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Beyond energy, changing how people interact with buildings (Forrester Research part 1 of 4)

May 8, 2018

By Ralf VonSosen

Energy efficiency improvements are often the first consideration when making the business case for an Internet of Things (IoT) investment because the cost savings are easily understood and can be quickly achieved. After all, lighting alone accounts for nearly 20% of the electric bills in commercial buildings. Building operators or owners have to be able to make the business case for IoT solution investments, and energy costs create a powerful storyline.

While these efficiency gains are significant, it's not the only benefit building operators can achieve from IoT, especially when leveraged as part of broader efficiency journey, explained Forrester analyst Michele Pelino in a recent webinar on IoT building solutions.

Watch Forrester’s Michele Pelino address this topic, and read about 3 ways buildings can positively impact people:


Improve space utilization

Pelino points to recent studies that reveal private offices are unoccupied 77% of the time, while workstations are unoccupied 60% of the time. Often employees utilize only 50% of the overall working space in an office building.

These trends reveal opportunities to be more efficient, but the insight gathered from IoT solutions can provide answers on how to create that efficiency. For example, occupancy insight gathered from sensor-enabled lighting can help reveal patterns in preferred work areas. Security systems’ location-based alerts can show frequent triggers. Building automation systems that schedule HVAC and lighting systems hold data on comfort demands. When gathered together, all of this information offers a big picture look at how a space is being used, and can be organized more effectively.

Apply building data to boost productivity

IoT solutions are solving countless productivity challenges.

For example, employees may waste up to 30 minutes a day looking for an available conference room. Savvy companies can solve this challenge with online systems that interface with lighting sensors to direct employees to open working areas.

Connected buildings can also be used to help track down assets, a big boon for visiting workers more common in the age of telecommuting. Asset location and availability apps can dynamically show open desks with specific resources, printers--even other employees.

IoT is additionally being used to optimize ventilation, lighting levels, and other systems, and to submit real-time service requests, which can positively impact worker productivity.

Create a more powerful building experience

If you don’t realize what a huge impact the built environment has on people, just consider that numerous studies have proven that certain healthcare environments can actually help patients heal faster.

In the workplace, building systems can improve health, reduce anxiety, and boost creativity.

  • Lighting has a big impact on mood. Smart buildings can adjust light levels and/or colors to encourage collaboration, enhance focus or provide a calm ambience for meetings.
  • Wayfinding apps and digital signage can improve the visitor experience even before that person sets foot into the office, retail or healthcare complex by providing step-by-step turns on a dynamic map.
  • Better air quality translates to reduced sick days. Sensors can identify particles in the air, open windows or vents as necessary, or alert Facility Managers to air quality issues. Don’t overlook this improvement, which can translate in a $20/square foot benefit.

Get the complete Forrester IoT in Smart Buildings Report here, or check out the other research summaries:

Ralf VonSosen

As Lucid’s VP of Marketing, Ralf VonSosen leads product marketing, demand generation, branding, and communication activities. With almost 20 years in the technology space, Ralf brings leadership experience from small startups, as well as large companies such as SAP and LinkedIn. He was instrumental in establishing the energy/utilities vertical at Siebel/Oracle CRM, and most recently was a founding member of LinkedIn’s sales solutions business unit. Ralf holds a B.S. in Finance from Brigham Young University, and a MBA from the University of Utah.