October 2017

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Trends Towards Wearables and Wellbeing

They also provide the potential to help provide a personalised environment suited to the individual wearer. If the wearer’s personal preferences are known then the local environment can be adjusted to the ‘optimal’ temperature, humidity etc. A smart watch can even potentially signal that the wearer is tired and in need of more ventilation.  White Paper

Compiled by:
Name: Henry Lawson
Title: Senior Market Research Consultant –
Energy and Smart Technologies

Approved by:
Name: Krystyna Dawson
Title: Business Manager –BSRIA Worldwide
Market Intelligence

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This is a great example of People Powered Transformation a real head shake of thought for sure, this white paper is well done BSRIA. Special thanks to Lawson and Dawson for all their efforts.

BSRIA is delighted to have launched its White Paper on ‘Trends towards wearables and wellbeing in buildings – a threat or opportunity for the HVAC industry?’. As a leading international industry body concerned with building services, BSRIA has always taken a keen interest in new and emerging technologies and their potential impact on the built environment.

Wearables include everything from smart watches, which can record and transmit a huge range of different types of information about the wearer and his or her health to smart glasses, smart jewellery and even smart clothing. As well as helping the wearer to interact more effectively with his or her environment, wearables open a range of new opportunities for building systems, along with some important challenges.

Krystyna Dawson, Business Manager of BSRIA’s World Market Intelligence Division, commented:

“Traditionally, HVAC management systems have focussed strongly on ensuring energy efficiency, which also reduces costs, while keeping system failures and down-time to a minimum. Increasingly, the comfort of the building’s occupants is recognised as an important goal in itself and as one that contributes to employee productivity and hence to the bottom line.

Wearables have the potential to help with all of these objectives. By tracking the wearer’s movements they can help ensure that heating and cooling is directed to where it is needed and take account of variable factors like body heat.

They also provide the potential to help provide a personalised environment suited to the individual wearer. If the wearer’s personal preferences are known then the local environment can be adjusted to the ‘optimal’ temperature, humidity etc. A smart watch can even potentially signal that the wearer is tired and in need of more ventilation.

This of course raises huge questions. The first is one of privacy and, more specifically, whether it is reasonable to expect wearers to share information about their personal state with a building system, with subsidiary questions about how else the information might be used and how it will be secured against misuse.

The second big question is how far a building system is capable of exploiting this new wealth of information. Providing a ‘personalised’ environment requires an HVAC system that can direct heat, cooling and ventilation in a very granular way and also respond quickly to changes. Failing this, the system might fall back on the majority preference of those in an area of the building.

There are also issues around standards and protocols to enable all of these systems and devices to interact.”

Krystyna concluded:“This new wave of technology throws out huge opportunities for existing suppliers, but also for new suppliers to disrupt the market. It also marks yet another great leap forward for data and analytics one of the vital drivers of building services.”

Just a few quote from white paper below, you need to read this document.

More far-reaching, and certainly more controversially, some wearables can provide a wealth of
information about the physical activities and the physical state of the wearer, including heart rates,
amount of exercise, amount of sleep, state of tiredness or alertness, and consumption, for example,
of alcohol or of illicit substances. This raises the immediate question as to how far it is legal or ethical
to collect and make use of such information at all, and what caveats and restrictions might need to
be applied.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]Wearables can also be of value to individuals fulfilling particular roles, for example:

-    Wearables can help manage and monitor access that maintenance technicians are given to particular areas of a facility in order to carry out repairs and other activities.

-   Where service/maintenance technicians encounter an unfamiliar problem, a suitably designed wearable could be used to guide them remotely. This is likely to be especially helpful for less experienced technicians.

-    Cleaning staff can automatically activate and deactivate lighting, heating or other services as they move around a building.

-    Where staff are working in remote, or inaccessible locations, wearables could help monitor their location, safety and wellbeing.

-    A wearable could also be used to raise the alarm, often more quickly and more surreptitiously than using, for example a mobile phone.

-    More contentiously, staff performing risky or sensitive tasks could potentially be checked for alertness or for levels of alcohol or other substances.


Up until now, in most buildings, the HVAC system has been seen as a ‘background’ feature, a supporting act rather than the main show, which will attract attention only when it clearly goes wrong. Building occupants will often only notice when the system breaks down altogether when, for example, the temperature or the air quality falls outside fairly wide limits of tolerance. Similarly, building managers are likely to query the system only when there are frequent breakdowns, regular complaints, escalating costs, or changes to the laws and regulations that they need to comply with.

With wearables potentially providing building managers, and potentially building occupiers, with a plethora of additional information, people are likely to pay more attention to HVAC. If the system is seen to be more responsive and to improve comfort or energy usage then the effect is likely to be positive. If, however, after deploying wearables and connecting them up there is no improvement, then the initiative could backfire.


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