Smart cities are emerging as a fundamental evolution in urban infrastructure, which will optimize services and amenities, to enhance the lives of all citizens. By building these technologically advanced cities, city planners can have a positive impact on the entire range of inconveniences and inefficiencies that are currently plaguing our big cities. Solving for problems such as traffic flow, emergency responses, air quality and energy usage, produces universal positives for all stakeholders, and this is exactly the kind of optimal urban experience that smart cities promise to manifest.
Naturally, smart buildings are the units which aggregate into smart cities, and each such individual asset – as well as the entire cluster – depends on connectivity, for optimization. Connected buildings, which are empowered by the deployment of cloud and IoT technologies, will be the key reason that smart cities succeed. Four of the most essential advantages to this ‘greater than the sum of its parts’ model are:
Energy Efficiency: The connected building centralizes control over energy management. Instead of twenty different companies doing their own thing, the connected building unifies the management of heating, cooling and lighting functions, eliminating waste and ensuring the highest level of occupant comfort.
A connected building also allows commercial real estate to be responsive and ‘real-time’, in allocating energy to address needs. For instance, built spaces with such capabilities can sense the absence of occupants, to initiate the darkening of windows and turning off heating, in an empty room.
Predictive Maintenance: Connected building models allow for the constant on-going monitoring and evaluation of embedded automation and systems. Anticipating asset lifecycles, including when individual elements need to be repaired or replaced and the prioritization of tasks, can empower predictive management that avoids costly shutdowns. Minimizing disruption in building operations reflects positively on resource and capital utilization, as well as giving tenants high quality personalized service – leading to even greater ROI by enhancing the market value of the property.
Enhanced Security: Smart buildings provide enhanced security on all levels. Because these buildings are connected, you can integrate fire, intrusion and access systems to provide the highest degree of safety possible, to occupants. Each of these critical amenities can be customized, resulting in an overall synergy, as well as a strict adherence to all local, state and federal standards. You will also be able to easily generate audits and transaction reports, enabling the highest possible standards in accountability and operational transparency.
Tenant Retention: A connected building enhances tenant experiences one fine detail at a time, as well as by ensuring exceptional big-picture outcomes. Automation that responds to personalized occupant preferences creates an enjoyable environment, which inspires productivity for tenants and attracts clients, for building owners. Tenants no longer have to experience temperature surges, or any other disruptions in their physical environment that distract from their primary areas of focus.
As an added bonus, your tenants will be happier with their neighbours since smart buildings offer a superior shared experience. No one tenant can ruin the physical environment for another.
Simplified Management: Your management responsibilities are simplified as well, since you can tackle most issues at the building level instead of the tenant level. Problems can be quickly addressed, often before tenants are inconvenienced by them. Essentially, a connected building, which enables a granular transparency into asset status and processes, reconciles the ideal scenarios for building occupants, owners and managers. It is this ease of operations that allows outcomes to be consistently optimal and positive, for all stakeholders.
The underlying promise of all digital transformation is unprecedented efficiencies, which enable ideal scenarios for people, assets and business models. Connected buildings are perhaps the singular implementation of a digital upgrade that can produce the most positive impact on all the fundamental elements around which our societies are organized. From sustainability and user experiences, to lower opex and unerring accountability, digitization and connectivity hold the key to ushering in enhancements to all aspects of commercial real estate.