The potential of a smart office during a pandemic.

We talk about this issue with Dario Sala – Head of Business Development.

When do you think the pandemic may have influenced the development of technology?

Technology was already developing, whether due to the normal evolution of things or the generational change that we are witnessing. I’m talking about Millennials, but GenZ now too.

However, events have undoubtedly speeded up technological processes and we are now increasingly being forced to make the most of all the potential offered by technology, both at home, for smart working, in the office too.

How do you see the future of the office with the roll-out of smart working?

Offices as a physical location will continue to exist. It’s impossible to imagine all work being done remotely. There will be new ways of using spaces, of course, perhaps not with people constantly and continuously present, but rather with new ways of getting together temporarily, aimed at completing specific activities.

What are the current priorities of office users?

Priorities have changed. Users definitely look for comfort, but this is increasingly shifting to embrace a broader concept of wellness, safety and health. Furthermore, one priority is to be supported by practical and reliable technologies that allow the smart workplace management, which is now increasingly part of a smart building. By smart management, I mean the possibility of controlling various aspects aimed at well-being, as well as energy savings and environmental sustainability.

What characteristics does smart technology need to have and given the current situation, what requirements should it fulfil?

We have a mix of new buildings and renovations in Italy and the western European market. Smart technology needs to be very flexible, easy to use and able to adapt to a variety of situations, when there is a turnover in tenants and new requests by the occupants as well. It needs to contribute towards comfort and so, allow lighting, access and the temperature to be managed.  In this current period, the access control function has become very important; everything related to social distancing, touchless technology and the improvement in air conditioning controls based on the number of people in a room. And, obviously everything related to the sanitisation and hygiene of rooms. As often happens when there’s a crisis, after the period of critical alert, some changes will be introduced permanently while others will be used only if needed.

In what direction is the smart building for office use evolving?

A significant boost has been given in recent years to all the systems that allow the office to be fully operational by increasing internal comfort and ensuring energy savings. There has now been further development in the technology that allows millions of data to be analysed which relate to a building, collected through ever-present sensors, aimed at getting a precise understanding of the way buildings function, by anticipating scenarios and intervening in advance when needed.

For example, if you look at the human centric aspect, a very important development involves light control, the study of the circadian cycle and dynamic white light, as well as wireless technology and apps that gives users contactless control to manage office functions independently, and create a mobile occupant experience, in addition to wayfinding and indoor position functions. To view which rooms are occupied more often and therefore, require increased monitoring. 

Renovation of the offices. 

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Office trends told in 4 projects Human Centric of Garibaldiarchitects. Download the exclusive interview with Alessia Garibaldi, architect, humanist and technician, who make the offices smart.