Occupancy Management: Buildings and public facilities

Occupancy Management: Buildings and public facilities

Modern buildings already use sophisticated technologies to help to operate and maintain the many systems and processes required to manage a large complex office or apartment block.

These include technologies to control and monitor key facility operations such as HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning), lighting, security and other systems.

However, these are often disparate, individual systems designed for specific tasks with little interaction and often requiring considerable human interaction.

The concept of a Smart Building is defined as a set of communication technologies enabling different objects, sensors and functions within a building to communicate and interact with each other autonomously and be managed and controlled remotely. Smart building systems will connect a variety of subsystems that originally operated independently and enable automated processes & self-learning to be deployed.

The key benefits of Smart Building are fundamentally about efficiency, security and cost savings:

Energy efficiency

The energy management benefits enabled by new digital technologies can reduce the use of electricity consumption within households and buildings. The objective is to control energy used by activating/ deactivating lights, HVAC systems and any appliances in response to actual need & demand using real time presence detectors which automatically turn systems on and off. This coupled with temperature and usage sensors can reveal, detailed actual energy utilisation patterns and identify energy saving opportunities for under-utilized or empty space.

Safety and security

This has been a major factor driving the adoption of smart systems in a building. There is a growing need for secure access control in order to authenticate authorised persons, detect any irregular intrusions. Emergency services need to be alerted immediately and provided with detailed information as to the nature and location of a specific emergency, such as a fire, supported by accurate data indicting who is in the building and where they are located.

Simply using CCTV to monitor events & people coming in and out of buildings is no longer enough. This must be combined with real time alerts, by zone & accurate counts of building occupants with movement tracking. In the wake of recent disasters and terrorist attacks accurate, multi-dimensional information which delivers security and peace of mind is a priority.

The recent COVID 19 crisis and social distancing has probably changed the way stores are laid out and managed for ever. Having systems in place to manage customer volumes , flows and spacing will become crucial in public and private facilities.

Employee productivity

Smart solutions help in providing greater convenience, comfort and wellness; they improve occupants’ life by providing, improved access & flow, by monitoring key indicators such as air quality and humidity, enhancing safety, reducing inappropriate access/behaviour and benefiting employee productivity.