As we move towards the midyear point, the upheaval of the pandemic has started to abate and our built environment is once again finding itself more occupied. For the construction and real estate industry, demand is increasing and ongoing supply chain issues must be carefully navigated.
Looking ahead, we can see the early stages of emerging trends in proptech, facilities management and construction that will pave the way to safer, purposeful, and more sustainable projects. While the past two years have forecasting difficult, the contributors and editors at Facilitiesnet have their own ideas on where things are heading – you can read the full feature here: https://www.facilitiesnet.com/buildingautomation/article/5-Technology-Trends-That-Will-Dominate-Facility-Management-in-2022–19496)
Top FM tech trends
1. Increased focus on indoor air quality
One key fact that has emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic is that indoor air quality makes a big difference when it comes to fighting viruses. With a growing number of people returning to the workplaces like the office, they will be looking for measures in place to ensure the air they are breathing is clean and safe.
Research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/ventilation.html) has concluded that poor air management inside our buildings increases the risk of exposure to viruses. The CDC recommendation for facilities managers is to “consult experienced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning professionals” to ensure HVAC systems are rebalanced to increase total airflow and are operating properly.
2. Increased adoption of Healthy Building standards
Most recent studies have found that people spend an average of 90 percent of time indoors. With this in mind, the global Healthy Building standards promote physical, psychological, and social health in occupants. With employers and their workers keen to put well-being first, buildings are now being designed with optimum health and human experience in mind.
Certifications such as WELL from the International WELL Building Institute are increasingly recognised and sought out.Therefore, as prospective tenants look for measurably healthy homes and work environments, technology will be a key enabler.
FacilitiesNet suggests that in addition to making buildings attractive to tenants, the Healthy Building standards are also a way to increase the value of property portfolios, with people happy to pay a premium. In fact, a study by the Real Estate Innovation Lab at MIT found that Healthy Buildings will collect on average between 4.4 and 7.7 percent more in rent per square foot than nearby, uncertified properties. Simply put, adoption of these certified standards will therefore likely increase bottom lines.
3. Rise of the Master Systems Integrator
The integration of technologies such as IoT devices and sensors into our built environments is happening at an astonishing rate. And while these devices produce an enormous amount of useful data, sifting through and sorting it can be a challenge. As we move forward, we can expect an increased adoption for building owners to lean on advanced management software to transform this data into actionable data. This can then be used to inform building operations and give valuable insights and analytics on factors such as air quality and occupancy. Given the wide range of technologies and suppliers, integration will be key to successful operation.
In 2022, we can expect to see the rise of smart building professionals who can help facilities managers and building operators to integrate the right technology for their goals, such as the MSI experts within McKeon Group. You can read more about the role of the MSI here: https://mckeon.ie/master-systems-integrator/
4. Sustainability remains important
Keeping costs down and remaining sustainable is also still a priority for building owners and operators. Despite most office spaces remaining largely empty for most of 2020 and 2021, these properties did not really see any savings in energy usage and, therefore, their carbon footprint. This is because most lack intelligent systems to enter lower-usage states or “hibernate” based on occupancy. Learning from this, we can expect to see landlords integrating technologies that sense, report and minimize energy consumption and allow allocation of resources in proportion to the building’s capacity use.
5. Workplaces will become more purposeful
Lastly, FacilitiesNet believes since the future of work will likely follow a hybrid model, visiting the office will become a more purposeful affair, with workplaces becoming more meaningful.
With many workplaces experiencing the effects of the Great Resignation, ensuring the physical and mental wellbeing of employees is now a top priority. Part of this will mean ensuring workplaces provide spaces for specific uses and allow collaboration with those working remotely. For future team members, attending the office will mean an opportunity for meaningful and purposeful interactions. This, again, will mean an integration of technology on a fundamental level within these workplaces to help with occupancy challenges and maintain sustainability targets when not in use.
The team of innovators at Hereworks are leading the strategy roll out of smart building technologies that connect and inspire – you can learn more about the Hereworks mission here: https://hereworks.ie
About McKeon Group: Established in 1950 by Tom McKeon, McKeon Group remains a family business to this day. ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fit out and building services. The Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients. For more information, contact https://mckeon.ie.