The first concern is around public health: not everyone will take the vaccine, and no vaccine is 100 per cent efficacious. Therefore, the risk of infection – although considerably reduced – will remain for some time to come, along with people’s fear of becoming ill. Accordingly, the preventative measures we are now used to – social distancing, equipment and touchpoint sanitisation, and air quality control – must remain in place.  

The second point is about building utilisation. While adequate room is essential for social distancing, many larger tenants are increasingly concerned with optimising office occupancy, ensuring that they are not paying for unemployed space.

Data-driven decisions and expanded functionality

You can address these issues by using suitable IoT-based smart building technology. Building management systems that intelligently control heating, lighting and ventilation for energy efficiency and occupier comfort are well understood but, provided your installation infrastructure is sufficiently flexible, you can also add innovative sensors, apps and data analysis to handle these new, post-COVID realities.

Firstly, to ensure that you manage this increasingly complex environment effectively and efficiently, you should make decisions based on data rather than estimates or guesswork. A ‘building health’ assessment can identify all potential high touch surfaces or areas, while computational modelling and simulations can quickly identify aspects such as poor ventilation. This allows you to recognise potential areas of risk and optimise the building’s operation and management accordingly. 

Air pollution, CO2, temperature, and relative humidity monitoring, together with live occupancy data, can be integrated to manage space usage and implement demand-controlled HVAC and lighting systems to keep the environment comfortable for everyone, while providing the healthiest atmosphere possible.  

Safety can be enhanced by UVC air purification systems either using standalone units or as part of an HVAC system. Sensor data can help to optimise and validate cleaning routines, monitor cleaning crew movements, and identify areas that may have been missed or schedule high traffic and high-density areas for regular deep cleaning.

With great uncertainty over how offices will be re-occupied in the coming weeks and months, real-time occupancy monitoring and analytics will now be more appropriate than ever. As employees move back into offices post COVID-19, ensuring breakout spaces and office pods are being used effectively and safely is critical. Monitoring space usage allows businesses to understand whether their employees have access to the right amount of safe space, enabling them to make any necessary changes and optimise space usage efficiency.

A practical and futureproof approach

Expanding your smart infrastructure to provide this wider functionality can bring challenges. You will need to install and support a larger number of sensors, and provide a common, device-agnostic environment in which diverse sensor types can be integrated.

The Intelligent Grid from IGS is a flexible, modular, and futureproof solution that can be assembled by non-technical personnel and easily scaled or dismantled and redeployed as circumstances change. It provides mounting points for all sensor types, as well as cameras, lighting, displays and other devices, and delivers power at a safe, low voltage.

Wireless network connectivity is provided to a local edge server which ensures secure, real time responses for monitoring and control functions. This is backed by a Cloud-based artificial intelligence resource that can collect and aggregate large volumes of sensor data to provide sophisticated control functions or recommendations for strategic improvements.

Taking steps like these to ensure hygiene and safety, and manage occupancy, while improving staff wellbeing, will also benefit your business: a comfortable, demonstrably safe environment leads to higher morale and better productivity. The buildings of tomorrow are investing in data-driven assets, leading to a healthier and more profitable experience for everyone.

Visit our Technology page to learn more how our Intelligent Grid product facilitates IoT-enabled lighting and smart sensors.

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