Smart Buildings are a reality, but to really take hold there is a need for leadership and for large organisations to embrace the benefits and implement the technology across the board.

One company that is taking that step is JLL, the global real estate consultancy. JLL’s aim is to create value for companies and institutions that invest in and use real estate. With 86,000 employees across 300 corporate offices worldwide, the company says that it serves the local, regional and global real estate needs of corporates and investors in more than 80 countries.

Akshay Thakur is regional director, smart buildings programme, EMEA for JLL and is at the forefront of developing smart buildings across JLL’s portfolio. “We have been talking to clients and trying to get a different mindset in place for both our corporate clients and occupiers,” began Akshay. “New build clients are asking us, how do we future proof our buildings? On the other hand, occupiers are asking us, how do we get the best out of what we already have?”

“What we are therefore doing is creating a trusted ecosystem built with our knowledge and working with reliable suppliers, so that we have a tried and tested solution for any building owner or occupier.”

To this end, JLL is embracing open interfaces, with no proprietary interference and therefore no limits on functionality within the smart building system. Another vital part of a smart building is security, so JLL insists on layered encryption, protecting the building’s data and making sure this all complies with local laws and GDPR.

“We work closely with clients and provide a roadmap for them and from that point we can begin to add value,” continued Akshay. “We ask our clients and investors what experiences are they looking for, and go through the operational benefits. We can then map out how they are using the building and give them a technology architecture to give the client a workplace strategy.”

From this point JLL works with the FM team and can help transition from planned maintenance to conditional maintenance, using the data that has been created from the smart building.

JLL is also committed to its staff’s well being and by using sensor technology to measure parameters such as CO2, VOC, humidity, and temperature, it has found that there is an impact on cognitive thinking and occupier performance if the environmental levels are not satisfactory. By providing metrics to facilities managers, it is then possible to communicate to staff messages about well being, leading to the possibility of a better working environment. “Our aim is to have a super intuitive system, with multi-function sensors throughout a building, which we can then write dynamic rules for our clients,” continues Akshay. “We need to become more integrated and become part of the team within the company.”

The coming years will be extremely important in the development of the smart building, and JLL is clearly going to be at the forefront of their development. If it means making the workplace a healthier and more productive space, this is surely a good thing.