John Hainsworth October 2020 3 min read

Spatial Intelligence – where could it take you?

In these unpredictable times, I took a plane trip. Domestic travel of course. Whilst the trip felt different, I still enjoyed that feeling of uninterrupted time to reflect. I concluded that when we know where things are, we can bank on more predictable consumption and a better experience. Spatial Intelligence is inflight at asBuilt.



As I sat back and sipped my drink, zoning out with the hypnotic drone of the engines, I realised there is a strong parallel between the use of Spatial Intelligence in the built world (think digital twin of your construction site, or hospital, or stadium,) and the aviation world. Both ultimately support business activity and enable better experiences.

Let me explain…. From the point at which I booked my fare, the airline knew precisely where I was to be onboard – with a spatial reference to me in relation to other passengers and the cabin infrastructure (the exits and so on). The carrier plans everything for me according to my place in space in time - seat 25A. They know the latitude, longitude and altitude of this seat spot, way in advance.

The aviation industry is underpinned by Spatial Intelligence – and this helps to fuel their passenger experience, fuel efficiency and business predictability.


Knowing where the planes are heading, and where individuals will sit, helps to inform the carrier of what is consumed where, with predictability; and what business doesn't like predictability?

The businesses who supply the carrier are reliant this seat spot's location too. There are consumption spots aft and forward of me hurtling along to our destination. When we land, turning these spots around, and replenishing them with (known) people, and food, and fuel, within 30 minutes or so involves a massive amount of planning. That planning relies on the predictability of data to drive efficiency.


My trust in this airplane staying in the air, is propelled by Rolls Royce thrust, which is in turn, being remotely monitored in real-time. People and machines on the ground are making sense of the engine sensors' streaming data in the sky above us.

If physical tweaks are recommended, the aviation industry's positioning systems help that happen. That engine I see out my window, is not just notionally 10 metres from seat 25A, but rather it is in a precise known location on the planet, whether that's powering through the sky, or taxying towards a hanger for maintenance. The required spares and the necessary tweaks are pre planned, and work is executed when the plane, the parts and the smart peoples' positions have been pre planned to coincide. These insights drive safety – but also innovation.

One of the best-known examples of business model innovation is how those engines are operated in a 'power-by-the-hour' approach by British aircraft turbine manufacturer Rolls-Royce. They have exploited predictability for their customers, which is underpinned by spatial intelligence and that helped Rolls Royce to change the way the whole aviation industry pays for thrust.


Building on this aviation example and thinking about Spatial Intelligence as it relates to the built world, there are many examples of how spatial intelligence can drive efficiency and innovation and propel our collective journey to Industry 4.0.

Here are a couple from asBuilt:

MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground)201015-MCG-Stadium-400x286

The MCG use IoT technologies on our spatial model for powerful spatial live insights. They monitor crowd velocity, density and get live data feeds such as food and beverage EFTPOS spend, all mapped spatially. In the future they’ll be able to use this spatial intelligence to improve fan experiences – like crowd management or queue times for bars and toilets. How good would it be to have your pizza and beers delivered to your seat via spatially intelligent drones? To find the fastest route to your seat via you’re your phone? Read more on our connected stadium solution.

Wynyard 100 – A Connected Construction Site201015-Wynyard-100-400x286

In New Zealand our client NZ Strong have harnessed 3D Spatial Intelligence to revolutionise the way construction is delivered. At our flagship Connected Construction site in Auckland, a full 3D spatial model (the digital twin) of the construction site was built with elemental metadata attached. This twin was then integrated with onsite 1080P cameras and sensors to digitally monitor site activity including people, vehicles, and equipment.

Machine learning is used to count people, measure environmental parameters (light, sound, CO2, temperature, and particles), read license plates, identify whether personnel are wearing safety equipment or entering exclusion zones. Read more on our connected construction solution.

With many more examples like this in play, we’re pretty excited about where Spatial Intelligence is taking business – and we have a runway to more predictable consumption, business model innovation and ultimately better experiences.

Click the links above or visit our Projects page to read more and get a sense of the ways spatial intelligence could help your business deliver a better experience for your team and customers.



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