Planon: Smart buildings at the service of the people


Smart buildings yield considerable returns in the area of efficiency and cost savings. However, the focus above all must be on the benefits for the building’s users. That’s because by creating a work environment that is as comfortable as possible, an organisation can get more out of its employees. Happy employees perform better, which benefits productivity. Moreover, a smart building can contribute to the safety and health (CO2 and humidity control) of its users.

I came upon a good example of the above during my visit to CeBIT. Toshiba has “smart” elevators in their office because it has equipped them with embedded software that is linked to their cloud environment. Thanks to a camera, this cloud is able to measure how many people are waiting for the elevator at a given time and adjust the elevator movement algorithm accordingly based on the data. The result is improved traffic flow during peak times, which eliminates lots of frustration for employees. Using the acquired data, Toshiba is able to compare failure patterns and use this information to reduce the chance that something will break by deploying predictive maintenance.

An additional benefit of collecting data is cost savings, for example, by linking maintenance and cleaning to a building’s actual use. When it appears that a certain wing is hardly used, you can decide to have the space cleaned less frequently. You can also limit the CO2 emissions by conducting an analysis of the energy consumption. The combination of happy employees and sustainability is, in turn, good for the organisation’s appeal, which results in talented employees having more interest in coming to work for the organisation – or to keep working for it…

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