PhD project within Smart City & Smart Buildings


Lara Anne Hale,
Industrial PostDoc


VELUX Group,
Copenhagen Business School, Department of Management, Society, and Communications



The project’s objective is to research business model innovation for smart buildings and cities. The research involves the investigation of processes  for business model innovation appropriate for providing IoT-based (“Internet of Things” – the interconnected network of physical and digital) indoor climate experiences; responding to the customer service experience; and cooperating with other organizations on the platforms. The IoT disrupts former business models by shifting the market towards businesses that can demonstrate their value in the form of services (applications) available for purchase through digital platforms, while increasing customers’ demand for customization and instantaneous response.

As cofounder of the Active House Alliance, VELUX has experienced a cross-organizational furthering of its mission to make better living environments through fresh air and daylight; but it is not clear how VELUX can utilize its competencies in the IoT with platform devices that automate building activities. This will involve better understanding how VELUX can innovate its business model to link to user experience feedback during building automation, while also coordinating with other organizations involved in these multi-provisional technologies (i.e. ~100 organizations part of Apple HomeKit). The objective is connected to a larger imperative to facilitate Danish building organizations in need of digital transformation.

The research is based upon four research cases and a minimum 2-year organizational ethnography at VELUX. The first three cases involve semi-structured interviews concerning the automation of indoor climate and the business ecosystems surrounding such projects in Denmark, Belgium, and Canada; whereas the fourth case serves as a living lab for better understanding measurement of indoor air quality in a Danish public school, the teachers’ and students’ relationships with the devices, and the effectiveness of indoor climate awareness both pre- and post-building renovation.

Success criteria are as follows: (1) development, testing, and user profiling for device-mediated, real-time indoor comfort service, including launching of an Active living lab; (2) characterization of IoT-based business model innovation processes; (3) publication in at least three international, peer-reviewed academic journals; (4) a cumulative report in collaboration with other building organizations; and (5) dissemination at both building and cities design and organizational conferences.


Fresh Air: An Impact Story. BOS – The Business of Society, 2. Juni, 2020.
→   Read article

Ny opfindelse forbedrer indeklimaet: Når fuglen kvidrer, skal vinduerne åbnes. TV2Lorry, 26. maj, 2020.
→   See TV spot