With productivity, or lack thereof, costing businesses millions of pounds, now’s the time to take full advantage of all the benefits the IoT has to offer
The Internet of Things, or ‘IoT’, is a term that has been bandied about a lot in the media of late. It’s fair to say that despite its standing as a hot topic, there will be those who don’t really know exactly what it means, or the impact it will potentially have on the property and construction industries. To delve deeper into the IoT, emerging workplace technologies, and the future of smart buildings, Workplace Week 2017 in association with Workplace Fabric and London and Partners (L&P), the official PR department for London, hosted an event dedicated to exploring the benefits and challenges IoT raises.
The proliferation of technology in both our work and personal lives has resulted in five times more connected devices in the world than people – 28 billion devices, to be exact.
Business Insider recently named London as the third most high-tech city in the world. This is testament to L&P, who have been striving to establish the capital as a tech mecca – exemplified in the launch of the first interactive app for tourists, ‘Play London with Mr. Bean’. It’s only fitting then that the team at L&P hosted such an event. Set in an office with panoramic views of the Thames and London Bridge, the interactive session attracted a crowd of professionals from a range of sectors – all gathered to share knowledge on what is seemingly an inexhaustible topic.
The proliferation of technology in both our work and personal lives has resulted in five times more connected devices in the world than people – 28 billion devices, to be exact. So, although IoT is a fairly new term, it’s been a long time in the making. Recent reports have projected that the IoT will be worth $14.4 trillion by 2022, and there will be a staggering 50 billion connected devices globally.
And there’s no doubt that IoT will have a role to play in transforming every facet of buildings as we know them – how we live in them, manage them, even down to the bricks and mortar of building them. Construction is the beginning of a building’s lifecycle, and increasingly we will see the IoT incorporated at base build. The process of intelligent 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) will soon incorporate data from IoT sensors to model things like energy use patterns, temperature or people movement. This in turn will make our buildings greener – for example, a building will shut down unnecessary systems such as light and heating when it senses the space is unoccupied. Changes such as these will streamline the process of how we use, and build, the structures of the future.
In corporate real estate, the influence of IoT will filter down to the day-to-day workplace productivity of employees. A survey conducted by workplace effectiveness benchmarking specialist, Leesman, revealed that of a quarter of a million employees surveyed, only 57 per cent could agree that the design of their workplace enables them to work productively. According to Boston-based consultant CEB, businesses lose £31 million per annum from providing poor space information to users. Businesses today are re-evaluating the workplace brand, and focussing on ensuring that the physical corporate infrastructure creates the best user experience, while driving optimum return on investment.
Take, for example, our recent collaboration with a large computer software conglomerate. For their new London premises, the real estate team wanted an inclusive space discovery and optimisation solution that required no user input. Having implemented the Freespace platform, which uses workplace sensing to deliver live space availability information to employees, signage across the three floors allows employees to easily navigate the workplace to find a space to suit their needs.
Rather than an add-on, soon we’ll witness solutions such as this being built in to the fabric of corporate buildings quite literally from the ground up. With productivity, or lack thereof, costing businesses millions of pounds, now’s the time to take full advantage of all the benefits the IoT has to offer.
Raj Krishnamurthy is CEO at Workplace Fabric