Smart to be safe
Updated: Aug 3
News from smart building research specialist Memoori shows that occupancy analytics is the hot topic in the field of building controls and IoT.
Buildings with networks of sensors that can track how building users move throughout a building were already an important trend. But COVID-19 safety concerns have put this technology front-and-centre for large buildings that want to keep an eye on occupancy levels.
As the rules of how many people can be in a space at one time change (and since there are different regulations in place around the world) tracking occupancy rates has never been so important. Companies looking to re-open offices are finding that harnessing sensor technology and IoT capabilities are useful tools in optimising safe capacities for shared spaces.
Occupancy sensors had already seen growing interest from building owners. The ability to link use of building services such as cooling, ventilation and lighting to real-time space occupation is taking energy saving to the next level. Occupancy analytics can also be used to manage meeting space availability, offer wayfinding services and send targeted messages.
Memoori also points out that having a detailed understanding of occupancy around a building may help companies decide just how much space they need if staff are more likely to be working at home for some time. While the thought of tenants reducing the amount of rented space they require will not be welcomed by landlords, the ability to do so accurately may be attractive to large corporates.
The drive to make building design more occupant-centric, with a focus on ‘wellbeing’, has been a long-term movement in building design. Now that occupancy and health are so closely linked, it seems that this area of smart building technology is definitely on the rise.