Posted on 28 July 2020

3 Key reasons why to invest in a smart building

Changing the face of commercial real estate forever, the adoption of IoT has made the possibilities endless for smart building. Developing futureproof solutions for generations of offices, building owners can ensure that they have invested not only in what’s trending now but in technology that is resilient. A smart building must be quick to respond to its occupants ever changing needs. Since a smart building also grows with its occupants over time, with the power of machine learning, a smart building can become even smarter over time. As building data is gathered via multi sensors such as bGrid, this building knowledge can be feedback to building management teams. Actionable insights are provided such as the reporting of ineffective meeting room utilization and poor air quality conditions; thus, meeting room facilities can be adjusted and air quality improved leading to higher meeting room capacity and more effective meetings. A combination of adaptable hardware and constantly innovating software is vital in order to achieve this. Also, it is essential that smart technology seamlessly integrates into the building verticals agnostically and independently; an open and high quality API provides the flexibility required to integrate 3rd party software and apps, unleashing a constant flow of opportunities to upgrade and enhance our daily lives of working within smart offices.

According to the Deloitte study How IoT Technology Aims to Add Value for Real Estate Companies, the adoption of IoT by buildings is going to be nearly $1.3 Billion by the end of 2020. Leveraging data from multi sensors which work with IoT and building management systems, owners, operators and occupants can gain valuable insights into what is happening in their building. But what are these insights which make smart buildings a hot topic in the commercial real estate sector today? We at bGrid highlight the 3 main reasons why you would want to get your hands on a smart building.

 1. Valuable data reduces costs while increasing office value

A smart building not only reduces costs in areas such as energy bills but offers much more exciting potential for an office. Wether building from new or regenerating, smart builds are a cost-effective way of creating a more valuable office. A smart building is an office that delivers more value to the organization, allowing an organization to work in evolving ways. How can you become smarter? Simple with knowledge, from your building’s data gathered by bGrid.

It is critical for building owners and facility managers to have insight into what is happening within their building, to accurately utilise office space. When the utilization of the building is known, it is possible to respond to this. You can monitor how the building is used and whether less space is needed, or a change in lay-out or meeting room fit-out is advisable. Built to adapt, our bGrid multi-sensors provide control of personal comfort. Communicating with everything in your building, our flexible approach and open API allows enabling of fast accurate positioning of devices and 3rd party assets. Read more about how our solution can benefit you here.

A smart building shows exactly how your office is used and how much space you can save. For example, when bGrid worked with Microsoft at their Dutch HQ in Schiphol, it was discovered that fewer desks were needed but an increase in customer engagement areas was desired. An overall reduction of 30% less office space was achieved, which equalled a staggering 4,000m2 of reduction in office lease area – which was led to a different co-working tenant by Schiphol Real Estate. This created an exciting opportunity for Microsoft to develop new ways of working and led to greater customer and partner interaction. An informed strategic plan was established to improve office layout and utilization, with data insights provided by bGrid as one of the ingredients. For instance, meeting rooms were developed to become more purposeful, tailored to the needs of occupants with more variety in their square meterage and occupant capacity. Concentration hubs were built to provide much needed workspaces for focused working of individuals, these in turn dramatically freed up floor space and decreased unnecessary over booking of larger meeting rooms. Read our case about our collaboration with Microsoft and Schiphol Real Estate.

 2. Health and comfort attract and retain talent

Tight deadlines, tension, stress, little exercise, all adds up to the contributing factors of an unhealthy working lifestyle. Adding to these effects of incorrect lighting when constantly staring at a screen, overcrowding, unsuitable workspaces, the wrong indoor climate, it is easy to see how efficiency can decrease across the workday. Health and comfort gain more and more focus as key features of a modern workplace and a modern employer. The impact of COVID-19 has only increased this need. With the help of a smart building you can find a quiet workplace, with optimally set light and temperature where a healthy indoor climate is guaranteed, where you can find a quiet place to do focus work, or see if your meeting room is fit for purpose based on forecast data – before you book it. A smart building is one of the means that contributes to also retaining talent for a company, by providing the combination of health, comfort and a modern workplace. Going smart opens up the possibility for your building to support and adapt to your needs. The building as your personal assistant.

