Saving and streamlining: the role of smart commercial buildings
Smart commercial buildings present exciting opportunities for savings–and to add value for occupants. The built environment is a complex ecosystem of interconnected systems, functions, and equipment. To consistently remain competitive, businesses and building owners and managers are similarly looking to data and automation to streamline their operations, maximise efficiency and productivity, drive good environmental practices, and reduce waste and costs. In turn, this affects everything from the customer experience to staff retention and the smooth running of supply chains.
More people working from home now than ever before, and work-from-home culture is a strong feature of the new normal. As a result, tenants are looking for more than just bricks and mortar. Instead, smart building solutions that incorporate strong connectivity and tech-enabled elements are becoming increasingly important and present strong investment opportunities for property owners.
How do smart buildings actually achieve these savings and streamlined operations? In this blog, we cover the functionality of the smart building solutions from Smarter Technologies Group and the benefits they hold for the commercial built environment.
Find out more about commercial smart buildings with the Complete Guide to Smart Buildings from Smarter Technologies Group.
The value of technology
Many businesses have retained a work-from-home or hybrid approach following the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. As people’s homes are being relegated into the sphere of work environments, the value that technology adds is clear. A recent survey of 1,000 SMEs found that the average worker could waste up to 72 minutes daily because of tech issues and unreliable internet. As more businesses move online, the importance of strong, fast, and reliable connectivity is becoming clearer than ever to potential tenants.
Property consultants, Cluttons, report that as many as 78% of landlords have been able to achieve rent increases due to improved connectivity and 72% have been able to avoid reductions in occupancy rates.
The value of smart technology to the workplace – for employees, business owners, and building managers alike – is immense. Data is a useful tool to define systems that enable all the building’s occupants to better perform their tasks – with simplified and reduced administrative hassle and easily evidenced results. This affects staff retention rates, the attraction of fresh talent, and overall business reputation.
Future-proof your profits as a smart business
However, smart building solutions have much more to offer than just connectivity. New sensor technologies mean that landlords can track areas such as energy usage, occupancy rates, temperature, movement levels, and even ventilation within a building. By utilising data readings across full-building operations, everything from internal processes to entire supply chains and long-term strategy has the ability to be fine-tuned to reduce waste, drive sustainability, increase productivity, and set a targeted growth path.
Occupant wellbeing and perks for productivity
Additionally, as smart buildings provide greater control over environmental factors, they can also play a role in people’s mental and physical health. Features such as sophisticated lighting systems, temperature sensors, and climate control apps allow landlords to improve not only the quality and comfort of their building but also the wellbeing of its users.
This idea of wellbeing is especially important when considering the findings from a report by the Health & Safety Executive. The study found that 25.7 million UK working days were lost to work-related ill-health during 2016 and 2017 alone. The detrimental effects of this on business are obvious, which is why it is not surprising that so many organisations recognise the importance of their employees’ mental and physical health.
Reduced energy consumption, increased green profile
Of course, the ability to monitor and easily adjust building systems also means a better bottom line, particularly where individual systems such as lighting are linked to sensors that can significantly reduce unnecessary energy usage.
Large corporations are also subject to the UK’s climate policies, such as the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). This EU directive, adopted into UK law, makes it mandatory for businesses with over 250 employees, or with an annual turnover of €50 million, to undertake periodic energy assessments and compliance with government recommendations.
Ultimately, however, the importance of energy savings for businesses of all sizes cannot be overstated. The trend of regulations in recent years has been towards far reduced consumption and emissions. As a result, businesses stand to accumulate savings on their operational running costs, which is great for profitability.
Smarter Technologies Group’s state-of-the-art Orion Data Network allows you to monitor your building’s utilities to identify where energy might be wasted, where costs can be reduced, and where you can further diminish your carbon footprint. You’ll benefit from automatic electricity load balancing, sub-metering solutions, and peak power output control.
Smart maintenance schedules
Air-tight maintenance schedules are at the heart of smooth business processes. Costs very quickly accumulate in the event of disruptions, the expense of repairs and reactive maintenance, as well as the other associated costs when equipment goes down. By using data from smart building solutions, maintenance schedules have the potential to be greatly refined. This data can also be programmed to alert authorised personnel to changes that could be the first sign of mechanical issues. Preventative maintenance has the added benefit of keeping equipment running optimally from an energy perspective too.
Smart safety and compliance
For landlords and business owners, safety is always a primary concern. Meeting compliance standards is a traditionally labour-intensive process, with manual checks, system timelines to keep in mind, and rigorous record-keeping requirements.
In addition to simplifying these tasks, smart technologies integrate into existing systems to enhance safety. From alarms for lone workers or workers in remote locations to real-time reports on condition changes such as smoke and gas detection, smart buildings leave little to chance when it comes to safety.
They also stand to create a smart system of fire safety, equipment safety, air quality monitoring, and leak detection through real-time data readings and long-term, cloud-based record-keeping. One smart solution from Smarter Technologies Group is the smart automated legionella compliance and temperature testing. This unique system schedules testing, provides uniform testing methodologies (removing the risk and variation of manual processes), and allows for thorough, cloud-based record-keeping.
Switching out your current bulbs with smart LEDs gives you ultimate control of your lighting systems. You can choose from any colour and lighting temperature. More importantly, you can set specific times of operation with automatic shutdown if the building is vacant, as well as automated occupancy responses and remote adjustments according to prevailing conditions – even when the building is unoccupied.
Smart tags and productivity
Run your equipment more efficiently with our smart tags, which allow you to track everything you need to in your building. With dynamic control and efficient reporting on all your assets, you will benefit from insight-driven decisions which promote profitability.
This holds real-time benefits – with instant alerts sent to a remotely accessible dashboard that can avert disaster, encourage recoverability where a theft has occurred, reduce bottlenecks, and support productivity. Data insights support operational excellence – in real time and over time. Coupled with reduced operational expenses, there is real scope for increased profits.
Another area of strategic decision-making comes from understanding how space is used within a building. By having accurate, detailed data insights into usage patterns, and space availability, every square inch of a smart building has the potential to be optimised. Not only is this good for productivity and worker experience; it means business owners and managers can efficiently utilise space for greater collaboration or even workplace safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a smart commercial building?
Smart buildings collect and assimilate data across the building’s systems, people, and processes. This data can then be used to drive automation, inform strategic decision-making, and guide building and equipment maintenance and management.
Smarter Technologies Group gives housing providers and site development companies full visibility of their entire buildings using real-time notifications, alarms, and asset tracking.
Offering highly scalable systems to suit all manner of budgets and facility types, Smarter Technologies Group’s customised dashboard lets you observe and monitor your entire premises, asset by asset.
What makes a smart building smart?
Using an interconnected system of sensors, pressure pads, and gateways, Smarter Technologies Group’s solutions transmits data over the Orion Data Network to remote dashboards. From instant alerts to unusual metrics to providing tools for assessment of behaviour in the long term, smart buildings are ultimately powered by detailed, real-time, actionable data. This means the occupant experience can be optimised, energy consumption can be reduced, safety and security can be enhanced, and productivity can be maximised with data-inspired adjustments that remove the margin of error of traditional processes.
Can smart home technology be found in commercial buildings?
The granular monitoring and control abilities that are typically associated with home smart technologies form the foundation of many smart commercial buildings too. This network of IoT-powered sensors, pressure pads, and gateways allow for occupancy monitoring, real-time reporting, and automation.