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Smart Building Technology Trends to Watch For in 2022

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Laura Miller

Covid-19 has led building owners and developers to reimagine and transform their premises to protect health and promote wellness. The focus on healthy indoor environments combined with the proliferation of building-centric IoT offerings will drive the development of smart buildings through 2022 and beyond. Building owners who understand emerging smart building technology trends and their impact will stay at the forefront of innovation and command higher valuations for their properties.     

Top Smart Building Technology Trends

The following are some of the most important smart building technology trends we will see in 2022:     

Smarter Workspaces

The modern workplace is evolving, and businesses are embracing new ways of keeping employees and visitors safe. 

Since Covid-19, building occupants are more reluctant to touch surfaces like door handles, elevator buttons, thermostats, and light switches. As a result, touchless technology is emerging as the new norm. Future-focused building owners are already integrating:

  • Contactless check-ins and space reservation systems
  • Touchless entry using mobile based access control
  • Automatic dispensing sanitization stations

Smart technology is also taking center stage when it comes to physical distancing. IoT-based occupancy monitoring and traffic-flow data help you make informed decisions about space optimization and safety. For example, analysis of occupancy sensor data can guide design decisions and allow you to create appropriately sized meeting rooms and workspaces. On a daily basis the data informs of areas which have been heavily utilized to direct cleaning efforts, resulting in smarter cleaning.  On a longer term basis, the data enables real estate portfolio managers to understand how much and what type of spaces they should be providing occupants.

Hybrid workspaces that integrate remote and in-office workforces will continue to grow in popularity. Smart sensors and data analytics allow for intelligent automation within these hybrid workspaces, giving you greater flexibility and simplified management.  For example, setting a meeting room’s temperature, lighting and shading according to a desired profile leads to more personalization in the workplace.      

Comfort and Health 

Creating comfortable and healthy environments that support productivity is becoming a top priority. That requires smart monitoring of indoor air quality (IAQ) variables like carbon dioxide levels, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) levels, temperature, and humidity. A smart building management platform analyzes real-time IAQ sensor data, to alert of compromised air quality. Information however needs to be turned into actions - this is where intelligent automation comes in.

One of the most advanced smart building technology trends takes comfort and health a step further. In an integrated building, a smart building management platform with intelligent automation, continuously monitors multiple variables and makes strategic adjustments to HVAC, lighting, and other building systems according to custom set points. For example, ventilation can increase along with real-time occupancy—or even in anticipation of occupancy. 

Savvy building owners, facility managers, and property managers are also turning to advanced janitorial tracking software and usage-based sanitation practices to safeguard occupant health.

Sustainability

Smart building technology is the foundation of green infrastructure and next-generation smart cities. However, deploying smart technologies only in new projects is not enough to effectively reduce total carbon emissions. Retrofitting existing buildings to smart standards is essential to eliminating energy waste and improving building performance. As a result, intelligent and integrated building automation systems (BASs) are expected to gain wide adoption in both new and existing buildings. 

In these systems, a smart building management platform transforms the granular sensor data into meaningful insights into energy consumption, equipment function, and building conditions. By providing deep visibility and ongoing monitoring, they are a powerful tool for identifying inefficiencies, correcting suboptimal performance, and implementing efficiency-focused automation strategies

Some smart technologies are also allowing buildings to communicate with the power grid to respond to changing electrical demand in real time. The popularity of such capabilities is expected to expand because it helps you reduce peak utility demand and lower the steep energy costs in commercial buildings without sacrificing comfort. Smart grids are further facilitating better integration of renewable energy systems owned by commercial premises. 

Despite the availability of these technologies, tenant behavior is a major driver of sustainability, and getting tenants on board with your sustainability plans is essential. A growing number of initiatives, like the Real-Time Energy Management (RTEM) + Tenants program in New York, are available to help building owners and tenants work together toward a greener future.               

Cybersecurity 

Smart technology introduces unique cybersecurity risks. Smart buildings have traditionally operated on operational technology (OT) networks and purposefully been kept separate from the Information Technology (IT) IT networks. However as more devices in buildings become connected to clouds, and the internet, the rigor which IT departments have taken to maintain and operate safe, secure environments will continue to extend to the OT network. The convergence of OT and IT cybersecurity is among the most critical smart building technology trends.

Robust cybersecurity protocols and practices are a must in any smart building. However, there is no single industry standard for ensuring security, and new technologies are constantly emerging that complicate security further. In 2022, we expect to see more companies having their IT teams engage early in building and workspace projects, versus near the end when design decisions have already been made.

How Smart Building Technology Trends Benefit Building Owners 

Many building owners hesitate to leverage smart building technology. That can be prudent; not all solutions are good investments. However, innovative smart building technology solutions provide significant benefits.

Lower Operational Costs via a Single-pane-of-glass View

For owners / occupiers with multiple spaces under management, a single-pane-of-glass view provides one place to understand the portfolio's performance and make smarter decisions. An integrated smart building platform solution significantly lowers operational costs. From identifying and correcting inefficiencies to streamlining maintenance, an integrated and intelligent platform allows you to strategically allocate facility resources and optimize ROI on capital projects.    

More Valuable Buildings

Tenants are ready to pay a premium for sanitized, healthy, safe, and comfortable spaces. Adopting smart building technology and improving the appeal of existing facilities will attract and retain top-tier tenants. Smart buildings also have faster lease-up rates, higher sale prices, and may be eligible for incentives like tax rebates and zoning allowances.   

Improve Productivity

A breath of fresh air is more than a catch phrase. Lower carbon dioxide can improve cognition. Being able to connect multiple desperate systems into one single pane of glass view with bi-directional communications, allows for CO2 not only to be monitored, but for automated actions (such as providing more ventilation) to occur. 

Centralized Services via Data and Automation

With the labor shortage most building operators are experiencing, there is a need to have access to expert knowledge without having to hire from a limited pool of  building experts.  Centralized expert services such as energy managers, virtual chief engineers leverage the data provided from connected buildings. They remotely provide deep and meaningful insights on how to optimize the building operations, to save costs, improve comfort, and address air quality. Expect more companies to offer these types of remote expert services on a fee basis and for the most advanced ones to directly integrate their offering  into your service management tools. They become an extension of the facilities team and can dispatch service requests according to your priorities and use data to ensure the corrective actions have occurred.


Want to learn more about what this year’s smart building technology trends could mean for your building? A smart building solutions expert will give you the guidance you need to make smart choices and create a custom solution that makes sense for your property.

Buildings IOT offers the solutions and services  you need to stay on top of smart building technology trends. Contact our team of experts to know how we can help you create buildings for the future.  

 

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