June 2016
Interview

AutomatedBuildings.com

Daikin Integration to BACnet, Modbus, KNX, WIFI, Mobile Apps
Intesis

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Erica EatonEMAIL INTERVIEWErica Eaton and Ken Sinclair

Erica Eaton, Director Business Development, Comfy

Erica Eaton is Director of Business Development at Comfy, the only occupant-facing, smart building software that delivers personalized comfort and productivity in the workplace.  She is responsible for driving partnerships and strategic direction, focusing on the value Comfy can deliver across the commercial real estate market.  Prior to joining Comfy, Erica spent 8 years within Johnson Controls’ Building Efficiency business focused on strategy, innovation and corporate development.



Why care about workplace productivity?

Delivering even a 1% increase in employee productivity dwarfs any cost cutting measure and creates a sustained value for our customers.


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SinclairWhy should building technology providers care about workplace productivity?

EatonAs an industry we’ve historically focused on the benefits we can deliver in helping our customers cut costs.  More efficient light bulbs, variable speed drives and many other efficiency measures have us constantly debating ROI and payback with our customers.  But this scenario is subject to the law of diminishing returns – there’s only so much juice that can be squeezed from energy and  operational budgets. 

By focusing on the highest cost within a building – the people – we can drastically change the conversation with our customers and tap into new avenues of added value.  Delivering even a 1% increase in employee productivity dwarfs any cost cutting measure and creates a sustained value for our customers.

SinclairWhat trends are real estate owners facing that are helping drive this requirement for a better occupant experience?

EatonThe responsibilities of corporate real estate teams are getting tougher and tougher.  Advancements in consumer technology are changing the expectations that people have for their workplaces.  We have an endless array of apps and technologies that deliver on-demand services in our personal lives, so why should our workplaces be any different?  And with millennials now the largest generation in the workforce, we expect these demands for personalization and control to only increase. 

Buildings simply haven't kept up with the increased demands and expectations of today's occupants. Despite the proliferation of intelligent building technologies, we've left the majority of occupants frustrated—everyone's walked into that stuffy conference room with that confusing bank of light switches! We can do better. As an industry, it’s time we focus on the occupant experience and use real estate as a tool to help employers attract and retain a stellar and  productive workforce.

SinclairCan we deliver on these promises today? Or do customers need to invest heavily in new technologies?

EatonThe great news is that building owners can realize many of these values by leveraging their existing infrastructure and technology investments.  By making these technologies more occupant-facing, and curating the level of control and interaction that employees have with them, we can improve productivity and workplace satisfaction. 

SinclairCan the industry prove that intelligent buildings improve productivity?

EatonWe’re seeing more and more proof points of improved productivity that intelligent building tech can deliver.  There’s been longstanding research supporting that better workplace design and occupant control can reduce sick days and improve productivity between 2.7% and 8.6%. And now, as more technology gets deployed we’ll have even more data supporting the comfort/productivity connection.

Technologies that impact the wellness of employees – like indoor air quality, access to natural light and ergonomics – can improve workers’ focus and reduce sick days.  And, more engaged employees are more productive and loyal employees.  So finding ways to empower occupants, provide better connection to their physical environment, and deliver top-notch workplace experiences we can bring tremendous value to our customers.

Here at Comfy we’re excited to report that 70% of our users report being more productive after using Comfy and 83% cite improved workplace satisfaction.  Our customers understand that occupant control is a key factor in creating the best workplace for their employees and the business value that it drives for them.

CatNet SystemsSinclairWhat opportunities do you envision these types of technologies enabling in the future?

EatonWe’re really excited to think about how building technology can better adapt to future work styles.  As real estate portfolios evolve to meet increasing consumer demands and compete with the coffee shop down the street, building technology will be a critical element in offering highly personalized experiences.  A building that understands and can respond to dynamic workplaces needs, and offer new points of engagement – like recommending and reserving a specific open desk based on an employee's preferred temperature, light and auditory environment  – is quickly approaching.

In turn, this activity can provide valuable data to building owners helping them prioritize investment and real estate decisions based on productivity and workplace satisfaction implications maximizing their greatest investment – their people.








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