Intelligent Building eBook 2022 - Where are we now?
In collaboration with Intelligent Building Europe, IFSEC Global hears from experts in smart buildings, to better understand where the market is in 2022.
Intelligent Buildings in 2022 - Where are we now?
Exploring the role of connected security systems in creating more efficient, safe and secure workplaces
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Intelligent Building Europe connects designers of smart buildings with those who operate them. Taking place in May each year at London's ExCeL, IBE is also co-located with four other events - IFSEC International, FIREX, Facilities Show and Safety & Health Expo - allowing you to connect with other key communities across security, fire safety, facilities management and health & safety. Network with thousands of peers and likeminded professionals at Intelligent Building Europe.
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Why smarter buildings are only becoming more important for the post-COVID era
And their ability to reduce operational costs while complying with sustainability measures
With more of us moving towards ‘hybrid working’, smart building solutions are set to become increasingly important for managing office space effectively, reducing operational costs and complying with sustainability measures. As Chris Price reported in May 2021.
Inevitably the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of change. According to data from the Office of National Statistics, prior to COVID-19 only around 5% of the workforce worked mainly from home. Furthermore, research from CIPD shows that 65% of employers either did not offer regular working from at home or offered it to less than 10% of their workforce.
However, this is set to change with many people now looking to move to ‘hybrid working’ in the post-pandemic era, balancing their time between working from home and travelling into the office. For many employers this requires not only a cultural shift, but also a physical shift as businesses look to re-assess their office requirements. In a recent survey conducted by the BBC, 43 out of 50 firms questioned said they would embrace a mix of home and office working.
Danny Harmer, Chief People Officer at insurance giant Aviva – which has 16,000 UK workers – said 95% of its workers would like to be able to spend some of their time working flexibly and remotely in different locations, while recruitment firm Adecco, which has 34,000 workers, said about four-fifths of its staff now work remotely.
But how do businesses ensure they are able to utilise their office space effectively as well as maintaining physical security with people leaving and entering the building at potentially all hours of the day? One way is with the latest smart – or intelligent – building technology. Not only can this ensure firms are managing their fixed assets effectively but can also potentially help to reduce environmental impact and even the potential spread of viruses like COVID-19.
One company which offers an AI-based video analytics solution to make buildings smarter is Ipsotek. Its solution allows someone managing a commercial building to link their access control system with facial recognition technology for identification purposes, as well as to ensure that social distancing measures are adhered to.
“Your face is your passport,” explains Chris Bishop, Ipsotek’s Sales Director APAC and Marketing Director. “With facial recognition you almost do away with the need for access cards which also increases your security level.”
However, Bishop admits that facial recognition needs to be used ‘appropriately’ without breaching human rights and that the technology isn’t completely foolproof. “There are some companies which claim they can accurately detect a face with a facemask on and even with sunglasses, but I would say they are not being honest with everyone else.”
Like Ipsotek, Videx Security also focuses on offering smart building solutions. According to James Gray, Videx’s National Sales Manager, the Newcastle-based company has seen a massive increase in interest in contactless access technology, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic. It has recently introduced a solution called the WS4, which enables businesses to control up to 20 entrances locally or remotely from anywhere via a tablet, PC or even a mobile phone app.
“Whereas before you would have to send an engineer to the site to add key fobs manually, now access can be controlled remotely,” explains Gray. For the person entering the building the advantage is that they can use their own phone, while for the company it means that access can be granted ‘on the fly’ and can be time-limited.
According to research and consultancy firm Omdia, four out of 10 office workers want faster and more convenient building access via smartphone. It also predicts that worldwide sales of IP-enabled controllers are set to increase 12% annually over the next four years. At the same time, we are also seeing an increasing demand among employers to better understand building usage (often from a remote location), as well as the need to reconfigure access as we enter a phase when COVID restrictions are being lifted.
Says Gareth Robinson, Access Control Product Manager at specialist intercom company 2N: “These converging trends point the way to intelligent contactless access to buildings. Changing access priorities are being addressed through breakthroughs such as next-generation, Bluetooth-based mobile access technologies including 2N’s WaveKey.” 2N claims this mobile access technology can unlock a door in 0.3 seconds, twice as fast as an RFID card.
