Can Smart Building Technology Help Firms Fight Covid-19?
With the rapid global spread of the new corona virus Covid-19, executives across all sectors are reviewing business strategies and procedures to lead their business through the crisis. In the real estate and facilities management sectors, corporate executives have already been asking Verdantix the question: how can smart building technology help to reduce the spread of infections such as Covid-19?
Across airports, hospitals and leisure facilities, firms are already deploying smart building technologies to help them better identify infections and reduce their spread. For example, Narita Airport in Japan uses infrared cameras to measure the body temperature of passengers to determine if they have a fever. Hospitals have deployed washroom sensors to track whether staff are washing their hands for a sufficient length of time. Other technology solutions being used by these sectors include reprogramming BMSs to manage indoor humidity levels to minimize the survival rate of viruses and white light disinfection LED technology.
Can these infection-fighting smart building technologies work in commercial buildings? Verdantix expects that solutions based on occupant monitoring (whether for body temperature or hygiene) will be the toughest for firms to deploy because of occupant privacy concerns. History has shown that employee monitoring technologies often receives significant employee pushback. For example, the Daily Telegraph had to withdraw desk monitoring sensors for space utilization tracking, while more recently in February 2020 Barclays was forced to scrap its programme to monitor the amount of time staff spent at desks.
There are also questions around which technologies are most effective in identifying infections. For example, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine finds that temperature scanners at airports are only effective in identifying one in five Covid-19 cases as most people are infected with the virus for over five days before showing symptoms. Despite these challenges, Verdantix expects that infection control will take a more prominent role in smart building strategies going forward.
To learn more about the role of Health & Safety Technology in responding to the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Epidemic, read the recent Verdantix blog.