Valued at USD 43.8 billion in 2019, the global smart buildings market has been growing at a rapid pace in light of increased emphasis on environmental issues, and evolving occupant expectations. The emergence of next-gen technologies, such as the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), is enhancing tenant experiences, reducing maintenance expense and optimizing energy usage. More importantly, in the post-pandemic age, these technologies can be used to comply with stringent regulatory norms and health and safety guidelines. In this blog, we discuss five applications of IoT and AI, which are helping building managers drive unprecedented business outcomes.
Superior occupant experience
Imagine a world where the moment you step into a building, a mobile application directs you to your meeting room, the elevator recognizes you and takes you to the right floor, and you are allocated a hot desk for work, after the meeting. That is no longer a futuristic scenario, lifted straight from an episode of Hanna-Barbera Productions’ The Jetsons. With the USD 70 billion wearables market growing at an express pace, building managers are already looking into using real-time data to track the movement of occupants within a space, to enable hyper-personalized experiences.
Streamlined energy management
Building owners, facilities management companies, and real estate developers can now drive energy savings by leveraging occupancy sensor data, to control HVAC and lighting systems. According to estimates by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), smart building technology can lead to energy savings to the tune of 30 to 50 percent.
Enhanced space and asset utilization
With the advent of the new digital workspace, building managers are employing infrared, ultrasonic, microwave, or other similar technologies, to enable visibility into occupancy metrics. Data collected from sensors is processed by powerful machine learning algorithms to trace patterns. By learning how occupants utilize spaces and assets, building managers can plan expansion, upgrades, or seamlessly maintain environmental factors such as temperature, moisture, and noise levels.
Enable predictive maintenance
Commercial maintenance cycles can cost a bomb. Building managers are now able to use data from IoT sensors placed throughout the building, to gain actionable insights that allow them to schedule maintenance work optimally, and replace parts and equipment before they break down. That way, they can prioritize maintenance tasks, minimize downtime, all the while keeping maintenance expenses low.
Adherence to mandated health and safety measures
Today, IoT and sensor technology can help building mangers simplify sanitization processes and contact tracing to minimize exposure of occupants to the COVID-19 contagion. Recently, WiFi connected robots have been employed to kill the virus using UV light. As countries emerge from the lockdown and offices and coworking spaces reopen, it will become increasingly important to enforce social distancing norms. Mobile apps can be employed to keep a track of how building occupants interact with each other by performing a ‘digital handshake’ using Bluetooth. An interesting use case has emerged from Switzerland where the country’s largest mobile operator is using anonymized location data to alert authorities, when 20 mobile phones are found within an area of 100 square meters.