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The future of the smart building: deploying technology to enhance operations and occupant experience

Connected solutions for smart building construction help unlock value opportunities

While smart applications in the built environment have existed for decades, the future lies with establishing connectivity across applications and data to transform buildings into dynamic and efficient high-performance facilities.

Building owners, developers, real estate managers and investors can leverage connected solutions to gather information – from structural integrity to occupant behavior – and implement value-adding improvements.

In fact, according to a piece published by the Center for Real Estate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it is anticipated that buyers and tenants will pay more for smart buildings with personalized occupant experiences: a 8.2% premium in rent and a 23.7% premium in transaction prices.

The global market for smart buildings is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32%, reaching $43 billion by 2022.

Smart Building Market 2018 Global Trends, Market Share, Industry Size, Growth, Opportunities and Forecast to 2023, Reuters.

Use cases for smart building technology

Smart building technology is already being deployed in a variety of settings to improve operational efficiency and enhance occupant safety and experience.

An office worker who is running late pulls into the building garage. The smart parking system identifies him by his license plate, flashes a screen to show the nearest open spot, alerts the elevator system to make available the express car to the 35th floor where his office is. He arrives at his desk right on time.

A hospital administrator implements a geolocation system to help track vital equipment at a touch of a button. Wheelchairs are also equipped with sensors that alert hospital staff if a patient has been sitting unattended for too long. And occupancy sensors in waiting rooms provide real-time information so the hospital can increase staffing when there are a lot of patients.

A convention center employs a facial recognition solution to register tens of thousands of attendees. The system not only helps to expedite entry since attendees no longer have to wait in line to show their IDs or tickets, but it also enhances facility security by alerting the convention operators when the system identifies an unregistered face in the crowd.

A systematic approach to smart building technology deployment

Smart buildings technology deployment is not an easy exercise in plug-and-play. IoT-based solutions require integrating thousands of disparate elements (connected devices, networks and clouds, data analytics, machine learning, mobile applications) with traditional building hardware, and then merging them into a seamless and stable infrastructure.

Due to this complexity, you must take a systematic approach to deployment including:

  • Defining the main objectives of your building enhancement efforts
  • Collaborate with technology teams to ensure design plans reflect business goals
  • Plan and design with the future in mind
  • Choose the technology stack that first your business purpose

Finally, with the enforcement of the General Data Privacy Regulation in 2018 and the California Consumer Privacy Act in 2020, your smart building deployment plan must also address data privacy and information security.

Contact us

Daryl Walcroft

Principal, Capital Projects & Infrastructure Leader, PwC US

Greg Chiasson

Principal, Capital Projects & Infrastructure (Technology, Media and Telecommunications), PwC US

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