For building owners and portfolio managers, improving tenant experience and future-proofing as technological advancements in 5G, IoT-based sensors and data analytics continue to expand at an increasingly rapid pace, remains top of mind.
The single most powerful means of unleashing the potential of real commercial assets today lies in the ability to unlock hidden value from data related to occupant behavior and building performance in real-time through a digital twin, according to ThoughtWire a global solutions provider for operations performance management (OPM) tools.
“OPM starts with improving the tenant experience and NOI for landlords by decreasing operational costs. The best way to address these outcomes is to have a common platform to collect data across the occupant behaviors and building performance through a digital twin to gain a real-time representation of what is happening in the building,” said Franco Castaldini, chief commercial officer & vice president of Business Development, in an interview with In-Building Tech.
While the majority of smart buildings applications in the marketplace today solve a single solution the ability to understand the performance of these disparate systems in a holistic manner did not exist until recently.
Existing building management systems are capable of monitoring the individual performance of these solutions, however they are unable to offer an integrated view of how occupants and operating systems are engaging with one another in real-time.
“Building management systems are a set and forget it application. While they provide visibility into energy consumption they don’t account for the building’s performance to unlock operational value and tenant experience,” Castaldini added.
However, by designing an OPM system and creating digital twins building owners can unlock exponential value to improve both tenant experience and NOI.
“To seamlessly reduce friction between tenants and building performance you have to collect data outside of the BMS and delve into the context of how to improve the occupant experience and deliver better efficiency outcomes for the landlords,” he added.
An OPM system and digital twins are created by integrating sub-systems inside of a building such as the BMS, security systems, elevator, and other sensors and collecting data across the occupant behavior and building’s performance into real-time representation the building.
Understanding the value of OPM: A fire safety use-case
To better understand the added value of OPM, let’s consider a real-life use case such as a fire emergency.
While existing BMS systems can identify the location or source in an emergency, they lack the real-time capability to notify and safely route occupants to secure areas. A digital twin can provide a real-time view of what is happening inside the building and can safely notify occupants, direct them to secure locations and confirm the number of occupants in secure places while building operators and first responders deploy an effective evacuation.
Similarly, in the case of an intruder, the twin can identify the exact source of entry and secure areas by locking down doors and elevators typically these actions which cannot be undertaken by a BMS.
Future-proofing your assets with digital twins
While the use cases discussed above relate directly to occupant safety, OPM and digital twin technology can be deployed in a variety of tenant experience use cases ranging from occupant comfort, workplace productivity to energy savings and smart grid integrations.
By providing building owners with remote access to their building’s digital twin and aggregating data across siloed systems the value of Thoughtwire’s OPM can be used to push data through open APIs to other databases and enable owners to deploy their own big data strategy providing complete command and control of their building.
“We are selling to large properties owners with expanded portfolios and large assets to unlock as many use cases as possible,” said Castaldini.
The data and insights derived from digital twins can help owners in many aspects of building management ranging from optimizing energy efficiency and tenant comfort to marketing their properties to potential tenants.
For example, the ability to provide commercial office tenants with occupancy data that drives insights about how to best utilize their space through occupancy sensors to improve space utilization and workplace productivity can help to secure enterprise and co-working tenants which accounted for nearly 33% of office space leasing in the US last year.
Three critical pieces of advice for building owners when developing an OPM strategy and system are to start with the outcome and work backward, convene strategic stakeholders and to stop making decisions in silos, said Castaldini.