Over the past 18-months, the team at Sammin Engineering has been working on a range of essential and non-essential projects, most recently focused on the safe return of company employees and their customers to workplaces all around the country. 

 

With this in mind, Deloitte has published a helpful guide to the use of smart building technologies to enable facilities managers ensure a safe and healthy working environment for teams to reenter the workplace.

 

The main categories of smart buildings tools fall under the following functions: 

  • Managing occupancy in real time: Post-pandemic, area occupancy will likely need to be reduced and monitored in real time to ensure compliance with safety guidelines. IoT sensors enable dynamic occupancy analytics, which can be linked to existing workplace apps or ICT systems for real-time alerts for building owners and operators.

 

  • Tracking people movement: Starting with temperature screening at the point of entry, there are many new technologies being used to track movement within the workplace. This was being done prior to the pandemic to accurately measure the true usage of spaces within a building and to help automate wayfinding. Post-pandemic, this will be critical to ensure adherence to social distancing measures. The Deloitte paper includes carpetings embedded with LED lighting that can provide visual prompts to building occupants and visitors. 

 

  • Improving air quality and ensuring adequate ventilation, including smart maintenance of  HVAC systems: Indoor air quality, or IAQ, has been a critical part of the Covid-19 safety conversation. There are many new technologies to reduce the spread of infection and to improve the air flow throughout a building, including LED disinfection systems. 

 

  • Pandemic-responsive cleaning regime: Using the data generated around building occupancy and people tracking, cleaning activities will need to be focused on areas of higher use. Also, the old-fashioned pen and paper notices will no longer be sufficient as a record of cleaning. Significantly, (on the low tech side of things) during the pandemic, cleaning staff within buildings started to use high-visibility vests, not for any safety advantage, but to increase the awareness of ongoing building cleaning activities. 

 

  • General building management, including BMS upgrades for better connectivity:  Many of the technology solutions innovated and deployed over the past 18-months are dependent upon IoT sensors and interoperability has become a growing problem for building owners, who find themselves forced to engage with several different systems, using several different dashboards. While this is not ideal, it is symptomatic of the rapid uptake in technology, making previously ‘dumb’ buildings smart. Right now, existing buildings are plugging in new technologies that most BMS systems cannot handle sustainability or over the longer term.  But this is part of the wider conversation for another day!




The above is merely a snapshot of the new proptech solutions available and it is important to point out that ad hoc installation of IoT, or Internet of Things, devices can weaken the stability and security of a building’s network so this should be only done in consultation with built environment cybersecurity specialists. The Deloitte publication can be viewed in full and downloaded here: 

https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/process-and-operations/us-smart-building-tech-pov.pdf



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