“Wellness and personalization are important drivers for IoT in buildings”
“The main reason for introducing IoT in buildings – and at the same time the ultimate challenge – is to make whole cities more sustainable and nicer places to live and work in,” says John Baekelmans, Managing Director imec the Netherlands & Vice President at imec. “Think of what we are achieving in the City of Things project in Antwerp, with the possibility of extending it to the whole of Flanders. Buildings consume forty percent of all energy in a city. We live and work in buildings. So to make a city smarter, we need to make changes to those buildings. And we need to start by offering both users and inhabitants a better experience.”
A recent study by JLL, a professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management, describes the ten most important trends in corporate real estate: from flex spaces and digitization to innovation culture and a sense of community. John Baekelmans places the emphasis on two surprising aspects: wellness: creating a context for optimum mental and physical health – and humanization: personalizing spaces to create a people-centric experience.
10 trends in corporate real estate according to a study by JLL (©2018 Jones Lang LaSalle)
That ‘wow’ feeling – every day
“Corporate buildings are increasingly becoming assets for recruitment,” continues John Baekelmans. “You no longer go and work for a particular company just because of what they do, but also because of the building you are going to work in.” And according to John Baekelmans, the most important question in that context always is: “How can a space be personalized so that it’ll give users a ‘wow’ feeling every day?”
Ten or so years ago, when we thought of personalization, scenarios popped up describing spaces with white walls and sophisticated projection techniques to transform them into your own living room... But that’s not what it’s all about, says John Baekelmans. “Each individual has different preferences,” he says. “There’s the light level, room temperature, do you sit or stand to work, etc. Companies are also bringing in flex spaces that have different functions: sometimes they’re used to relax or work in silence, while others are centers for meetings and discussions. Yet in all of these spaces, people want to recognize their own personal preferences.”