Undoubtedly for larger businesses, access control solutions are becoming increasingly important as employers look to manage valuable office space more efficiently as we move towards hybrid working in the post-pandemic era.
“Historically we’ve always had a hot desking solution with hot lockers as a way of maximising desk occupancy and minimising costs,” says James Vause, Senior Facilities Manager, EMEA, Global Support, Informa Group Plc which publishes IFSEC Global. “Whereas pre-COVID we probably had between 1.2 to 1.4 people per desk, post-COVID we’re expecting people to spend 50% of their time at home and 50% in the office. On that basis, we’ve increased our ratios to two colleagues per desk,” explains Vause.
Informa has also invested in an app-based desk booking system called KAHU which allows employees to book one desk a day, up to five days in advance (alternatively they can book in on the screen when they arrive at the building). When they arrive for work, staff simply swipe in at the front-desk kiosk with their RFID-enabled smart passes.
The location of their desk is them shown on a display and a lift sent down that takes them to the correct floor without them having to press a button at any point. “From a COVID point of view, it’s quite safe because there are no touch points. The software also allows us to only make desks available that are correctly distanced from one another,” adds Vause.
Nor is COVID compliance the only advantage of the desk booking system. It can also help with reducing costs and planning space more effectively. Power to the desks is only switched on when the employees check in, thereby ensuring maximum energy efficiency. Furthermore, it also allows Informa to monitor desk occupancy at its two main London sites: 240 Blackfriars Road and the nearby Blue Fin Building in Southwark more accurately.
“By effectively forcing people to book desks we are able to get real time data from the system for the first time,” explains Informa’s James Vause. “This means if one of the departments says they need more desk space, we are able to identify how they could use it more creatively – for example by encouraging greater use on quieter days, such as Monday and Friday.”
In addition to booking desks, it’s also possible for staff to use the KAHU app or Office 365 to book various sized meeting rooms if required with bookings synched automatically to their Microsoft Outlook calendar. Like the desks, the meeting room’s power, along with its heating, lighting and AV systems are only switched on when in use.
However, once occupied, the rooms can be controlled using an AMX tablet screen on each meeting room table. Within the buildings, PIR ensure that lights only come when movement is detected while the blinds automatically adjust depending on the time of day and amount of sunlight detected. The days of people working 9-5 five days a week are over. If businesses want to ensure they use their office space effectively in the post-pandemic era, they need to look towards smart building solutions that provide higher levels of security, greater access control and maximise energy savings.
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Healthy buildings are now a priority. So, what role will security systems play?
A viewpoint from installer and integrator, Chubb Fire & Security
With the disruption caused by the coronavirus, Chubb Fire & Security’s Customer Solutions and Innovation Director, Frédéric Peyrot, believes that ‘healthy buildings’ are set to become the priority for facilities and building management staff. We find out the key role security systems will play in this new approach.
What is Chubb’s perception of healthy buildings?
Our role at Chubb has always been to keep people and buildings safe. The pandemic led us to developing a new programme of services focused on simultaneously maintaining the health and security of a building and its people. It was essential for us to respond quickly to the health crisis, yet remain close to our customers to understand their specific challenges and needs across a variety of sectors. Businesses of all kinds have had to adapt their environment to a new way of working. Our services support our customers’ priorities of keeping people safe, simplifying internal processes, and generating more value from security solutions. Access control solutions, remote services and increasing use of video analytics all support this strategy.
What was the impact of the coronavirus on Chubb and its customers in 2020?
At Chubb, we quickly adapted and despite many buildings being empty, security continues to be a crucial factor in ensuring business continuity. Facility managers and other decision-makers have been increasingly interested in remote service capabilities, allowing them to maintain their usual high standards of security while limiting contact. Solutions like facial recognition or touchless access control, previously considered niche in many offices and other buildings, are becoming necessary operational tools for businesses to keep employees and assets safe.
