Can smart offices change the world?

Clare Hopping

Thursday 23 November 2017

Our reliance on technology means we are using more power now than ever before. But technology is also being applied in ingenious ways to solve the problems it creates.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 30 per cent of the average energy used in commercial buildings is wasted. It’s a staggering statistic, and one that represents the damage being done by poor energy efficiency – to both a business’s bottom line and our planet. Smart office technology can change that.

With the help of Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled tech, we can reduce the amount of energy we sap from the grid, save money and even improve our green credentials – which is increasingly important in our environmentally conscious society.

Smart building management

IoT-empowered smart building management systems (SBMS) are able to sense how we work, when we work and what we need, and can deliver a tailored work environment with minimal energy waste.

In their most basic incarnations, they can complete basic tasks such as schedule lighting and air-conditioning systems to turn on or off, removing the error-prone human from the loop. But as technology evolves, their impact will be far greater.

Modern SBMSs can keep tabs on the temperature so that windows will automatically open or blinds will close. They can use sensors to monitor human movement throughout the building so that unused areas aren’t lit, heated or cooled unnecessarily. And they can even count bodies through the door, which gives building managers an idea of how much energy will be used and in what areas.

Lighting and heating

Lighting and heating that follows you as you move through a building may seem like science fiction, but it’s where our workplaces are headed. And with the promise of up to 60 per cent reduction in our energy usage, it’s something we should all embrace.

Smart tech can even help us turn the problem on its head. Installation of modest solar arrays and regenerative motors in lifts can allow commercial buildings to feed power back into the grid, when before it would have drained it.

Benefits of smart working

Saving energy is a huge plus point, but a smart working environment also pays extra dividends, such as attracting top talent to your cause and increasing the productivity of your current employees. After all, everyone works better when they are comfortable!

Real-time data analysis

With real-time data analysis seated at the core of smart office tech – analysing what’s being used and when – there are certain issues to overcome. In particular, privacy and data security are big talking points. But these are merely bumps in the road, and can be addressed by simple means such as making data anonymous.

Once the technology hurdles have been overcome, everyone will be better off – now and decades into the future. Not only will our planet be in better shape, but our brands and our reputations as well.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Building the next-gen data centre

Where traditional and web-scale apps co-exist