The Ci Group is an endorsed technology partner in Australia for Delos, the international company that created the Well Building standard. This makes the Ci Group uniquely placed to apply responsive measures to the seven aspects to which the standard applies.
This is one of the great challenges for office buildings to overcome. No less an authority than the US Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) estimates that air pollution inside is often between two and five times greater than outside. Air quality also tops the list of desirables sought by building occupants. Responsive technologies can help you take action. Research published by the International Journal for Environmental Research and Public Health estimates that just spending US$40 per person per year on indoor air quality resulted in a US$6500 increase in employee productivity – an astonishing finding.
The great news is that air quality is something you can do something about at a granular level. You can choose to do it room by room or floor by floor. Most urban dwellers spend 90% of their time indoors, often in work environments that may appear benign but in fact may not be. Someone working in an office with 50 people, for example, is breathing in air containing fine particles of skin from those 50 people, each of whom will shed their skin once a day as all humans do. Why suffer poor air quality when a Delos certified air filtration system can address the issue? And not only, that but deliver the air quality metrics in a way that make the invisible visible, For further advice on this subject, please get in contact.
The relationship between human well-being and circadian rhythms is well established, so much so that light is now used as a treatment for depression and anxiety. Workplaces that get the lighting right are measurably more productive, and comfortable light is second only to air quality in the desirability rankings of office workers. Lighting that reflects the time of day through automated control over colour temperature improves both mood and productivity. With individually addressable light sources now possible on the internet, this responsive intervention becomes easier to achieve.
Offices with windows provide workers with 173% more white light during business hours. This additional daylight is said to translate to 46 minutes extra sleep each night. Like most wellness aspects, better light quality supports productivity and health at the same time. Both factors impact the bottom line. Thanks to responsive technologies and modern lighting you can now do something about it, getting the daylight hours and illuminance levels just right. As with air quality, action can be taken room by room, floor by floor. This allows you to gauge the outcome before committing to wider deployment.
Urban water supplies, even those considered the best in the world, cannot match the purity of the mountain stream. The water has to travel a considerable distance, usually through ageing infrastructure so the opportunity for contaminants to enter the supply is high. Chlorine is often added at the beginning of the water’s journey in order to discourage microbes along the way. Unfortunately, however, chlorine is also hazardous to humans.
Essentially the only way to ensure drinking water reaches a level of purity appropriate to wellness standards is filter the water close to the point of delivery. Three filters are required for the purpose, one for particles, one for chlorine, and one for heavy metals. Once this intervention is made, the improvement in water quality is noticeable.
As with other wellness aspects this intervention can building-wide or room by room. The difference in appearance and taste is noticeable. Why buy bottled water when a Delos certified water filtration system delivers purity at a lower cost and with a much reduced carbon footprint?
Research would indicate human beings are still hardwired to the sights and sounds nature. A mere 250 years since the industrial revolution isn’t enough to break the link. Many spaces acknowledge this with the inclusion of greenery, but a responsive technology environment can put biophilic elements to work in other ways. Biophilic Soundscaping is one such example and worthy of its own explanatory page. On simpler level, however, biophilic audio elements can be added to outdoor spaces in response to movement sensors, mimicking the real world. Biophilic aromas can even be released in response to human presence, as can gentle gusts of wind.
Technology can help encourage healthier behaviour around nourishment by drawing attention to nearby food outlets that qualify.
Fitness can be promoted by use of digital signage, step count data can be displayed as tables or individual prompts given to approaching individuals based on their personal tally. Enterprise IoT architecture can do amazing things. You determine the priorities.
While furniture perhaps plays the major role in this aspect, light and air also have significant roles to play. Rooms with better air quality and lighting responsive to wellness needs are more comfortable environments in which to work. If localised control over temperature is possible, so much the better. It is rare that one temperature suits all occupants. Human-centric comfort would offer a degree of personalised adjustment.
Technology can contribute to this aspect as well. Art is good for the mind and soul, but the display of digital art in particular is a great means of providing mental stimulation in a form that can be readily refreshed. Display of such artwork can be done on grand scale like a giant LED screen in a building lobby, or on small screens strategically located throughout the building. Networked digital signage technologies can also be used to display daily news and weather, provide a joke each day, ask daily trivia questions with the answer provided the next day, ask riddles, display puzzles to solve and so on. It is also possible provide interactive screens that enable playful interaction between participants. And that’s just talking about display technologies. The mind can be stimulated sonically as well.
Wellness Proof of Concepts
Wellness intervention can be undertaken on a tiny or all-encompassing scale. This makes it possible to evaluate the business case with real world metrics obtained through proof of concept implementations in your enterprise.
Different proof of concept models can be developed for different case needs. HR for example, might want to compare absentee data from a wellness equipped floor and those with no intervention. Facilities managers may want to compare usage data for a wellness equipped meeting room versus untreated rooms. Property managers may want to test the extent to which a premium value can be added to floors wellness equipped versus those without. Likewise hotels may wish to follow suit. (The MGM Grand in Las Vegas certainly found out.)
