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The New Office Environments
Smart building technologies becoming a key part of tenant efforts to recruits and retain employees.
Do the lights turn off in the office when you leave? Do the blinds automatically lower when the sun shines through?
Proptech, or property technology, advancements are making it increasingly easy for landlords to integrate new automated amenities and services into buildings.
the ability to control lighting, heating and cooling or even oxygen
levels in the office, building managers are able to meet the rising
demand from tenants for better, healthier and more customizable
using the Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as security cameras or
air conditioning that would traditionally run independently – all with
their own switch or control – can now communicate with one another to
ensure the optimal work environment.
A custom workplace
smart building allows its tenants to control and connect everything in
their office space via the internet. From adjusting lighting hues to
booking parking spaces, users have the ability to make a workspace
their own by controlling the office settings through an app on their
a huge trend to adopt technology in buildings in order to improve the
tenant experience, improve the efficiency of the office and make it a
more enjoyable place,” says Derrick Hanson, president and co-founder of
The Attain Group, a local telecommunications company specializing in
a connected office allows landlords to track usage and conserve
resources such as water or energy, which can be a significant selling
point when attracting new tenants to the building.
spaces appeal to businesses and organizations as they give employees
the benefit of online collaboration while also providing them a
comfortable, adjustable space to work. They can book board rooms
online, monitor who is in the office and close the blinds when it’s
sunny – all from their smartphones.
top talent is also becoming synonymous with providing these fully
connected work environments. A company located in a building with fast
internet, low energy consumption and customizable workstations can help
attract and retain workers, says Hanson.
are able to work more comfortably because they have control over where
they sit, how hot it is and how much air is flowing, which all leads to
better work and better health, says Ron Zimmer, the president of The
Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA).
know that the sick days will go down, absenteeism will go down, the
productivity will go up and complaints to facility managers will go
down,” says Zimmer. “You will have happier, healthier, more content
staff and customers. The value proposition on that is huge.”
Landlords also benefit from the ability to grow and redesign the office space because it is not tied down by cables and plug-ins. With nearly every room connected through the internet, new tenants will have the flexibility to move people and workstations around freely, expanding the function of a traditional office.
are more than 300 systems and sensors that can be connected in a smart
building, offering landlords the ability to install everything from
smart elevators to sensor-controlled washrooms. Connecting an entire
building on one system provides unparalleled customization and control
over the space, giving the building an edge on the market and happier
truly one way as a landlord that you can win,” says Zimmer. “It’s not
just about the energy savings, it’s about the people in the building,
and technology can play a huge part in that.”
What's in demand?
smart building technologies continue to make their way to market, there
has been a significant up-tick in requests for certain gadgets,
features and apps.
a landlord perspective we want to be able to attract and position our
assets as being able to deliver on the services that the tenants are
looking for,” says Thano Lambrinos, vice-president of smart building
technologies at QuadReal Property Group. “What we’re trying to focus on
is ways to digitize and streamline these processes, and that’s where we
feel we get a pretty high return on investment.”
Some of the most common requests from tenants are:
engagement applications: Apps that connect tenants to all of the
amenities in a building are rising in popularity. These can help build
relationships and communication between employees, tenants and
landlords, letting everyone know what’s happening within the building.
control and parking: Tenants are looking for ease of accessibility at
the office. Having smart tech parking and seamless scan-in entry can
help mitigate any friction when it comes to arriving to work.
order processing: Having a smart system that allows tenants to book
services, place work orders or communicate directly with the landlord
is a growing request. Simplifying the system on a digital platform
makes it much easier for tenants and landlords to keep track of
This article originally appeared in BOMA Ottawa’s Commercial Space Directory 2019/2020 and in the Ottawa Business Journal. Reprinted with permission from Great River Media Inc.; all rights reserved.
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