How can Cisco Spaces help you to make your building smart?

Buildings contribute to 33 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and 40 percent of global energy consumption, according to EU data. The need to operate buildings more efficiently is, therefore, of huge importance to the successful achievement of global Net Zero goals.

Operating buildings more efficiently also has huge benefits for building owners, managers and occupiers – not least to offset the recent spikes in energy prices. Research shows that smarter building operation can also have benefits in terms of staff productivity and customer experience.

What is a smart building?

Smart buildings go beyond the traditional programming of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems on a timed basis. Instead, they integrate a network of connected devices – sensors, meters, access control, building systems controls, etc – to monitor actual building usage and performance so that HVAC and other building services can be deployed and adapted based on need.

What are the benefits of transitioning to a smart building?

Cisco has found that its education customers make energy savings of up to 22 percent by using its Cisco Spaces solution to intelligently adjust building HVAC. With such significant savings in play, it’s clear there are immediate cost and environmental benefits to making your building smarter.

How can Cisco Spaces help you to make your building smart?

Cisco Spaces is a cloud-based location services platform. Through Cisco wireless infrastructure, organisations can gain insights into how people and things move throughout their physical spaces. By monitoring the location, movement, and utilisation of people and assets, organisations can use this information to drive operational efficiencies.

A Cisco Spaces deployment can also include Cisco Indoor IoT Services, which helps customers deploy IoT devices and applications easily, rapidly, at scale with a significantly lower total cost of ownership. It leverages the Cisco Catalyst 9100 Access Points, powered by the Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers, to enable customers to deploy a broad spectrum of Bluetooth low energy (BLE) asset tags, beacons, and other sensors. This expands the use cases for asset management, environmental monitoring, employee safety, wayfinding and more.

How can Cisco Spaces benefit facilities management?

Cisco Spaces can assist facilities managers in a number of ways:

  • Use real-time data to manage space optimisation and resource allocation.
  • Optimise the use of resources, including equipment and energy, to deliver cost savings.
  • Automate routine tasks and processes to reduce the admin burden and improve the experience of everyone using the building.
  • Integrate advanced security systems and asset monitoring capabilities to detect and respond to potential threats.
  • Ensure compliance with safety regulations, such as occupancy rates.

How can Cisco Spaces benefit building occupiers?

Cisco Spaces can contribute directly to improving the experience of people in buildings by empowering building operators to streamline space-booking and allocation processes and by ensuring optimal HVAC conditions in all building spaces. Studies have shown that a better overall workplace experience results in better productivity and morale.

It can also be used to improve the experience for building users by:

  • Offer a zero-touch, security-focused onboarding experience for people in your buildings.
  • Use real-time data to effectively manage traffic flows and crowd control, which is especially useful in event venues.
  • In the case of a contagious health risk, you can monitor the proximity of people in particular spaces both in real time and historically to react immediately as well as notify people of potential health risks.
  • Improve visitor experiences with enhanced digital wayfinding services and interactive experiences. 

There are myriad ways to use the information captured in Cisco Spaces to improve building management and the occupier / visitor experience, tailored to your individual business and building management needs. For example, Cisco shares a recent example of how it used the system in its own New York offices to respond to the wildfires in the summer of 2023.

If the air quality falls outside the preset normal range, the system alerts building managers so they can take necessary action, i.e. closing off outdoor ventilation and boosting filter efficiency. Staff are alerted to wear N95 respirators to protect themselves when outdoors. Conversely, if an indoor contaminant was detected, building managers would be alerted and could respond by allowing more fresh air from outside into the building.

Where should you start when thinking about making your building smart?

As we’ve seen, there are many potential use cases for this kind of real-time building data. When thinking about making your building smart, it is important to consider which use cases are most relevant to your people, your business and your building. For example, if your building is located in an area affected by wildfires, you may wish to start with air quality monitoring. If your first priority is to reduce your energy consumption, you could begin by implementing intelligent occupancy HVAC controls. Test, iterate and grow your services over time, so your building continues to get smarter and your building operation more intelligent and efficient.

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