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The Science of Smart Buildings: PropTech to Improve Workspaces

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If you listen to the market, you would be inundated with a myriad of different interpretations of what really makes a building smart.  

During the 2022 IoT Solutions World Congress, JLLT’s Advisory EMEA Managing Director, Dr. Matthew Marson presented the fundamental ingredients that enable a smart building. Those core elements include: 

  • • Security  
  • • Access control 
  • • Network 
  • • Environmental verification 
  • • Audio visual
  • • IoT platform
  • • Smart waste
  • • Occupancy analytics
  • • Smart lighting

When it comes to our portfolio of companies, JLL Spark Global Ventures has crafted a suite of solutions for buildings to qualify as “smart,” encompassing the various interpretations as they pertain to occupiers or landlords: 

Security – In 2022, JLL Spark invested in Acreto to provide an end-to-end security infrastructure that protects all your technologies with a single, simple cloud service that goes beyond secure application access. This provides a complete connectivity and security infrastructure.  

Access control –  SwiftConnect has revolutionized access control by providing quick and efficient access to employees and guests without the use of physical cards. SwiftConnect powers building access credentials and permissions in real-time at any location using software that interfaces with your iOS or Android smartphone or smart watch. The feature even eliminates the need for employees to unlock their devices to enter the building.   

Environmental verification – JLL’s Canopy centralizes, manages and monitors environmental data, helping clients track sustainability projects from start to finish. This includes automating the process for managing utility bills and carbon footprint calculations.   

Audio visual, IoT platform, smart waste, and occupancy analytics –  In our own offices and for some of our clients, Infogrid provides digital screen visuals with a combination of indoor air quality, occupancy and ESG related data points via IOT devices. They can then use the same data points to provide even deeper insights and reporting; a good example of this is JLL’s Dynamic Cleaning service. This IFMA Award winning product provides labour, consumable and energy efficiencies in real time based on IoT data throughout the building. 

Smart lighting and HVAC, energy analytics – JLL recently acquired Envio, a smart building platform that supports our occupier clients, and Hank  that enables our landlord clients to optimize HVAC usage or reduce energy consumption with a smart building platform via a remote virtual bureau. These solutions additionally support ESG initiatives by monitoring employee usage in real time with the connected IoT devices that allow occupiers and landlords to reduce operating expenses. 

Knowing where to start can be tough. With the above in mind, consider prioritizing your smart implementation based on your business’s objectives by applying JLL’s perspective on the 3-30-300  rule. This rule of thumb illustrates the average order of magnitude between a company’s costs: $3 for utilities, $30 for rent, and $300 for payroll (all per square foot, per year). Knowing what value you want to target, the rule guides you in the direction to take your technology investment, as illustrated below: 

With ESG increasingly becoming a focus for customers, as a result of increased regulation and changing policies at financial institutions, the lens you apply can be tailored even further, allowing you to prioritize your contributions to help achieve your company’s goals:  

From Dr. Marson’s analysis, it’s clear that foundational building technology has a disproportionate contribution to value across the entire 3-30-300 spectrum. Acting initially to conserve energy, those base technologies then serve as the fundamental controls and data source, allowing for occupancy-driven space demand and unlocking health and well-being benefits around air quality and more.  

At JLL Spark, we believe that building the right blend of strong solutions for our clients’ spaces is the only way smart buildings can deliver the results that clients are urgently seeking. 

Written by Andre Bothma, growth principal at JLL Spark based in London, England

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