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December 12, 2019

The impact of smart building technology on smart buildings

This is the third and last of a series about the evolution of systems that today are known as Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS). In this third blog, I will discuss upcoming corporate real estate and facility management trends, the future use of IWMS, the impact of integration between IWMS and smart building technology, and its potential benefits for professionals in the field.

Verdantix report - Strategic Focus: Smart Buildings as a Platform
Verdantix report - Strategic Focus: Smart Buildings as a Platform

Smart buildings promise many benefits for occupants and operators but for owners the question of how to monetize the additional investment remains. This report gives corporate real estate professionals early insight into the emerging trend of smart buildings.

Read more

IWMS 2020

In previous blogs, I dived deeper into the evolution of an IWMS. After two decades of evolution, IWMS solutions are seen as one of the emerging technologies with convincing value for facility optimization (Verdantix: Making every building smarter: When innovation meets reality, 2019). The number of IWMS implementations is still growing and today, IWMS is used by building occupiers, facilities service providers, owners and real estate management companies to centralize and manage real estate and facilities data and realize operational improvements. An IWMS significantly contributes to benefits around efficiency and effectiveness in data management and reporting, space optimization, improvement of maintenance & services performance, and employee engagement & satisfaction.

Specific trends related to corporate real estate and facilities management that influence IWMS include employee wellbeing, co-working, agile workspaces, facilities optimization, sustainability and optimizing performance with technology. From a technological perspective, connectivity, usage of mobile applications, artificial intelligence, digitization, and open platforms are important factors. Following this, professionals in the field of real estate and facilities are focusing on building occupant wellbeing and productivity, agile & sustainable workplace strategies while optimizing space utilization, cost-effectiveness and implementing technology that adds value to daily operations and contributes to a robust foundation technology layer.

Although users of an IWMS still prioritize the traditional management of maintenance, spaces and services, they look for additional value from an IWMS to support trends and developments in their organization. Additional research from Verdantix (Verdantix Green Quadrant Integrated Workplace Management Systems, 2019) shows that vendors respond to and anticipate market requirements and technology trends. In their development, they focus on employee-centric solutions, optimization of user-oriented interfaces, increasing usage of mobile applications, workplace management & space optimization, voice-based interfaces for workplace support, and further integration with smart buildings.

In addition to these functional developments, technological developments around application programming interfaces (API) and smart building technology bring opportunities to create ecosystems where IWMS, smart buildings, and other applications come together.

The next step - Smart infrastructure ecosystems

Research shows other emerging technologies will potentially influence facility optimization (“Tech Roadmap for facilities optimization software”, Verdantix, 2019). From a functional perspective launching emerging technologies that are seen as promising are predictive analytics for facilities operations, real-time space management and Internet of Things (IoT) platform integration. From a technical perspective, it will become easier to integrate with an IWMS. IWMS solutions will “open” their doors and become a platform, based on API. In daily practice, this means that external parties, for example, customers or partners, build their own applications and functionality (apps) on top of their IWMS solution. Users can benefit from this “custom made” functionality that will become available faster, and developing these apps will be more cost-efficient. For organizations, it will become easier to integrate with smart buildings and to build apps that accelerate the interaction between IWMS and smart building technology.

These developments will contribute to the growing number of smart infrastructure ecosystems where infrastructure, buildings, IoT, IWMS and other applications integrate to provide the customer and end-user with their required functionality and real predictive analysis. Planon is already working with partners in this area to integrate smart building technology with our IWMS.

One of these smart building technologies provides key insights into building operations by continuously monitoring systems and identifying faults in the building and its assets, and proactively addressing inefficiencies. Through a standard connection with Planon, all data will be available real-time in the IWMS platform which already contains large amounts of data about real estate, assets, space, contracts, occupants, employees, maintenance, and services by integration with other smart devices. On the IWMS platform, there is a connection with business intelligence tools for analyzing data and presenting information to help managers make informed business decisions. Additional analytics will support in answering questions about what will happen in the future by combining data with rules and machine learning algorithms. To read more about this topic, please download our white paper “Predict the future with analytics” for free.

Building owners, tenants, service providers, financial professionals, and workplace users will benefit from the integration between the IWMS platform and smart building technology. Making the right decisions based on organization-specific business preferences, avoiding overruns and depletion of budgets, and dispatching high priority actions immediately to field engineers are just a few potential benefits. And with the further development of IWMS platforms and integration with smart building technology these benefits will only increase.

Are you interested in reading more about smart building technology? Verdantix recently published a new research report about smart buildings: “Strategic Focus: Smarter Buildings As A Platform.” This report is available on our website now.

Geert van Offeren
Strategic Product Marketeer