The Case for Constellating Buildings with Advanced Workplace Sensors

by | Apr 18, 2020 | Opinion | 0 comments

In 2019 Peter Diamandis, founder of XPrize and Fortune’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”, wrote:

Within a decade, we will live in a world where just about anything that can be measured will be measured— all the time. It will not be your knowledge that matters, but rather the questions you ask.

Source: https://www.diamandis.com/blog/sensors-and-iot

When commercial offices are constellated with advanced workplace sensors, every tenancy, building, campus or portfolio can be considered a search engine and more, a predictive search engine.

For example asking both historical and future questions of your portfolio’s search engine and having a result returned in seconds is a power that is simply not possible at the granular detail needed for accurate predictions, without fully constellated properties.

Here’s just some questions that properties constellated with advanced workplace sensors could answer.

  • “Which meeting rooms had less than 50% usage last week?”
  • Which meeting rooms will have less than 50% occupancy for the next 12 months?
  • “Show me all the people that interacted with Simon Richardson in the last 14 days”
  • “Which tenancy has the highest energy usage between 9am and 12pm during it’s winter months”
  • “Which portfolio will see the slowest growth rate in the next 5 years?”

We already know that data is more valuable than oil and that sustainability matters to the value of property portfolios as evidenced in GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) scores

I predict a world where those buildings without sufficient data (or sufficiently valid data) about their environmental operation – and therefore their sustainability and wellness – will not be competing for the top tier tenants and rents and will be relegated to the lower yielding portfolios.

This will either drive these portfolio owners to invest to improve both the performance and the validity of the data from the properties, or divest them if that cost to do so does not financially add up.

The depth and breadth of the data matters.

The best way to collect data width – the number of different metrics being measured; and data depth – the constellation density and subsequent sampling rate ( how often these data points are measured at how many different points) – is to constellate the properties with Advanced Workplace Sensors.

The capabilities of these Advanced Workplace Sensors must be more than just some simple lighting control and tracking – which is where most of these types of walk-detonate lighting solutions position themselves today.

Instead, these wireless Advanced workplace sensors need to collect multiple environmental metrics about indoor air quality, movement, light, particulate matter, sound and more.

Sensing and controlling occupancy and lighting state, whilst also necessary as using the lighting infrastructure to constellate these spaces is sensible – is not special or unique or different – its necessary as a base hygiene performance level. That is, “Yes of course it controls lighting, AND 10 environmental metrics in 1-second increments 24/7/365”

The question, “does it control lighting?” will be moot.

And these sensor constellations need to be collecting this data at a distributed density and sampling rate that makes the data useful – that is actual data, not estimated data.

Estimated data will become faux data when we are used to having everything measured and real data when considering Diamandis’ predictions.

One sticking point with sensor constellations has been the cost to do so with legacy wired systems.

Now wireless advanced workplace sensors solutions with robust, scalable and secure wireless networks – of up to 4 billion devices – with high bandwidth low latency communication capabilities, running cables is no longer a cost factor.

That problem has been solved for some years but commercialisation and adoption of these solution is just now coming to fruition at scale.

Property owners are not only running out of reasons not to upgrade, rather the decisions will drive the sustainability of both the buildings and the entire portfolio’s yield in the next decade and beyond.

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