Take for example our current context of living and working with the uncertainties that the global pandemic of COVID brings to employers and their workforce. Now more than ever a healthy indoor office environment is key. Though this is not new to bGrid, since our inception we have been constantly developing and improving how we measure how healthy an office is. Recently we have applied our industry leading knowledge to develop our 3 layered bCOSS solution (bGrid COVID Office Safety Solution).

bCOSS monitors building occupancy, air quality, and indoor climate so your company can gain valuable data insights into the health of your building. These insights can help owners, operators and occupiers in adhering to physical distancing and in ensuring safe air quality, thus, to help combat the spread of corona in the workplace. Through people counting functionalities, building management can measure room occupancy and be better prepared to combat the risks of overcrowding. With a combined measurement of not only building utilization but importantly CO2 and humidity, bCOSS solution has a special feature, LEDs on each bGrid multi-sensor light up green, yellow or red to alert occupants to the air quality of a room.

As the saying goes health is wealth, when employees are provided with the security of a healthy workplace, they are more at ease during their workday. The most important challenge to solve in our return to the office is in safeguarding our health and to help achieve this measuring the quality and standards of our working environment is key.

You can make a building a lot more comfortable by providing high quality and actionable information; allowing people to choose whether they want to sit in a warm or a cooler workplace, if they like a quiet place or some business and noise. This may seem like a simple solution, though the value is in knowing when and where these elements of health & comfort match the needs. That’s how smart building contributes to a healthy and productive workforce. That’s why a smart building solution such as bGrid senses to give feedback to facility management on how their building is preforming.

A smart office is appealing when attracting new talent to your workforce, though retention of quality employees has become the main battel in the war on talent. That’s why providing a healthy office to your loyal employees particularly in this current climate is now imperative. Read more about how bCOSS works and how it can be integrated in your office.

Read our case on how the Municipality of Alkmaar made their office smarter than ever. Being the first to install our bCOSS solution, the Municipality of Alkmaar is a customer who benefits from bGrid smart upgrades. With no need for hardware updates, or having to even enter your building, our team can update your existing bGrid infrastructure with bCOSS solution virtually.

 3. Sustainable sells

Save energy whilst improving health & comfort

A smart building measures the utilisation of space, which can provide insights to help pinpoint operational costs more accurately. An average pattern of building occupation can be determined from historical data gathered from your building. For example, on average we can see that on Fridays, employees do not arrive to the office before 9:00 am, a smart building ensures that the heating is switched on later, which immediately leads to energy and cost savings. When monitoring work desk utilization, certain locations within a building may be able to be closed off during specific periods, which in turn saves energy. Importantly, through the holistic approach of the bGrid® solution, these energy savings are combined with improving health and comfort through the same solution. Moreover, commercial buildings could save up to 60 billion dollars if investments in energy efficiency were ramped up by just 1-4%, according to a study by the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE).

What about profit? Property owners can already command greater value from spaces that have lower carbon emissions and higher levels of comfort. For the businesses occupying these buildings smart buildings offer a return on investment. Lower energy bills, reduced maintenance costs and increased staff retention all directly improve the bottom line. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory cited in the ACEEE report described savings of 19-26% on cooling and 48-67% on lighting if smart building solutions are implemented. Read our case study on how the Municipality of Eindhoven became more sustainable with the bGrid solution.

Smart buildings are the new standard. Companies aiming to be futureproof, must ensure that all of their properties are made smart. bGrid provides such a solution with the latest industry leading solution in sensing, positioning and control. Developing our futureproof software which operates with IoT and open API, we think beyond the challenges today to project and imagine the unknown possibilities of the future. Gathering valuable data to give insight to enable fast accurate communication with everything in your building ranging from lighting, climate systems and even people through smart devices.

Here are just a few reasons to invest in a smart building; follow us on LinkedIn, subscribe to our YouTube channel and website for more. Find out how we can help you get from an internet of too many things to integration of bGrid’s final smart building solution. Read more about bGrid and contact our team here.

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