Everything You Need to Know About the New PropTech for Smart Buildings

Most commercial real estate (CRE) companies still use manual methods to collect and confirm the data they rely on to manage building temperature, layout, and maintenance schedules.

Until recently, the promise of smart office technology was only achievable for large real estate companies with budgets of many millions of dollars. The Internet of Things (in which a network of physical devices, appliances and software connect and exchange data to support automation) has been prohibitively complex and expensive for most building owners and facility managers. Installing sensors to collect data was costly and time consuming.

Next-Generation PropTech Makes Smart Offices Accessible for All

Today, PropTech solutions embedded with smart, wireless sensors are radically changing the smart office industry. Affordable, low-maintenance PropTech means real estate companies of all sizes can also experience the benefits of IoT - cost savings, increased margins, and improved tenant relationships.

Smart building technology investments typically pay for themselves within one or two years by delivering energy savings and maintenance efficiencies.

Jones Lang LaSalle 

In addition to cost savings, innovative real estate companies can offer tenants many advanced smart office features and services that can command premium prices. In fact, as tenants come to expect a smart experience, buildings without them may have difficulty filling space and may need to lower their prices.

Let’s take a closer look at the quantitative and qualitative benefits the new generation of PropTech can provide for smart offices.

Smart Building Maintenance

  • Avoid unplanned and costly repairs
  • Keep inventory stocked
  • Optimize cleaning service

If building facilities managers know when critical equipment such as an HVAC system is about to fail, they can reduce unplanned and costly repairs, not to mention avoiding downtime and complaints from tenants. Smart sensors can measure and report on equipment usage, overheating, or unexpected changes so you can get ahead of problems before they happen.

In addition to behind-the-scenes maintenance improvements, smart buildings are also integrating sensors into services that are customer-facing. For example, sensors in supply rooms can let facilities managers know when inventory needs to be stocked. Sensors in office buildings allow smart cleaning services to be optimized and confirmed.

Energy management with smart sensors

  • Adjust lighting and temperatures
  • Decrease building operation costs
  • Support sustainability programs

With energy representing 19% of the total expenditures for the typical building, proactive, data-driven energy management can make a big impact on the bottom line. Smart sensors decrease building operation costs by automatically adjusting lighting, ventilation and temperatures based on the number of occupants and building usage patterns. According to Energy Star, even a 10% decrease in energy use can lead to a 1.5% increase in net operating income, increasing a 200k square foot asset value by $500k. Simply by varying ventilation levels based on the number of people in a room, occupancy detection sensors can decrease building operation costs by up to 18%.

In addition to cost savings, CREs and building managers look to sensor-driven smart office technology to meet increasingly strict energy regulations as part of a comprehensive sustainability program.

Occupancy Sensors for Office Space Utilization

  • Configure layout based on occupancy and footpath sensing
  • Plan office moves, remote work and hot desking strategies
  • Book meeting rooms with push-button sensors

There’s 12 billion square feet of commercial real estate in the US, but only 67% is utilized. Changing work patterns are driving many companies to reevaluate their real estate footprint and adapt to lower demand for physical space.

Occupancy sensors can detect the locations, count, and movement of building occupants with extreme precision, while maintaining individual privacy. Based on the data, smart CRE companies can reconfigure building layout or plan for changing demand. They can also help tenants make data-based decisions to adjust office layout, add or subtract meeting rooms, or implement hotdesking strategies.

In a smart retail environment, occupancy sensors can track footpaths, allowing store managers to adjust product placement, plan staff support for peak times, and make inventory adjustments to match customer demand.

Temperature Sensors for Tenant Well-being

  • Keep tenants comfortable and healthy
  • Reduce complaints and tenant turnover
  • Improve workplace productivity

Keeping tenants comfortable is a top goal for smart buildings. Companies based in smart buildings find that workers are happier, healthier and more productive. CRE companies also benefit from fewer tenant complaints and less tenant turnover.

Disruptive Technologies’ customers use sensors to track temperature needs based on occupancy, time of day and other variables. They report dramatic differences in their ability to meet customer expectations.

It's Easy to Get Going Quickly

We are excited to partner with innovative real estate companies and PropTech companies to make the promise of smart buildings a reality.

One hundred lightweight mini-sensors can be installed in just one hour. Wireless smart office technology with low power and long-range capabilities can be used even in large buildings, without needing to tap into the tenant’s infrastructure. Unprecedented battery life allows you to just “stick and forget” without the need for ongoing maintenance.

With a streamlined technology, stack data from smart sensors can be easily integrated into building management systems and analytics software, so you can turn those insights into immediate action for a truly smart office environment.

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