The smart office

Aug. 11th 2021

Digitally connected, more economical, better for staff.

 We talk about how technology can streamline manual processes and enable workforces to work smarter and more efficiently. That same thinking can extend beyond your people. The age of smart buildings is here – and they can now do more than just connect to the internet. 

Here we peek behind the door of smart buildings – what they are and how they’re changing the way businesses work from the inside out. 

 What is a smart building? 

 Smart buildings are digitally connected structures that use technology to enable efficient and economical use of resources while creating a safe and comfortable working environment. A simple example is having automated lights; something more complex might be floor sensors to determine real-time room occupancy. 

 Today’s smart building technology spans almost every element of a facility, turning physical action into digital data. With access to real-time insights into the way people use buildings, businesses can make data-driven decisions that enhance how their workplaces function.

Leveraging smart building tech and analytics 

There are many benefits to implementing smart technologies and systems – it’s much easier to understand (and therefore manage) a facility when tangible data reveals how it’s used. It’s all about the data – here’s why: 

Powerful automation opportunities 

The upfront benefit is that core systems are linked – this is fundamentally what makes a building ‘smart’. The more smart connections between workplace systems, the more opportunities businesses have to automate various building processes like heating, ventilation, lighting, air conditioning and security. 

Better space optimisation reduces operational costs 

Building overheads are costly. While they’re a necessary expense, optimising working spaces is essential to keep operating costs low. The insights generated by smart buildings can help you understand how your team uses space resources – whether over or under-used – and you can leverage that data to reduce operational costs through better-informed decision-making. 

Maximise ROI with preventative maintenance 

Fact – building assets require maintenance. But it’s often the repair of unexpected breakdowns that comes with the greatest cost. Data-driven insights collected from smart devices help businesses take a proactive approach to facility upkeep through monitoring usage patterns. This way, you can predict when an asset needs maintenance and prolong the life of your building assets. 

Smart buildings lead to increased productivity 

When you understand how people use and move around a building, you can deliver spaces that facilitate optimal staff performance. Good indoor air quality, physical comfort, security, sanitation and lighting are all ways to improve the physical layout of high-footfall areas, minimise wasted work time and improve employee satisfaction. 

Work greener, reduce energy costs 

Green initiatives become simpler with smart buildings. Technology that monitors occupancy with your building management system can help reduce unnecessary energy consumption – a win for your business and the environment too. For example, The University of Technology, Sydney used automated smart building technology to synchronise control of their air-conditioning with a room booking platform. This helped save significant business costs by only activating the air con when a room was in use. 

Bringing people together in connected, digital workspaces 

Workplaces have changed dramatically over time. In a post-COVID world, the demand for systems to help manage new styles of working – agile workspaces, flex and remote work – has increased. A smart building’s connectivity gives businesses visibility they didn’t previously have, and a better understanding of the use of these new working environments. It also helps bring people together despite a distributed workforce, and supports new levels of digital collaboration. 

Smarter, more efficient workplaces 

Smart buildings have opened the door to a better use of buildings and the benefits are virtually (pun intended!) boundless. The best part is the data that gets collected, and the myriad of ways businesses can use these insights to transform the physical workplace, streamline operations, make more meaningful management decisions and adapt the workplace to real-time demands. 

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