An increasing number of real estate leaders and facility managers are looking at smart building technology to improve comfort and convenience for the people who occupy the various workspaces. Smart buildings also represent an excellent opportunity to expand on facility management capabilities.
There’s no doubt that enthusiasm for the smart building trend is rising. We expect this type of technology to see a serious boost in adoption over the next few years. In fact, the potential of the smart building market in the United States is expected to reach $59.2 billion by 2025, according to information released recently by MarketWatch.
While it might seem to some like a futuristic idea, smart buildings are actually springing up everywhere. From the skylines of large cities to the street corners of smaller towns, these intelligent spaces are becoming more popular.
As you know, smart buildings use automated, intelligent processes to control lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, security and a variety of other systems in a more detailed, integrated way. Those processes are made possible by a network of IoT sensors and connected technology that communicates with the building’s systems.
What makes a smart building “smart” is how it responds to real-time situations with deep discernment, resulting in a personalized experience for the people using the spaces.
For example, a smart office building that is seldom used on weekends might have the capability of responding when an employee enters on a Saturday afternoon. Because of its intelligent programming, the building recognizes the employee not just as an “occupant” but as a particular individual (based on badge data), then turns on the lights within his known workspace area. At the same time, the smart building knows to adjust the heat or air conditioning in that space to reach a comfortable temperature quickly. When the worker scans out, the systems return to a “weekend mode” that conserves energy in the now empty building.
And from the employee’s perspective, it’s just another productive day in the office. Smart!
Workplace leaders believe smart buildings will deliver measurable benefits for organizations, according to a survey by British Land. They expect a 51 percent increase in both productivity and employee wellbeing, on average, and they anticipate that smart office technology will provide the sort of appeal that attracts new candidates to the organization.
While there’s plenty of benefit for employees to enjoy, smart building technology also supports organizational goals for the teams that manage the spaces and places within the built environment. For one, CRE leaders and facilities managers will notice how the technology improves energy efficiency, which means lower costs.
When optimized, smart buildings can reduce operating costs by as much as 30 percent, according to some estimates. Even better, the long-term benefits include improved sustainability, which contributes to healthier communities.
Each year, we hear about more and more great examples of smart buildings. Two of our favorites include:
In each example, design teams set their sights on creating a relationship between the built environment and the people within it. By being more occupant-aware, the buildings are dramatically improving the employee experience, operational performance and energy costs.
Are you starting to think smart building technology might be in your future?
Smart buildings have tremendous potential to transform the way we work. However, smart buildings need to be supported by even smarter platforms to keep them operating effectively. And the supportive technology must be comprehensive, offering practical insight into each building’s performance in-the-moment as well as over time—with the capability of producing enterprise data that can lead to strategic business decisions.
That’s why an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) must be part of your smart building strategy.
With data from the smart building leveraged through an IWMS, facilities managers can:
As smart buildings open the door to greater control and insight into building performance, facilities managers and real estate leaders can make more-informed decisions, such as how to adjust lighting or air conditioning in a way that balances the comfort of the employees with the potential for reduced energy costs.
But how can you effectively gather and manage all that data? Integrated IoT sensors are an essential ingredient when it comes to intelligent spaces. Data collected from IoT sensors drives the automated processes—the building’s intelligence.
With an IWMS connecting and monitoring the IoT sensor network, you can interact with building-performance metrics like never before. More and more organizations are beginning to adopt sensor technology with a phased-in approach because the cost of IoT sensors has been dropping and will continue its downward trend over the next few years.
Yet there’s still plenty of room to grow in the overall adoption of data-supported facilities management. For example, a KPMG survey on real estate technology trends found that only 29 percent of real estate firms are using data analytic techniques right now. Are you surprised?
With an IWMS, facilities managers and CRE leaders can embrace data insights that frame business decisions—which lays the foundation for smart building strategies. IWMS data dashboards are the best tools to assemble all the information.
Dashboards enable leaders to identify opportunities to consolidate space, estimate future space needs and better visualize the best ways to organize workspaces for optimal efficiency and productivity. For facilities managers, dashboards assist with identifying critical metrics on asset performance and maintenance.
And we know that the business case for workplace intelligence is only growing stronger.
Initially, the term “integrated workplace management system” was used to describe a platform that would seamlessly combine many disparate software systems into one. The focus at first was primarily on the management of buildings, with later emphasis on the integration facets of the system. The next generation of IWMS—what we call iXMS—now goes further to emphasize the employee experience.
As IWMS/iXMS technology is deployed to support smart buildings, the systems will improve and advance the interactions employees have not just in the workplace but with the workplace environment. Experiences will be more personalized, resulting in greater satisfaction, collaboration and productivity.
The smart building technology of today already makes it possible to customize the workday with personal details such as:
The possibilities are virtually endless with smart buildings that are supported by IWMS technology. In the future, the technology will go even further to create broader, integrated ecosystems that manage the buildings within the larger landscape of the local infrastructure. That’s an exciting vision that is sure to have a positive impact on communities worldwide.
As the VP of Product Strategy, Chad David Smith wears many hats that leverage his 20+ years of experience in the industry. Chad collaborates directly with clients and partners as well as with the iOFFICE client experience, client success, sales, marketing and development teams to create the most innovative and valued solutions for our clients.