As technology advances, so buildings and workplaces are becoming smarter. This is good news, because the smart building has the power to cut energy waste, enhance occupant well-being, create healthier, more rentable buildings, reduce economic risk and meet sustainability goals. And it’s all thanks to smart workplace technology, and the hugely valuable data that comes out of smart building analytics.
What is smart workplace technology?
Smart workplace technology makes use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to monitor and control a variety of building functions. These functions could be anything from lighting, heating and air conditioning, to indoor air quality, access control, wayfinding, meeting room bookings, and cleaning and maintenance.
Smart sensors, locks, thermostats and other devices work in a range of ways, from picking up noise and vibration to detecting heat, light levels and movement. The information collected is funnelled into a smart building analytics dashboard, where facilities managers get to see a whole host of data in easy-read formats which they can use to make informed changes and educated decisions. But the benefits don’t end there.
One of the most redeeming features of smart workplace technology has to be the way it incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning with the smart data collected via the IoT devices.
Such a powerful combination makes it possible to automate a significant range of tasks, minimising the margin for human error or oversight, saving time and money, freeing up resources and boosting productivity in the process.
What tasks can be automated with smart workplace technology?
The beauty of smart workplace technology lies in its versatility. When used in conjunction with the building management system, it transforms the premises into a smart building.
In the smart building there is much that can be conveniently automated, from HVAC controls to indoor air quality, lighting and energy usage, as well as maintenance and service requests, visitor management and meeting room bookings, and a host of security functions.
HVAC controls – a healthy workspace where climate control is auto-influenced by external environmental factors as well as machine-learnt personal preferences is a workspace where people are content, and where wellness is given a boost. It’s also a workplace where energy consumption is closely managed, and where wastage is minimised.
Lighting – automated lighting and window shades that react to changing natural light, and the ability to personalise light settings so that individuals are more in control of their own spaces, are a fundamental feature of smart workplace technology.
Visitor management – contactless, automated visitor management streamlines the entire process and makes it safe and data compliant, as well as enhancing the overall visitor experience. Visitor passes are issued directly to smart handsets, privacy policies digitally signed in advance and wayfinding instructions provided for ease of navigation once onsite. Hosts are automatically notified of visitors’ arrival, and even the elevators know automatically which floor to take the visitor to.
Facilities management – from despatching cleaning teams to re-stocking meeting rooms and organising maintenance and service visits, there is little that smart workplace technology cannot automate for the busy facilities manager. Meeting room checkouts are programmed to send automated notifications to restock refreshments and sanitise the space, whilst sensors located in washrooms count visits and send systematic alerts to cleaning teams to attend once a pre-set number is reached. On detecting unusual sounds or vibrations, sensors placed on machinery and plant warn of the need for a service engineer before the issue turns into a major problem.
Meeting room and desk booking – smart booking systems use IoT technology to manage desk sharing and meeting room bookings. Motion detectors, smart sensors and device docking stations relay desk or room availability into a central platform, which allows free seats or rooms to be booked in real time, either by admin staff, or the users themselves. Workers can even be automatically seated by role or project, or matched to work zones that fit their personal preferences.
Access control – no more access cards, no more fobs, no more pin codes. Smart workplace technology replaces traditional access tools that can be lost, stolen or shared with automated digital entry keys. Stored on a user’s smartphone, these keys can be issued on a role-based basis so that only authorised personnel can access certain zones. Access can also be blanket denied in the event of a security breach or health and safety issue arising.
Indoor air quality – when indoor air quality drops below a level considered safe, for example humidity gets too high, or levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon dioxide or gas increase to unhealthy levels, ventilation is automatically increased, or an alert created to evacuate the building.
What data can be derived from smart building analytics?
Smart building analytics show a real time view of a range of data in a variety of formats. You will usually be able to view this data for a given day, week or month or custom date range, as well as setting targets and seeing how actual usage compares.
Energy consumption – per floor, room or zone, HVAC and lighting usage trends are displayed against time of day and external factors, such as climatic change. You’ll also see the likes of power consumption in kilowatt hours, and individual resource consumption and usage, from barrels of oil used to number of smartphones charged.
Water – example analytics include hot and cold water usage trends, and volume of water consumed in litres.
Air quality – humidity and temperature and levels of volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide, dust… basically anything that has the potential to impact negatively on workplace well-being will show up on the smart building analytics dashboard, with measurements shown against safe levels.
Occupancy – total live occupancy, current residents and visitors, expected visitors and percentage occupied are datasets that allow decisions to be made or automations to be triggered, such as changes to heating, ventilation and air conditioning so that comfort levels can be optimised to suit the number of people within the building.
Smart building technology by Smart Spaces
Smart Spaces is an Internet of Things (IoT) powered smart building technology platform that transforms an ordinary building management system into a smart building management system.
By accessing the data produced by its various IoT devices, and by showing who is using a building, how they are using it, occupancy levels, energy usage and building health, Smart Spaces is able to demonstrate how a workspace can be improved, as well as benchmarking against other buildings, conducting detailed risk analysis assessments, and making predictions and decisions on future space and resource needs.
To learn more about how Smart Spaces can deliver valuable smart building analytics that can enhance the wellbeing of your workplace, you are welcome to request a free demo or get in touch.