How to add significant value to your Real Estate with IoT
This article was originally featured in the Smart IoT 2017 show guide. For more from Smart IoT 2017 including Keith Jump’s soon to be posted keynote talk from the event “Can IOT truly create value to your Real Estate?”, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. Look for #IoT17 and #SmartIoT17.
Getting hold of reliable information can be difficult in this post-truth, fake news age where – frankly – it’s hard to know quite what to believe anymore.
Who’d have thought, just a few years ago, that bricks and mortar – the most immovable constant of your organisation – would turn out to be significantly more flexible than you ever imagined?
This contradiction is explained by tapping into a new kind of data that not only speaks the complete, unbridled truth, but also makes some of your largest spending decisions demonstrably more intelligent. This is what happens when you successfully apply IoT to your Real Estate assets; when you create Smart Buildings and connected offices that deliver significant cost savings, higher utilisation and more productive working environments.
‘Smart Buildings share all their secrets; you just have to know what to ask.’
Think of it another way. If you choose to remain blind to the opportunities afforded by smart buildings, then prepare to continue making material spending commitments based on limited information. A critical element of long-term investment strategy shouldn’t be reliant upon little more than past experience.
Smart Buildings share all their secrets; you just have to know what to ask. Using solutions like SmartSpace™ from SmartSpace Plc, these analytical insights help engage people to work smarter and get more done in the time and space available. In turn this enables you to attract the best talent, respond to their flexible work preferences and optimise user experience and wellbeing.
UBM: Working smarter to massively improve space utilisation
UBM, the international media and events company, use OneSpace™ to measure, analyse and optimise how their staff utilise areas across multiple offices in real-time – on a per desk basis as well as multiple meeting rooms.
OneSpace’s soft sensors allowed us to map UBM’s building utilisation dynamically. Where were the hot spots, pinch points and empty desks? What was the average utilisation of an individual space or meeting room?
This initial stage of measurement and analysis enabled UBM to understand that its Real Estate was under-utilised. More profoundly, it showed that despite the apparent abundance of real-estate, its most creative and digitally-native staff were still struggling to use the space flexibly.
Within months we helped UBM to increase utilisation ratios and reduce operational costs, employees are benefiting from a digitally enhanced work environment with real-time workspace management tools allowing them to operate in an agile way, enhancing creativity and productivity.
The insights gained allowed UBM to rationalise seven floors of expensive London real estate into six. That’s generated an annual return through sub-letting of near on £15m over 15 years, plus the associated savings through space and energy usage.
Unleashing the data insights made possible by IoT
Smart buildings and connected offices have the potential to give organisations a detailed picture of how their workspace is being utilised, and apply common sense to the complex challenge of managing property effectively. It makes this valuable contribution to real estate optimisation thanks to current data rather than the arbitrary judgement of managers.
Crucially, soft sensors have been able to interpret each workspace without disturbing the work environment – utilising data to protect the wellbeing of users while making the work environment smart.
The key here is that the very same applications that provide engagement for people working in or visiting smart buildings also provides data about how the building is being used. While this information can be used to fine-tune building management systems to reduce energy consumption, far greater impact arises when the data is used to better organise and configure the building to meet the demands of the modern workplace.
Fixed assets and institutionalised thinking are softening
Buildings are becoming as malleable as today’s organisational structures and new working practices. The old methods of people and desks operating at a hard 1:1 ratio is well and truly out of step, now that smart buildings have rewritten the relationship between individuals, place and productivity. That’s how UBM started out, and now it’s thriving with an agile, flexible workspace to such an extent that, shortly, it will move well beyond its improved desk utilisation ratio of 1:1.4.
And it isn’t just the static nature of infrastructure that’s becoming more fluid. Smart buildings are softening the traditional concept of the working day too, in line with flexible working demands.
Imagine an environment where staff are guided to a desk whenever they need one, and to other spaces when they need those too. For instance, when what they require is the nearest available creative zone to conjure up their ideas, creative experts to join them and a ready supply of coffee to fuel them. That’s where there’s scope for extra investment in systems, software, and sensors: to enable and optimise flexible workflows, engage the smart people with the smart environment, and maximise gains from intelligent control of heating, cooling and lighting.
The systems guide people to the spaces and resources they need to get the job done. The workspace is completely mapped, onto which OneSpace™ overlays interactivity of more abstract resources like expertise and experience. This cuts down the chances of going astray, rewarding exploratory behaviour and aiding efficient knowledge transfer. Through large touch screens at key locations, and also through mobile apps, individuals get the desk space and IT resources they require. But they can get ‘softer’ benefits too, such as help when it’s sought, solitude when they have to focus and company when they need the buzz.
Smart Buildings: A business case for IoT
Solutions like OneSpace are integrating lots of disparate IT and environmental systems into a greater, purposeful whole; binding IoT initiatives into a meaningful project. It makes sense of all this technology and data rapidly and non-disruptively, so that people can work to their full potential.
Having spent its formative years floundering somewhat as another great technology seemingly in search of a business case, IoT is set to be rescued by the revolution in Smart Buildings. Smart Buildings, connected offices and their ilk deliver far more than tinkering with infrastructure to deliver marginal gains. The second biggest cost after people is premises. So, when you manage to redefine the relationship between your property and employees, it’s no surprise that the benefits rapidly exceed energy and carbon reduction alone.
The Smart Building & connected office is setting the standard for designing, building and managing real estate, and it’s leveraging IoT to make it happen.