5 Innovative Ways Technology Can Improve Buildings

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Posted by Bojana Lazarevska on 03 Sep, 2019

It is a well-known saying that we are the products of our environment. So, it would only make sense that our environment is configured to provide the best possible experiences. This is, at least, a realisation that is gripping building owners who are in charge of organising spaces that will not only create revenue, but improve the day-to-day lives of its tenants.

We spend a lot of time inside buildings. The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS) pointed out that 87% of our time is spent indoors. Given these findings, it’s no surprise that enhancing the indoor experience benefits not only tenants, but building owners as well. Unfortunately, many businesses are not yet taking advantage of the digital solutions available.

Future Platforms recently hosted a hackathon that urged teams to place themselves in the shoes of building owners and discuss digital solutions that would improve experiences for businesses and tenants. The event uncovered 5 truly innovative ways technology is creating and improving smart buildings. The teams also created prototypes of their ideas.

Three special judges joined us on the day to choose the winners; they included Laurent Akesso from Cubic, Lea Sandell from Lego, and Alex Wolff from Softwire.

I enjoyed being part of the hackathon, especially for the energy and professionalism from the teams. I could see the strong focus on design (app-wise but also with the presentations), which made the stories very compelling.

Laurent Akesso, Innovation Engineer – Cubic Transportation Systems

Here are some clever ways buildings can incorporate technology to provide tenants with the best digital experiences possible:

1. Create hyper-flexible, personalised working spaces with NEWSPACE

There is a lack of flexible spaces being offered in Europe, with only 1.5% of flexible space available across 22 cities in 2019. Flexible space also comes at a price – £600 per month per desk, to be exact, not to mention the annual commitment.

To address this gap in the market, this building was turned into flexible working spaces for individuals and teams, powered by the impressive AI assistant, Johan. Personalised spaces and the use of clever technology – such as face recognition, space tracking, and digital postboxes – redefine the traditional workspace.

These flexible spaces can be rented for an hour, a day, or more, with no time commitments. Additionally, the more information tenants provide, the more the workspace will be tailored to their unique needs. For example, if a tenant is vegan, Johan ensures there are plenty of vegan food options near their desk.

After renting the space, all a tenant needs to do is share their preferences, show up on the day, and Johan would have everything prepared. It’s the Airbnb for business.

2. Tinderoo – unifying businesses in a shared space, powered by technology.

Co-working spaces rarely present businesses who rent them with appropriate areas for networking. This can impact them negatively by potentially missing out on partnerships and additional business opportunities.

Tinderoo, a co-working space, connects businesses through a unique app. The rooms are equipped with cutting-edge technologies like optic fibre and laser projectors, but the real champion of Tinderoo is its food ordering app.

Tenants can order their food in advance through the app, and then be assigned to tables with others based on shared interests or business compatibility. The app also allows tenants to order food to their office space for meetings.

The app is key to creating a seamless user journey. It guides the user through food options, alerts, and tables, matching them with others who share similar interests. By adding your preferences, the app is also able to recommend lunches or snacks. If you’re interested in getting lean, this app supports that by suggesting meals that are part of a balanced diet.

This app not only connects tenants by providing plenty of networking opportunities, but it’s a holistic experience that caters to each tenant’s unique food preferences too.

3. Improving building security and safety through FRES technology

A building security breach can impact everyone from companies to individuals, which causes friction in today’s businesses. A security breach can result in a loss of money for businesses through stolen goods, and it would cause stress for tenants who may no longer feel safe. Facial Recognition Entry System (FRES), however, eliminates this friction.

It works by scanning an individual’s face for access to the building. If it is a recognised individual, it will welcome you into the building and post a notification on Slack (or a similar team messaging app) to alert teams of the individual’s arrival. If it is not an authorised person trying to enter the building, FRES will deny them access.

Apart from providing safety, FRES also tailors experiences for users, logs hours automatically, customises messages for each individual, reduces the possibility for identity theft, and provides directions and a map for facilities.

4. Hostel Nestoria – transforming the hostel experience

Imagine if, as a traveller, you no longer had to wait in a queue to check-in at your hostel, and you could control your entire experience through an app for a seamless experience on a device you’re familiar with. Hostel Nestoria utilises modern technology for a frictionless stay for travellers.

Travellers can book to stay at Hostel Nestoria through any booking engine, and download the Nestoria app, which enhances their entire stay. Check-in is a simple, three-step process: by using facial recognition, users can simply scan their face and their ID (such as a passport) to register through the app, eliminating queues and the need to scan documents once they arrive at the hostel. If a user is unable to check-in through the app, however, there are kiosks at the hostel that can be utilised to do so through a similar three-step system.

Support is on hand 24/7 through a live chat system, which is a mix between a virtual assistant for regular FAQ questions, or a human for more complex ones.

The entire stay can be controlled or configured through the app. The app also provides suggestions for tours, restaurants, bars, and more. This unlocks an opportunity for cross-promotion with local businesses, creating a sense of community, but also an additional revenue stream for the building owner.

5. GreenR technology for environmentally-friendly office spaces

With the growing concern for the environment, sustainability, and our impact on the earth, more people are worried about their carbon footprint than ever before. GreenR offers green office spaces for conscious businesses.

GreenR reduces the impact on the environment by utilising smart technology, such as environmental control and green commuting options. GreenR creates more than just office spaces; it’s an entire eco-friendly philosophy. A mobile app is provided to all tenants, who are rewarded with perks the more green points they earn, encouraging them to stick to their sustainability.

For the building owner, the app includes additional green features, such as environment control and statistics. These control lighting, heating, and cooling, so owners can ensure power is conserved. Owners can also measure power consumption, temperature, printing volume, and track waste and recycling to stay on top of their carbon footprint. A clever indoor gym also allows tenants to create power that will be used in the building, generated by their exercise. Tenants can simply use the app to book time at the gym.

Lastly, commuting options such as ride-sharing, bike and electric car parking availability, and an activity tracker with a reward program completes the GreenR experience.

The Winning Idea

The judges really liked all the solutions presented on the day and it was definitely a close call! After some deliberation, they revealed that Hostel Nestoria’s redesigned hostel experience just beat out the competition. 

The judges liked that Hostel Nestoria filled a gap in the market. Queues and the entire check-in experience in traditional hostels can often be a pain, and the digital solutions presented by this team counteract this nuisance. Moreover, the judges appreciated the inclusion of the facial recognition prototype, which granted secure access to the building, and the mobile app that was used as a key to unlock all of the perks at Hostel Nestoria.

Overall, the judges were really impressed with every team’s dedication to the challenge.

Some great ideas! Each team had a sensible commercial awareness and strong design made understanding the ideas very easy.

Laurent Akesso

Key Takeways

Smart buildings are still in their early stages, with most building owners sticking to a traditional approach, despite many of the benefits technology presents. The Future Platforms team, however, presented a variety of use-cases for implementing technology in a number of different buildings, such as hostels, co-working spaces, and even a hot-desking canteen.

At Future Platforms, we work hard to create solutions for creating powerful workspaces for tenants and building owners alike. These innovations are used to power digital businesses and boost their revenues in real life. For a free consultation to see what solutions we can implement for your business, get in touch with us today.

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