Businesses using smart buildings can make huge savings while also boosting company culture says Mark Braund, CEO of Smart Buildings innovator RedstoneConnect.
‘Smart Buildings’ refer to taking intelligent systems within buildings that collect data – like intelligent lighting and access control – and then reusing that information to help streamline the environment, in effect connecting the dots.
This could be things like accessing a footprint of the building that shows every desk and meeting room via employee devices, which can help people locate colleagues, pre-book facilities and find the things they need to do their job more easily.
This all generates data which in turn allows businesses to see how their space is being used and how their employees are working.
RedstoneConnect found some of the benefits first-hand when it turned one of its own London offices into a Smart Building, which allowed it to downsize from 11,000 sq ft to five-and-a-half thousand sq ft while also adding 25 people to its team.
“The office became far more vibrant and more engaging – there was less dead space, more engaged people and a much lower cost of occupancy,” the company’s CEO Mark Braund told BusinessCloud.
“It has a very positive effect and there’s been lots written on investing in buildings of this nature. The first line of requirement for many is how can they engage with employees?
“It’s about connecting the employee to the workspace so they can be mobile and giving them the tools to make the best use of space.
“It’s hugely important and the main driver for many of the organisations looking at the tech now.”
This happens in part down to making the building much easier to understand and more transparent using technology.
“If you have a big campus and you go to a building you haven’t been to before and you try to print a document but have no idea where it’s coming out,” said Braund.
“If you want a meeting with your colleagues, you don’t know where they are in the building. You want a meeting room, which is the nearest free one?
“The applications we’re talking about make it a frictionless environment and all the information is at your fingertips.
“Employees can be more engaged in a workspace that’s built to make them more entrepreneurial and more fluid.”
It also has implications outside of streamlining employees’ work days, as the tech can provide a map that shows them granular data down to which running machines are free in the gym at that second.
While not every business will benefit from all aspects of Smart Buildings, with the rise of BYOD and remote working many will says Braund.
“If people are sat at the same desk every day and you’re not going to change the format that’s fine,” he said.
“But in newer industries, especially thinking about millennials, they expect this. If you don’t have it you’re going to start losing resources to some of the companies that are ahead of you.”