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Building Transparency And Trust With Smart Sensors

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Building Transparency And Trust With Smart Sensors

The pandemic put an intense spotlight on the criticality of tracking and managing indoor air quality and occupant density. Smart sensors play a large part in enabling these crucial activities to take place. Firms must take advantage of all that these devices offer and, at the same time, address issues of trust and privacy as they become more ubiquitous.

Verdantix research indicates that ensuring healthy environments and workplaces remain top concerns for corporate leaders. Organizations have needed to assess and update HVAC and air purification systems. Companies are monitoring more closely than ever how and when building areas and assets are being used. Desk and workspace assignments, even cleaning activities, have become more targeted, all with the aid of sensors.

Many businesses have discovered that health concerns are still a reason why some workers are  hesitant to return to the office, even having implemented heathy building practices. Corporate real estate and organizational leaders need to provide more visibility into how they are creating safe spaces. Firms also need to address growing concerns related to privacy as building occupants recognize that their activities are tracked at finer degrees. A watchful eye can be misconstrued as overt surveillance. Providing insight into the ways data are accessed and used is paramount in developing trust.

It is increasingly important to share what, how and where information is captured directly with employees and patrons. The Boston Public School system website provides a dashboard with information on the performance of each building and room outfitted with indoor air quality sensors. Users of the system can drill down and find data on airborne particles, temperature, relative humidity, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels. The Liverpool Library displays current room capacity levels so incoming customers can assess whether to proceed, in another example of building public awareness with data.

Today’s smart sensor technologies can provide detailed occupancy insights while still protecting individual privacy. Workers may feel less threatened if they could directly see what is, and what is NOT, being captured. Data visualizations can be integrated into digital displays found in lobbies, elevator screens, and visitor reception kiosks. This data can also be shown in a range of apps, such as wayfinding, desk and room booking, employee portals, and more.

There are myriad ways sensor data can aid building occupants in their activities. These solutions contribute meaningfully to employee, guest, and occupant experiences. Sharing insights more broadly can also inspire employees to develop additional use cases and value propositions. Providing greater transparency into building conditions and monitoring practices in turn should drive greater degrees of trust: trust in how a building is managed, and in how data and privacy is protected.

Find out more about our research into smart sensor technology: Smart Innovators: Sensor Devices for Smart Workplaces and Built Environments 

Any thoughts or feedback on this blog? Get in touch with us by emailing [email protected]

Sandy Rogers

Principal Analyst

Sandy is a Principal Analyst in the Verdantix Smart Building practice. Her research agenda focuses on the intersection of IT and OT digital strategies and technologies, including the IoT landscape.  Sandy’s experience prior to joining Verdantix included work as a research director and technology industry analyst in IT service technologies and operations at Forrester, and at IDC covering software, vertical markets, and Web services. She has worked in competitive research and strategy consulting at Fuld & Company and developed research for thought leadership at Deloitte. Sandy holds a Business Degree in Marketing and Management Science from the University of Rhode Island.