Is It Smart? – Google Home

Hello BIMfans,
Welcome to ‘Is It Smart?’, the blog series where I have a look at the smart technology installed within Ty Crempog to explore the power of BIM Level 2, PropTech, and the Internet of Things (IOT).  This week, I take a look at my Google Home.

What is it?

Pro Tip:  Do not watch any ‘How to’ videos while you have it plugged in, otherwise your video will set it off!

The Google Home is a hands-free smart (Wi-Fi) enabled speaker powered by the Google Assistant.  I currently have it installed in 002: Living Room as it is the most frequently occupied room in my home.  It has a built-in speaker and microphone which will listen out for the trigger phrase “OK Google” and then attempt to execute any command it hears.

 How does it work?

Once you have registered any service or device from Google‘s range of Compatible Partners, all you have to do is speak; It’s as easy as that!

So have I have gotten my Google Home to:

  • Provide me with a weather update;
  • Challenge guests to a trivia quiz;
  • Traffic updates;
  • Instant fight debate arbitrator;
  • Play music through my Spotify account;
  • Control my Nest Thermostat; and
  • Control my Philips Hue bulbs.

For example, have a look at this short video on how I can use my Google Home to control the Philips Hue in my living room.



 How Did I Model it?

My Google Home family can be downloaded from here.

Under the Industry Foundation Class (IFC) Schema, a smart speaker isn’t included (who’d have guessed?), so I did what I always do in a situation like this; asked Twitter.

As you can see, at the time I produced this object, the preferred type was CommunicationAppliance.  This makes sense as while it does include a speaker (Making it AudioVisual) it’s main role is to communicate with other devices on my behalf.  So, using an electrical equipment family, I created two revolve solids and a void extrusion to create its unique shape.  Due to the low level of graphical detail used the object file is only around 400KB.  The file was named following the BS8541-1 naming convention to:


Using the requirements set out within my Data Requirements, I populated this Communication Appliance object with the information needed to manage my Google Home.  Within this object, I have captured information such as: Installation information, bar code, serial number, replacement cost and warranty information.  Note:  Much like my Nest Thermostat, my Google Home is one of the few items I manage within its warranty period.

When used in collaboration with my IFC Export mapping text file, my Google Home is populating all of the relevant COBie fields I require; fantastic.

Is it Smart?

Google Home ticks many of the right boxes to be considered smart.

  • Data In:  With a Wi-Fi connection and a passive listening system, Google Home has a consistent method it can collect data.  In addition, through the mobile app it can control other devices and apply nicknames; which apply to the voice commands.
  • Data Out:  Using the power of the internet, Google Home can provide me almost any information.  It also remembers each command it is given to help it improve its functionality, so I have a record of what has been asked.
  • Connectivity:  The real power of Google Home is in its ability to connect with other devices.  So far I have it connected to my BBC, IFTT, and Spotify services as well as my Nest Thermostat, and Philips Hue bulbs.  Meaning that I can create customizable commands, set alarms, and even add events to my calendar using just two magic words; “Ok Google“.

The Potential

Much like my other smart products, there is no method to automate taking information from my information model into my Google Home.  For example, I have had to manually add the component names of my products as Nicknames (without special characters) so that each product can be controlled by its unique reference.

If only this process could be automated, then my smart products could use a lot of the good information I have collected to make them even smarter.

GoogleHome UI
While these names might not roll off the tongue, but at least the information is consistent between my Google Home, graphical model, and Non-graphical information.

The Verdict


Is It Smart? The answer is Yes, with an Impressive IQ of 120!

Since it was first announced, I knew I wanted to have a Google Home, and I am glad to say that it has not disappointed.  While fairly simple in function, it has had a positive impact on my home.

And there you have it.  This week my Google Home proved to be quite smart.  Tune in next time where we take a look at my Philips Hue installation and ask one simple question; Is It Smart?

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