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Michiel Puyenbroek, manager vastgoed en projecten Dusseldorp Automotive

Unica Innovation Center creates traffic light reporting system for all showrooms

The showroom at the Dusseldorp BMW dealership in Oostzaan is the company’s sustainability showpiece: a climate-neutral building equipped with the latest technical gadgetry. But what are the benefits, and how can the company make use of the generated data to optimise its business processes and make the most of its real estate? In collaboration with the Unica Innovation Center, Dusseldorp BMW has set off on a journey of discovery.

“We rely on a whole raft of systems for running all our locations,” explained Michiel Puyenbroek. “Thermal cameras, heating and cooling systems, lighting and security. Right now, if something goes wrong with the systems at any of our premises, it elicits a reactive response.” Dusseldorp however, aims to be forward-thinking and proactive. “One of the potential benefits is that I avoid spending a substantial portion of my time checking fragmented outputs and system status reports. But what is the best way to make data an integral part of your business processes?”

“It is important that I have access to a single dashboard with information about all our branches. A sort of traffic light report as a start screen that delivers a warning in the event of possible disruptions. The Unica Innovation Center conceived and implemented an innovative solution for our everyday business, that presents the output in a single dashboard.” Via climate control boxes, Michiel knows about the temperature and air quality in the conference rooms, but Unica suggested that he also installed temperature sensors in the waste bins in the workshops. “Cloths soaked in oil residue are a fire hazard. For the technicians, constantly having to close the lid on the waste bin disrupts the workflow. They sometimes forget, despite it being an important point on the insurer’s fire prevention checklist. The sensors transmit a signal as soon as they recognise even the smallest temperature fluctuation. As a result, our technicians can work worry-free, while I can constantly monitor the situation.”

The waste bin is a simple example, but monitoring also plays an important role for example for the management of all the charging areas. As Michiel explained, “It would be fabulous if I could be informed remotely about which charging points are in fault mode and could then reset them, remotely. The cars in Oostzaan are kept in a parking garage with no vehicle access for the fire brigade. To minimise the fire risk, the recommendation is only to charge the cars during the daytime. Unica is investigating the possibility of shutting down all the lights, heating and charging points, with a single switch. No more worries about accidentally forgetting even one connector.”

Vision for the future

“Together with the Unica Innovation Center we are working on a vision for the future that delivers true building management. A vision that goes perfectly hand in hand with improved sustainability. Dusseldorp BMW is moving ever further towards electrification. The number of electric car sales to customers is rising, and we also want our staff to drive electric vehicles. The electrification of our fleet means huge demand for electrical power. We charge the cars during the daytime, when the yield from the solar panels is highest. They continue to generate electricity when we are not present in the building, but as that energy remains unused, we are investigating the possibilities of storage and battery capacity. For example, is it possible to use the stored energy to kick-start the building the next morning? These are the kinds of issues we are currently discussing with the Unica Innovation Center.”

‘Together with the Unica Innovation Center we are working on a vision for the future that delivers true building management’


“We are often approached by commercial parties with proposals for solar panels or batteries. It is extremely valuable for us to be able to call upon the Unica Innovation Center as an independent sounding board. They come up with critical questions, and are able to consider the big picture.” Michiel’s eventual goal is to introduce a single dashboard on which at a glance he can see any problems, anywhere in the organisation. “Including in the site, building and fire-protection systems. Nsecure, another company in the Unica network, are specialists in access and security systems. The data generated by those systems, too, could be integrated in a single dashboard. Showroom managers would no longer need to spend their time monitoring the building, but could focus on selling cars. The dashboard offers me the perfect tool to reduce their workload, to manage the buildings preventively and to work towards better cost control.”

Unica also fulfils an important role in contacts with external parties. Michiel continued, “Not every supplier is happy to share their information, not even if it is nothing more than anonymised charging data. Unica negotiates on behalf of Dusseldorp BMW, and arranges all the technical issues with all the parties in the chain. That in turn massively relieves our workload. We are well on track, and Unica keeps us up to date on all the developments and the possibilities data has to offer.”