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Are Smart Buildings Key to a More Connected, Resilient & Zero Carbon Future?

20 Jan 2021

In this Built Environment Networking ConTech series hosted by Phil Laycock, our CEO Dan Drogman, alongside Janine Cole of Great Portland Estates and Jamie Hills of Ask Real Estate, delve into the advancements of smart buildings that will change our futures, including personalisation and mobility—with offerings, such as location sensors, to improve occupant satisfaction and productivity; smart lighting, heating, air conditioning and ventilation; smart energy consumption; smart security and cybersecurity and more and what benefits these advancements will bring in both commercial and residential developments.

Below the video, see some of our featured talking points from Dan Drogman.

Why would we want to create a smart building?

The key is to create the best possible experience for the occupier.

The way you deliver that is through making it efficient. No one wants to waste time having to get access to the building. Contact-less access makes it efficient. Getting a visitor into the building, but they have to fill out some health and safety information, especially with the advent of COVID, efficiency is key.

To stop and prevent waste – today we’re talking about the journey to net zero (learn more about how IoT is making workplaces sustainable), and that’s one of the key elements of aggregating data from all the systems on our platform is to understand where there potentially is waste and how can we stop and prevent it.

Through the efficiencies we’re saving time, and I think productivity is one of the key reasons you’d want to develop a smart building. Also, the advent of saving energy, through some of the time saving elements but also around just monitoring every component and understanding if it’s delivering the best experience but with the right amount of energy. I’ll talk to you in a bit more detail about what that means in a second.

What is ‘truly’ smart?

I think it’s cause and effect relationships, so like I said, all those systems being connected back to a central system, that is providing that smart automation. The automation is where you find the optimisation, and the optimisation is achieved from monitoring the environment you’re providing to the occupier and then looking to see what savings can be made. And that could be turning an AHU down slightly, that could be dynamically adjusting the timers to work to new schedules. (What is a smart space? Learn more in our article)

One of our unmanned properties in the Thames Valley, we provided the timers for the HVAC into our app. So the people that were working in the office could automatically change them based on when they were going to go to the office. Rather than have a Monday to Friday, nine to five, or nine to seven time clock, they edited that time clock themselves from within the app, and that was crucial to get them making savings and not wasting, heating or cooling the office when they weren’t there.

This all comes back to a building that performs for the occupier and adapts to an ever changing environment. Before we wrap up, I just want to show you, once you’ve connected all the systems within a building, how that comes back to to a central location. And one of the best places to connect these systems is back to the BIM model (digital twin), because the BIM model is a 3D representation and an asset register of all your assets within a building, why not connect that back to all the connected systems within the building to access and see how they function in real time?

What smart workplace features can be enabled?

We have the ability to provide control of all the base built systems, you’ve got your access control there, we’ll have lighting control, HVAC control and energy management (check out how a smart workplace works). What we’ve noticed is, with power-assisted doors you actually can completely remove the need to touch a door, and that’s something that on all our projects we’re engaged with at the moment, our clients are looking to add that power assistance.

Here we have Bluetooth lighting, where the phone is connecting directly to the luminaire above your head so rather than have to go through the central building systems and find where you are, we can just go direct to the luminaire, and that’s where the technology’s evolving at a fast pace.

Are smart buildings future proof?

When I think of resilience, it’s always with my techie hat on, so it’s how can we ensure that the software doesn’t fall over, the building stays active.

And there’s lots of what we do, you know, our software is very much an overlay, it’s an optimization strategy system. So if you took our system out, so say, Smart Spaces has disappeared from 160 or First Street, the building still behaves as a conventional building, you can still use an access card, you can still use the BMS, you can still use the energy. So I always think of resilience from that from that standpoint.

But once you have got that in place, and that is the foundation, that’s your resilience, you build on top with the technology. That’s what provides the future proofing.

And you know, as new technologies arrive, you know, voice is becoming very, very popular. And so we’ve already had an Alexa skill for the platform, and also in 22 Bishopsgate we’ve got facial detection. Now, you don’t have to use that facial detection, it’s completely up to you whether you want to use it. But if you do, all you need to do is take a photograph of your face, and then you just get let through the barrier, without even having to put your hands in your pockets. And so the future proofing is there. It’s how people are comfortable with the technology, you know, you’ve got those sort of early adopters, that will probably be using the facial detection day one, and then you’ve got others that will wait and see what happens.

 

Download the full transcript here

 

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