Oracle, Verdantix and SmartSpace Discuss the #1 Benefit of Smart Buildings

Last month, Facilities Show held a Smart Buildings Networking and Talk event at its very own 240 Blackfriars. Chris Edwards, Event Director, caught up with some of our speakers to discuss their thoughts on the benefits of smart buildings. He asked: “According to the research presented during the evening, the number one perceived benefit of Smart Buildings amongst FM’s is around Energy Management. What are your views on this?”

Smart Buildings


Mike Brooman, CEO of Vanti

"I think FMs should be raising their aspirations and seeking to achieve more than just energy management. In either of the comparative ratios prevalent in the industry, energy represents a tiny proportion of operational business spend when compared with space/buildings and people. By approaching Smart Building from the other end of the scale i.e. enabling people, making them more productive and removing the roadblocks to them being able to do their jobs better, you can pick up all of the savings in space and energy efficiency without trying. As soon as you can help people take control of the space they are in, the rest is easy."

Smart Buildings

Colin White, Head of Product Marketing at SmartSpace

“The insight to Smart Building perception from your research is quite interesting. It highlights to me that the understanding of the value of smart buildings is still in its infancy and selling in a business case for Smart Building technology adoption and presenting the value goes way beyond traditional aspects of facility management. The fact is that energy only accounts for approximately $3 per employee per day so what we need to be doing is refocusing the business argument on the impact of higher value operational costs. When it comes to employees and real estate, value can be achieved by using Smart Buildings technology to effectively introduce agile working practices, reducing your employee to desk ratios; less desks, less IT equipment, smaller departmental footprints, higher productivity = efficiency = savings. FM’s would be well advised to build an understanding of the value Smart Buildings deliver in area’s associated with people costs and some of the softer metrics associated with aspects such as employee wellbeing to complement the business value of sustainability.”

Smart Buildings

Rodolphe d'Arjuzon, MD and Global Head of Research at Verdantix

“Energy management is a logical place to look for savings because it is easily measured, quantifiable and it feels intuitive. There are two problems: 1) it tends to be rather small compared to other costs in buildings, unless you are in a retail environment or similar, so you risk doing a lot of work for tiny savings (c.f. the 3-30-300 rule) and 2) it is a rather limiting mindset through which to look at the value of a smart building because the whole point is that in a smart building you can look at all aspects of the performance of your facilities, assets and teams. So you should start with a broad hypothesis and look for all types of efficiencies across energy, maintenance regimes, space allocations, operating performance, capital deployment, staff allocation, the ability to fix issues remotely or at least at the first time of asking. This is what we call facilities optimisation.”

Smart Buildings

Catherine Folley, Facilities Management and Professional Services Transformation Lead at Oracle

“Looking from a holistic perspective, the people within a building have to feel the benefit of any digital innovation. Any modifications need to feed directly back to the wellbeing of those using it. To give an example, automating temperature control can not only reduce energy bills but can deliver a better working environment. By enabling aa building to deliver a better user experience a company stands to increase productivity, reduce attrition and to attract talent. The impact this can have on a business is far greater than any savings made in energy bills. For FM providers, being able to feed business information back to the client, to help the client increase productivity and prove benefit can enhance the client relationship. FM providers also need to be able interact effectively with their clients to ensure the level of service as kept high. Looking at how an FM company interacts with the users of a building has to be factored into and project for smart technology. A building is not just the bricks and mortar, it’s the perception of the people within it.”

What are your thoughts?

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Facilities Management

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