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July 2017
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Healthy and Productive Buildings

Digital Blanket enables visibility of building health factors on a real-time basis to its occupants. This includes air quality, temperature, humidity, ventilation, occupancy, noise, security, etc.
Bala Chitoor
Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer, FutureIP Labs


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In a recent event at Realcomm/IBCON, Joseph Allen, Asst. Prof at Harvard and Ken Sinclair of Automated Buildings spoke of Healthy Buildings. Joseph spoke of research at Harvard on factors that impact health and well-being of the occupants and hence their productivity. Joseph spoke of the time we spend indoors and how the indoor environment impact health. He also spoke of the real cost of operating buildings is the health of the employee, and not waste, water and energy.

The 3/30/300 formula states that the cost of a building is $3 towards energy, $30 towards infrastructure and $300 towards the people. But the Intelligent Building industry currently focuses only on the $3 energy and $30 building infrastructure as the main cost factors. Ken spoke of focusing on the $300 equation and the difficulty in quantifying productivity to justify the investment in the $300 equation.  He also spoke of the need for financial modeling. Ken spoke of how productivity measures are not like engineering measures and how the industry is struggling here.

During another panel discussion, the head of Global Workplace Engineering of a large MNC firm mentioned that they had moved away from energy conservation and onto employee benefits. Any technology or solution that addresses employee benefits is justified as it has a big impact on employee well-being and productivity. This is very encouraging.

Hence, Smart Buildings need to focus on the 3/30/300 formula, and the biggest impact will be on the Employee. This includes comfort, health & finally productivity.

Joseph mentioned that Harvard has defined the nine foundations of healthy buildings and how these factors impact the higher order cognitive functions of employees. He spoke how the research established that even a minor improvement in one or more of the building health factors made a dramatic improvement in productivity (strategy, information usage, and crisis response).  Please see http://9foundations.forhealth.org/.

Joseph also mentioned that energy conservation has been at the expense of employee health, that lower ventilation, for example, could lead to lower energy but impacts employee health and hence their productivity.

The financial benefits of a healthy building include employee productivity improvement, employee retention, reduction in health insurance, etc. Joseph mentioned that their research estimated  that the cost of such improvements is in the order of $10 to $40 per person per year while the commercial benefit of health is around $7000 per employee per year without including benefits due to a reduction in absenteeism, sick building symptoms, etc.

Thus while controlling energy is reasonable, creating a healthy building is critical as it impacts productivity. And even then, measuring productivity is difficult. The general remark was that  productivity is difficult to measure and is subjective, not empirical and measurable.

In India, Flamencotech (www.flamencotech.com) have been pioneers in the concept of Healthy Buildings, though without the research knowledge that Joseph and Harvard have defined. Digital Blanket is our offering for Intelligent Buildings.

Control Solutions, Inc Digital Blanket enables an integrated Smart Building with Energy, Safety, Security, Asset, Space, Employee Services and Visitor Services all integrated together.

Digital Blanket enables visibility of building health factors on a real-time basis to its occupants. This includes air quality, temperature, humidity, ventilation, occupancy, noise, security, etc. We also provide crowd tuned comfort management through a bi-directional feed to automatically control temperature and humidity. We publish these health factors to employees in our client buildings on a real-time basis as a portal.

Measuring productivity is very difficult. But we see a great opportunity here. One of our other products, ProHance (www.prohance.net), measures employee productivity with empirical data without being intrusive. This product has a global footprint and great acceptance with proven results.

So, this is where the integration of ProHance into Digital Blanket can bring significant value to Intelligent Buildings. We can now provide a direct correlation between health factors and employee productivity and justify the investments

This combined offering of Smart & Automated leading to the healthier environment to achieve improved employee productivity will be unique to Digital Blanket.

We have launched Digital Blanket in the US market for both Smart Buildings & Smart Retail.  We will be happy to hear from potential partners and clients on how we can help create a smart, healthy and productive building.

http://www.flamencotech.com


About the Author

Bala Chitoor  -  Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer, FutureIP labs
Bala serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for FutureIP group since 2008. He is responsible for Future IP’s strategic initiatives and alliances. He also advises the FutureIP group companies in technology, businesses as well as operational strategies. He provides leadership in sales, product management, business development & M&A. Bala has played several roles including service management, business development, sales, marketing, technology consulting and business unit P&L management in leading companies such as Philips, Microland, SSB, Intel, and IBM. Bala is an Electronics & Communication Engineer by training who chose marketing & strategy as a profession.


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