We also committed to investing in training and protection for our own field employees to guarantee business continuity for our customers, while ensuring their personal safety. This is particularly important for our essential technicians who operate systems in high-risk environments, like care homes and hospitals.
What are some of the key security considerations for customers during times of disruption?
The shift to home working or at least flexible working has added a new layer of complexity when it comes to building an effective security management system. Restrictions imposed by governments across the globe have meant that office buildings and other workplaces must remain virtually empty but having so few people inside can have negative implications for the safety of company assets. Not having a clear idea of the number of employees on site also poses the question of how to adapt security resources quickly and, for our customers, how to approach budgeting appropriately given the changing landscape.
From a threat prevention perspective, access control solutions allow facility managers to maintain a small number of onsite guards while still being able to monitor access throughout the building and at key checkpoints. These have the added benefit of limiting contact when employees and other third-party suppliers or service providers need to enter the building for essential reasons.
How can a security company like Chubb contribute to the reduction in disease spread and therefore business disruption?
Chubb provides solutions that are vital to keeping building occupants protected, helping to reduce the spread of disease. We offer a wide range of remote services, including the maintenance of key systems, to maintain a business’ responsiveness and safety. Remote video guarding has also grown in importance throughout the pandemic to ease the cost of onsite guards and maintain 24/7 security.
What are your expectations for 2021 and the development of healthy buildings as a concept?
In the long term, we expect that businesses will look to improve the health of buildings using smarter technologies to keep employees and assets safe. The past 10 years has seen a focus on “green buildings” and “smart buildings” but, given the disruption caused by the virus and the ways it has changed our approach to working and living, we will likely see decision-makers adding or prioritising “healthy buildings” in order to build trust with employees, visitors and other stakeholders.
In 2021, the “new normal” will require businesses to manage buildings differently to balance employee wellbeing with reducing costs to offset the ongoing economic impact of COVID-19. The fire and security industries will need to continue to invest in innovative, cost-effective solutions that prioritise employee and other personnel’s health, and enable businesses to cope with changing restrictions and working practices.
Intelligent Building Europe - Join the community!
Intelligent Building Europe returned in 2022 from 17-19 May at London's ExCeL, with the immersive smart building experience feature making a return. Find out more about the show...
Intelligent Building Europe (IBE) takes place each year at ExCeL London in May. IBE's intelligent building feature showcases a smart building environment in operation, with experts on hand to speak to over the three days...
As the meeting point for anyone involved in making buildings smarter, more efficient and sustainable, Intelligent Building Europe is your chance to explore ground-breaking technologies coming to market and hear from industry thought leaders.
Visitors can take a walking tour of a full-size replica smart office space created in partnership with Master Systems Integrators Vanti. Using sensors and smart building systems, real-time, real-life data will enable visitors to interact with the feature and understand how everything works. 2022's highlights included a new security element, alongside both commercial and residential options.
Immerse yourself in a unique, fully-equipped, life-size smart building environment and see how the most innovative and interactive technology can bring together facilities management, security, fire safety and wellbeing in one place.
From new developments to refurb and retrofit, experience each piece of technology and find out what they mean for the smart buildings and workforce of today and tomorrow. Experts will also be on hand to help answer your burning questions.
BIM: Why is it important for the security sector?
Why security tech and devices need to be properly considered early on in the Building Information Management process
Perceived to be in its relative infancy a few years ago, Building Information Modelling (BIM) is becoming more integral to the construction process for many medium to large buildings throughout Europe. Here, we speak with Marc Ameryckx, BIM Manager, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEIA, to find out why security tech and devices need to be properly considered early on in specification and why the industry needs to enhance its understanding of the BIM process.
“Years ago, dedicated BIM specialists didn’t exist in the market and security industry. Now, all construction stakeholders can’t ignore it, which means everyone from architects and specifiers, through to security and facilities managers and manufacturers also need to get on board with the process,” explains Marc Ameryckx, EMEIA BIM Manager at ASSA ABLOY.
Very much described as a workflow process, Building Information Modelling – or BIM, as it known – continues to evolve and has changed significantly in the past five years. Education is therefore key for stakeholders to ensure they reap the rewards of a process which values and utilises data above all else.
ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions believes that architects and specifiers in particular will be required to embrace the workflow as it becomes a necessity in the construction world. As Marc highlights, many governments are now requiring a BIM process to be used in public construction projects to ensure buildings are futureproofed – the Netherlands being a prime example. Even private contractors are realising the benefits, as it is believed to significantly reduce delays and errors due to the vast amounts of information being collated and recorded into one, easily accessible centralised platform.
So, what is BIM?
Marc explains: “The important thing to understand is that it’s not just software, but rather a process or workflow. The 3D renderings so often associated with BIM aren’t just about the aesthetics – it’s the data behind the images that are more important. All the products and materials used within the construction process should be included, with as much high quality data as possible assigned to them.”
So, in essence, the process creates and manages information on a building – starting at design, all the way through to occupation – across its lifecycle, with those involved updating the model as new products, devices or materials are implemented. As a consequence, all of the building’s properties and data is available through a centralised digital source with up-to-date, accurate information.
“All stakeholders then have access to this centralised source, which ultimately helps to minimise design and engineering errors,” continues Marc. “Effective BIM helps eliminate mistakes before they happen, or allows you to identify them as early as possible – the earlier you solve these problems, the less they cost.”
“Security consultants may also be required to play their part in the future. Providing expert advice and insight, with a good understanding of BIM and its requirements, will be more important than ever to ensure customer projects are futureproofed.”
Where does security fit in to the BIM process?
There are several reasons why security and facilities professionals need to become engaged with the workflow, argues Marc. However, he also highlighted the need for architects and specifiers involved early on in the design and construction process to understand the importance of factoring in security devices and systems to BIM.
“There is an education piece required for architects and engineering officers, who are very often not aware of the complexity of doors and security solutions. While they may focus on other building systems such as HVAC, this is because there is a fear of the unknown and they don’t always ask enough questions.
“As security solutions have developed and become more sophisticated, so has their impact on the overall building environment. If doors, entrances and access control solutions don’t have the features required by the building manager from the outset, it can become a real challenge to implement this at a later stage. Security systems are crucial components within buildings, and should be factored in from as early as possible.”
ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions specialised regional BIM departments are therefore often required to provide expert support, to ensure architects and engineers understand what impact security solutions may have on the BIM process. Openings Studio, the company’s own cloud-based software, is designed to integrate with a project’s design software to create and visualise openings for door, frame and access hardware specifications, while there is also a wide ranging selection of ‘BIM-ready door opening solutions’ with data ready to download from ASSA ABLOY’s website.
Security consultants may also be required to play their part in the future. Providing expert advice and insight, with a good understanding of BIM and its requirements, will be more important than ever to ensure customer projects are futureproofed.
And, the benefits for security and facilities end-users are easy to see, believes Marc. “As long as good quality data is put in at the start of the BIM process, there are obvious long-term benefits for those maintaining and controlling the building once occupation has started. The more data you have on the security products and solutions you have, the better you can maintain your building and act when needed. Security managers should be pushing BIM workflows and data quality, so they can use the ‘as built’ model in their assessments and understand the systems that have been selected.
“If specifiers aren’t thinking about the security devices in the first place, this data won’t be available for future use for maintenance or consultation if something goes wrong. Rather than having lots of documents stored in different places – many of which will likely get lost or be misplaced – a centralised, easily accessible BIM system should have all the data available that is required.”
Where does the future lie for BIM?
Marc has worked at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions for 15 years now, with the last six focusing on BIM, and he was quick to point out the standards and tech is evolving continuously. Quality data is ultimately the most important factor in the process, so there is likely to only be more data inputs into the modelling, enabling greater control over the building during design, construction and maintenance stages.
“We’re also beginning to see the development of ‘digital twins’. This is where users can create a digital twin of a building to simulate different situatons in advance to find out what may happen if systems are changed. For instance, security managers could assess the impact of implementing an upgraded access control solution, reducing the risk of unforeseen complications. Again, this ultimately relies upon high quality, accessible data.”
