Meet The Minds – TECHNOLOGY, BUILDING, BIG DATA, IoT…. Wait a second, it is about people – By Martijn Traa


It’s no longer a nicety to have a random set of smart building applications.
A smart environment is one where technology works in tandem with people and continues to evolve in line with their needs. 

12CU-MEET THE MINDS NR 3

Let’s take a look at IoT, a hot topic among the smart building community. The Internet of Things “IoT”, allows employees to connect to each other and to their surroundings easily. As a result, employees’ collaboration and productivity increases. Simultaneously, all facets of the buildings the employees occupy are readied for reconfiguration in order to generate a more relevant and effective workspace. This, in the end then leads to significant cost-savings. Sounds pretty sophisticated and yet perhaps a little “Big Brother is Watching You” ish, we understand.

Of course, the above-described scenario is the ideal. Some people may say that we’re all dreamers, and critiques may hold the opinion that this kind of holistic approach where everything is integrated and connected, which is redefining what we mean with a smart space, is long overdue. The biggest problem, however, is that over the course of prior years the “smart” label has been used loosely and carelessly just to enhance any business narrative and therefore has lost its true meaning.

Many organizations forget to look at “smart” technologies as a complex technology that functions almost like an ecosystem with human functioning at the centre of this intricate system. And so, despite good intentions and generous budgets, the focus when trying to evolve into a smart building becomes too narrow, pressure is put on the organisation to get along on this trend of digitalization and as a result key errors are made around basic implementation which ultimately thwarts success.

SO LET’S TAKE A STEP BACK AND FOCUS

Don’t get me wrong. The concept “smart building” is about technologies and software first and foremost. Yet, the key component to making smart building technologies work together effectively is the ability of technology to understand human behaviour. Almost like a form of empathy. Today, applying a piecemeal, ad hoc approach to smart technology is a common pitfall. The critical element that is missing is an overarching system which is able to make sense of the way that the end-user engages and interacts with the building.

Many organisations deploy truly intelligent systems placed into discreet silos where no one can find them, solely functioning at an infrastructure or even just an operational level. This results in critical data being collected in a singular fashion to resolve singular issues causing them to become redundant. Why? Well because data does not mean anything when it is viewed individually instead of in the context of a whole building “ecosystem”. Think of it as baking a cake, if you take away the eggs and put in solely the milk flour and sugar you will never end up with a nice dessert  And so again, More often than not, the humanistic element that is absolutely essential to creating a truly smart, engaging environments is seen as the lowest priority or in some instances even as an ingrediënt that can just be skipped.

A building is only able to become really smart when all data works in collaboration to make the environment more engaging, employees more productive and work more efficiently. This requires continual two-way interactivity and an overarching system to make sense of the dispersed data input. At the heart of true smart-technology, we find a connected human-centric strategy.

A Smart environment, a human-centric environment

The “smart” arena can come to feel as a hard to cross minefield for time-strapped and cost-conscious businesses trying to implement smart technologies. With the increasing number of organisations that are looking to maximise their office spaces more effectively, to increase efficiencies, and to foster workforce productivity and retention, causes the need to transform business practices. The need for transformation is becoming paramount.

The Smart thinkers can no longer be confined to energy efficiencies, lighting and security; detailed knowledge and strategy is critical to creating a functional smart ecosystem.

A smart environment is one where technology works in tandem with people and continues to evolve in line with their needs. Notably, a human-centric ethos permeates all propositions. Only with this synergy does our own 12CU software have the foundations to cause broader organizational change and the means to affect the way that people work.

By creating a sustainable Smart eco-system you do not only bring greater efficiency and convenience to your working place, but it can even have a great impact on your employee’s overall well-being. The “Smart” will become a central tool in the retention and productivity of talent because people will be working in a human-centric environment supported by technology.

If you could describe a truly connected, smart environment as a sum of parts, making the initially described vision work in practice involves addressing the challenge of integrating all elements into one cohesive, single software platform. Drawing and integrating information from a variety of Big Data sources, while making sure stringent security controls are in place, requires a scalable underlying architecture that is agile and ready to adapt to the changing behaviours of human beings.

The solution to meeting these growing demands is found in software solutions such as our own. Organisations that want to take control of their real estate, while supporting their connected employees, and attracting and retaining the best talent, need to have holistic smart technologies and strategies in place for their buildings. It’s no longer a nicety to have a random set of smart building applications. A sustainable, human-centric It has become a necessity in today’s business world.

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