A proof of concept is such a small and affordable step in the right direction. Taking no action at all hardly seems an option.
The connection of artwork to enterprise is now possible through the use of “data paintings”, data driven digital art derived from real time business metrics. In such a scenario the screen content might represent the number of customers currently in transaction or in the case of an airline the number of planes in the air. Data art makes it possible to make a stronger connection between a building and the activity of its inhabitants.
Climate Change Objectives
There are numerous ways in which responsive technologies can help achieve green objectives. A common example is the use of occupancy sensors in order to reduce power consumption in empty rooms. Another is the use of light sensors to govern the brightness level of a room relative to natural light so that no energy is wasted.
Sustainability is not just about reducing power consumption. It’s also about extending the useful life of assets. With technology, often the key to sustainability is in effectively managing how technology advances. Having change only occur in line with property leases precludes getting the timing right. It is far better to have technology management as a constant, upgrading items as necessary in step with advances, while at the same time investing in higher quality for those components considered likely to be in use for some time.
Improved planning also has a contribution to make to achieving sustainability goals. A responsive environment greatly assists technology management by providing useful metrics via sensors and room management software for planning purposes. This means unnecessary assets are less likely to be built and that the sizes better match demand. Wastage is reduced.
One of the most celebrated workspace empowerment technologies in the world is Mapiq, the European workplace enablement platform credited with making activity-based working actually work. Mapiq unleashes your office by giving employees multi-device (smartphone, desktop, tablet) access to the necessary workspace knowledge they need to plan activities plus command over the key workplace elements necessary to execute the plan; the whereabouts of their colleagues, the location of the most suitable workspace for the day’s planned activity, plus the availability and reservation of collaborative spaces as needed. More sophisticated iterations include personalised control over light and temperature. The software provides a 3D understanding of the entire building, the individual details of each space and most importantly the location of people. It is also able to provide, through sensory data, useful metrics on space usage for facility management.
There are numerous simple examples of how responsive technologies can support operational objectives.
The sensors that determine when rubbish bins are full can also be used to measure how long it took for the bin to be emptied once the alert was issued. The same logic applies to all the other aspects monitored for human intervention like replacing toilet rolls or replenishing coffee machines. The analytics made possible by responsive technologies also assist in planning efficiency. Better metrics make for better decision making.
Even more profound are the operational improvements made possible with more sophisticated responsive techniques like Visual AI. One of the world’s best examples is by Ci Group international partner Ouva, a contact free monitoring and assistance platform created for health care that predicts and responds to real world care challenges in real time. Ouva monitors patient status and operational events without impinging on patient privacy and measurably improves both safety and quality of care.
Ouva knows the moment a high fall risk patient is leaving a bed, precisely when nurses have taken vitals, how well hygiene, posture and mobility practices have been implemented and the vacancy status of the room itself. Through vision based machine learning it is able to use such information to issue predictive alerts, reduce the incidence of falls, pressure ulcers and infections. The Ci Group look forward to introducing this technology to Australia, particularly in aged care.
There are many simple responsive technology applications already in operation to improve management efficiencies. Inventory management is a popular example. When stock reaches a certain level, an order is automatically placed for replenishment. Many consumables in a workplace can be treated the same way, from toilet paper to tea bags.
Visual AI is where it gets seriously clever, able to unobtrusively detect key processes and timeliness of delivery. The Ci Group intends to introduce this to a range of industry categories, not just health care and aged care.
As always, the other key aspect of responsive technologies is their ability to collect, interpret and display data, thus providing metrics of real value to planning and facility management. Get started by talking to the Ci Group about what you want to achieve.
Time is a human’s most finite resource and for a business usually the most expensive outlay. When time is saved in a business environment, it is therefore able to make savings on a scale that savings on energy consumption or rental simply can’t match. The JLL rule of thumb approximation of wages being 30 times rent and 100 times the cost of utilities applies. This is also why the effect of wellness on the bottom line is so profound. You lose less time to health issues.
There are many ways in which responsive technologies can save time, but the time saved is not just about savings in wages. It’s also about the removal of mindless moments that needlessly punctuate the day, moments which, like those eradicated in the modern car through responsive technologies, won’t be missed.
Consider the first few minutes of someone’s arrival to the workplace. The car park gate opens automatically on auto recognition of the car or driver, and this triggers a sequence of events. The car space is noted as occupied. Colleagues are made aware of the arrival. The person’s presence in the building is logged. The daily coffee is ordered and paid for, ready for pick up in the lobby. Security doors open on approach. Floor selection is automatic on entry to the elevator. Lockers unlock when approached. A more pleasant daily experience is created, one that helps retain and attract quality staff.