Milan, which was launched in 2016. In the Building Technologies competence field, the

Messe Frankfurt on three continents, including the world's two leading trade fair brands for building technology, Light + Building and ISH. Further information internationally at:,

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On the internet:

Background information about the Elevators and Escalators Division of the VDMA

The Elevators and Escalators Division of the VDMA (Association of German Machine and Plant Manufacturers) represents approx. 90 per cent of the German market for lifts, escalators and moving pavements. There are currently 750,000 elevator systems installed in Germany, of which some 640,000 are for carrying people. For escalators, the current figure is around 36,000 installed units. Turnover in the sector, which employs approximately 17,000 people, amounts to more than two billion euros.

Further information is available at:

Background information on Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With more than 2,400 employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €669 million. Thanks to its far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and to its international sales network, the Group looks after the business interests of its customers effectively. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).

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