How tracking building environments makes for improved facility management

And a better experience for tenants

August 01, 2019

Companies are embracing new tracking technologies that help inform their decisions about rented and owned space. These tracking tools are enabling alignment of occupant priorities with building operators. The outcome? A better tenant experience.

“Clients tell us that cost saving and operational efficiencies continue to be a priority for occupiers,” says Susheel Koul, Managing Director, Integrated Facilities Management, Asia Pacific, JLL. “We talk to managers of offices and manufacturing facilities around the region — they want to know about new tools in real estate and how they help companies save money and make their workspaces more efficient.”

Cue “smart buildings” — a world where data reveals trends such as employee work patterns, meeting room utilization, air quality, temperature and more. Smart buildings help facility and asset managers identify faults, optimize the performance of building systems and reduce costs. Here are five reasons to invest:

1. Improve people productivity

Comfort factors and aspects of nature have a direct impact on work performance. “Indoor environmental factors like temperature, air quality and lighting are critical to occupant comfort and productivity,” says Koul. “If occupiers know conditions in real time, they can be adjusted to suit, significantly increasing employees’ cognitive function and their overall ability to deliver.”

2. Become more energy-efficient

Energy and carbon emission reduction remains high on corporate agendas. Peter Hilderson, Head of Engineering and Operations Solutions at JLL suggests “that tracking energy output via smart building technology helps companies achieve industry certifications such as LEEDs and Green Star.” Armed with this data, corporates improve their long-term social and environmental value, as well as their reputations.

3. Increase safety and security

Closed circuit television has been widely adopted as a surveillance tool since its inception in 1942 to monitor activity and deter crime. “Manual monitoring of the system has always been a time-consuming and costly task but incorporating sensor technologies can provide an instant alert to highlight issues”, according to Hilderson. And managers of high-security facilities and unmanned buildings regularly report the benefits of tracking tools to watch those buildings.

4. Minimize impact of disruption and reduce premiums

Inefficient or broken building systems impact everyone. Overflowing water from a cooler or a broken air conditioning unit are significant hazards — discomfort is one thing, cost is another, not only to the building owners but those that rent floor space who may face rising premiums as a consequence. Equipping buildings with tracking sensors could potentially reduce costly insurance premiums rather like the way car insurers reduce premiums for drivers who fit sensors to monitor driving performance.

5. Add value

A smart building is a valuable asset to an investor or owner. Data points throughout a building or across a building portfolio provide powerful information about how it is performing as a single entity and how it compares to others. Armed with this data and knowledge, more informed decisions can be made to improve the real estate performance with adjustments that can: expose building inefficiencies, enhance the human experience, and maximize rentals as a result.

Embracing monitoring tools

Smart building technologies provide insights that were not readily available to property and facility managers previously. “You now get a powerful combination of property know-how and real-time data that informs decision-making through the adaptation of tracking tools” adds Hilderson. “Early detection enables faster correction, and that’s good for business”.