While you were working from home, office buildings got smarter.
“Smart” buildings are like giant smartphones, featuring various systems (like apps) that communicate with each other under a single operating system.
Companies in this space raised ~$2.9B last year, per WSJ, as employers try to convince workers to come back to the office.
… are expensive to outfit but come with big perks, including:
- Safety measures: Facial recognition cameras open doors and elevators, resulting in fewer high-touch surfaces; smart sensors track particles linked to viruses, pumping in fresh air when levels become too high.
- Energy savings: Smart sensors help optimize HVAC systems, cutting energy costs and carbon emissions.
But running your building like a computer…
… comes with some familiar problems. Among the biggest are:
- Privacy: The idea of facial-recognition cameras tracking your every move at work feels kinda creepy.
- Security: Smart buildings are vulnerable to hacks that could let criminals gain access to the building or sensitive data.
Landlords can prevent risks by hiring cybersecurity experts to test and monitor the building, but cybersecurity consultants say not many do.
The bigger question is…
… will smart buildings actually get workers back to the office?
Maybe, but probably not as effectively as other incentives. Take CoStar, a commercial real estate company that raffled off free Teslas, vacations, and cash prizes to workers who returned to the office last year.
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