Making smart decisions about smart buildings
Insight from master systems integrator, Vanti, on the importance of educating decision makers
Mike Brooman, CEO of Master Systems Integrator, Vanti, discusses the importance of educating decision makers about the process behind the creation of smart buildings and how Memoori’s 'Developers Smart Building Project Canvas' can help those experiencing them for the first time.
Smart buildings are no longer a new concept. Yet, the merits of them, their best uses and the most appropriate way in which to deliver them, is still debated intensely. What is for sure however, is that they will play an increasingly important role in the future of our cities and property landscapes around the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for reformed and considered thinking about smart buildings, how they should look in the future, and how we can use technology within different environments to create spaces which bring added value to those who own them, use them, mange them and visit them.
As a Master Systems Integrator, we are undoubtedly seeing an increase in enquiries asking for our help in creating and delivering best in class buildings which bring various benefits to different sectors.
Benefits of smart buildings
The case for smart buildings is clear. A new report released by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), suggests up to 40% of the global population is “highly vulnerable” to the impacts of climate change. The impact of new developments, ongoing regeneration, and the way we use buildings needs to be urgently addressed to help reverse the increasingly distressing climate emergency.
Research from Deloitte concluded that the building and construction sector has had a huge impact on greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for approximately 40% of global GHG emissions via the materials used as well as the heating, cooling, and lighting of buildings and infrastructure.
By utilising data recorded by smart tech, we can identify ways in which to create efficient spaces, as well as save energy and be more environmentally friendly in the ongoing management of a building.
Moreover, the benefits of smart spaces are not purely environmental. Using technology within a building can also help create a personalised and optimised user experience.
They also help us access and analyse data in real time, meaning we can constantly adapt our environments to encourage best performance, where that is spotting areas of improvement to maximise energy efficiency, adapting working models to boost productivity, or offering the best experience to your guests.
An optional extra?
In 2022, technology shouldn’t simply be viewed as an optional extra for buildings, but an integral consideration in the design, infrastructure and outlining vision of any new build creation or retrofit project which aims to bring an older building in line with or beyond modern standards.
With technology around smart buildings advancing at a rapid rate, developers, facilities managers, and landlords face difficult decisions. New technologies can often feel alien to even the most experienced property professionals, especially when embarking on devising and delivering these projects for the first time.
We often work with clients who either lack understanding or, due to poor planning, don’t have a clear vision of what they want to achieve. This often sets a field for bad bowling and creates problems and unexpected challenges further down the road.
We also encounter many within businesses within the industry who have developed false expectation for what a smart building is, what is should be and how the delivery process should work.
The importance of education
To help maximise the potential of a project, create leading environments and save time and money, it’s vital that those within the building, property and construction industries, are educated on what the process should look like and the challenges they can expect to face.
Alongside LMG, Vanti have helped contribute to Memoori’s Developers Smart Building Project Canvas, a free tool which has been released under the Creative Commons license which aims to help guide decision makers through the process of creating a Smart Building.
The tool was created after we highlighted the same shared experience when Vanti was providing design-input on projects and Memoori was conducting global research. The common problem included clients wanting to create a smart building without understanding what they want the technology to achieve, or the practical steps necessary for success.
The canvas features a list of questions and considerations to address at each stage of the project, to enable a clear vision, ensuring you can budget responsibility and effectively deliver the best space possible.
Considering what problems need solving, what experience you want to deliver, the value it could bring to your business and what goals you want to achieve at the outset can help save a domino effect of obstacles which come to light further down the line.
While every scheme will encounter unique challenges, following the canvas ensures those tasked with developing smart buildings have an idea of what to expect, from initial concepts through to delivery, ongoing management and future proofing.
By improving education around technology around technology and the smart landscape, we can create buildings which excel environmentally and physically.
The headline act at IBE
Collaborating with several partners, Vanti brought back its popular full-size replica of the smart office space as a feature for the the Intelligent Building Europe event in May 2022! The annual show runs alongside IFSEC International, FIREX International, Safety & Health Expo and Facilities Show at London's ExCeL.
Find out more about IBE and get your free ticket to all the events, here.