We’ve long been familiar with the concept of smart technology – the majority of us have a smart phone in our pocket, a tablet on our bedside table or an AI assistant in our home. Of course, the workplace has embraced smart technology just as keenly, with the Internet of Things (IoT) changing the way we look at our daily working lives and responsibilities.
We’re moving into an era of ease – our small administration tasks are becoming automated, and our environments can be controlled simply and remotely. This is particularly true of the smart building, seen by many as the next frontier of smart technology.
The demand for smart office technology is increasing all over the world. As global business leaders recognise the myriad of benefits that smart technology can bring, a curious pattern is emerging: different regions seem to be motivated by distinctive reasons to prioritise smart buildings and technology.
Asia Pacific and Europe
According to research by Siemens, the impetus for embracing smart buildings varies greatly by region:
“In the Asia-Pacific region, for example, the sustainability agenda and the rise of green building standards have driven many new projects, especially in Australia and New Zealand. In European centres, such as Paris and Amsterdam, meanwhile, agile and connected smart buildings have emerged to address the talent agenda.”
Of course, issues such as environmentalism, and growing workplace trends like agility, are all relevant on a global scale, so why are some countries prioritising one benefit of smart buildings and eschewing others?
The Middle East
The answer can possibly be found in a simple concept – we favour what is most useful to us, and clearly, the smart buildings’ purpose is to be as useful as possible. As Siemens noted:
“Middle Eastern schemes such as those in Abu Dhabi feature smart building facades to manage energy costs in a harsh, hot climate, whereas in North America, a growing focus on user experience, community, and well-being – influenced by the Well Building Standard – is driving new thinking in the field. Prestigious office projects with an integrated digital strategy that mixes workspace with retail, hospitality, and residential are emerging. More and more well-known, reputable, and successful companies relocate their offices to ‘go smart’.”
It makes sense that a region with sweltering temperatures (and no doubt exorbitant air conditioning costs) would look to prioritise cost saving features, whereas a country whose inhabitants have less rights in the workplace (at least in comparison to other western countries) might put a focus on employee wellbeing.
Overall, we can see the global differences in smart buildings and office technology may vary greatly, but the reasoning behind the business leaders’ priorities are generally the same – the smart building is being used for good, whether that’s to save money, build employee satisfaction, improve agility or help save the environment.
The important thing to remember, however, is that just because a business may chase a certain asset or outcome from their smart building, it doesn’t mean that the workforce isn’t still reaping the entire list of benefits – for example, an organisation may choose to focus on saving resources and money, but employees will still be able to manage their building preferences remotely, saving time too.
That’s the wonderful thing about smart technology: we may all have a particular reason or focus to use it, but the benefits continue to be numerous, often in ways we would never expect.