Advisory Banner

ADVISORY

ADVISORY NEWSLETTERS

The Balance Between Efficiency, Experience and Hyper-Surveillance in Smart Connected Buildings

It is safe to say that the built environment has gone beyond basic building automation. Simply focusing on systems such as HVAC and lighting has given way to a fully connected infrastructure where security, access, lifts, parking and every other building technology is connected to the network, integrated and becoming more and more interoperable.

This hyper-connectivity is exceeding expectations when it comes to the five primary objectives of a smart building: energy and natural resource conservation, operational efficiency, enhanced occupant experience, improved sustainability and financial optimization. Using technology to operate a building with extreme precision and delivering 21st century experiences is becoming the new standard.

In order to achieve this high level of technical sophistication a combination of various technologies is required; a standardized IP building network, some form of operating system, a variety of smart devices, numerous applications and cloud connectivity. These fundamental technologies can be weaved together to achieve the goals of a next-generation building.

There are multiple positive goals and objectives related to a smart building, but this extreme level of technology utilization also gives way to the possibility of creating an environment of over-surveillance. HVAC equipment, lights, voice activated devices such as Alexa and Siri (and any other electrical device that might include a microphone, camera or sensor) could be listening and/or watching and gathering an enormous amount of data, providing insight with unintended consequences.

A university that installed sensors for a seemingly harmless activity came to discover a pattern of tardiness of some of its professors, which led to some interesting conversations.

This is just a small example of the type of data that could be collected and combined with other data sets to come up with conclusions about human activity in the building. At some point we will be able to surveil people’s activities 24 hours a day. Yes, your alarm clock, smart bed and/or Fitbit will continue the data gathering even as you sleep.

Many people say that privacy is already gone and that we need to get used to the new normal. Privacy isn’t important until it is. Imagine a confidential conversation between employee and employer, disclosure of a medical issue to HR, a board meeting where a new product is being introduced, data measuring time spent in the restrooms or simply a personal conversation between co-workers.

The biggest potential issues include: Who is collecting the data? What is it being used for? Can unathorized people access it? Is it protected? Are machines making decisions? Who writes the rules? Who owns it? Perhaps most importantly, in the event of a privacy breach resulting in damages, who is liable?

Imagine a new office tower under construction. The architect designs a high-tech board room with a next-generation lighting system that contains sensors and microphones for various applications. Consultants configure the technology, integrators install it, a service provider manages it and it shares a common network provided by the building owner. At a high-level board meeting, a sensitive idea is discussed and the information that had been collected is breached either internally or externally. Who is liable?

As the world becomes more technologically advanced, buildings included, organizations are going to have to take a position on privacy. With GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California leading the discussion of the West and China’s aggressive data collection and monitoring policies providing an exact opposite approach, the topic of privacy will continue to be one of the major societal issues in the years to come.

From a technical standpoint, many experts argue that China is more than five years ahead of the US. The creation of the Social Credit Scoring which is slated for Phase 1 completion in 2020 is achieving data collection, analysis and action on a societal level. Additionally, the surveillance state created by an extraordinary network of next-generation cameras combined with cloud computing and AI is able to track citizens on a real-time basis.

Before anyone says privacy is dead it is a worthwhile exercise to better understand the technology that is deployed today in other parts of the world, including China, to determine what side of the privacy discussion they are on.

We will be taking on the subject of privacy as it relates to smart connected buildings and corporate campuses at CoRE Tech 2019 next week in San Jose. The following is a summary of the discussion. Hope to see you there!


Realcomm Staff
Realcomm Conference Group LLC is the leading research and educational institution that produces annual conferences and expositions on technology, automated business solutions and intelligent buildings strategies for executives in commercial, corporate, government and institutional real estate. Realcomm was founded in 1999 with the goal of bringing industry leaders together each year to discuss, demonstrate and debate the latest innovations that impact the industry.

This Week’s Sponsor

RealFoundations is a professional services firm focused on helping companies that develop, build, own, operate, service, occupy or invest in real estate run better.

Realcomm News



Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway, The Netherlands, UAE, UK & US:
Join Global Peers at CoRE Tech 2019
Thought leaders are traveling from around the world: Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway, The Netherlands, UAE, UK & US to join the most comprehensive, thoughtful and leading-edge conference on Corporate Real Estate, Facilities, Technology, Automation and Innovation. Are you?

It's not too late to register: Nov. 13-14 at the San Jose Convention Center.

UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS

Top GLOBAL INNOVATIONS of 2019 Impacting Commercial and Corporate Real Estate - 12/12/2019

2019 will likely be another year of great innovations for the Commercial and Corporate Real Estate industry. With a multitude of new companies and ideas being funded by an insatiable appetite of investors, the traditional workflows and processes of Real Estate are challenged daily. Add to this a desire by the established marketplace to also innovate and the pressure of change increases. This webinar will bring together some of the industry’s most prolific prognosticators who will discuss and debate the state of innovation in our industry for 2019. For those firms that are leaning into the change brought about by technology this is a perfect opportunity to hear about the leading solutions, case studies and best practices.

headshot for Jim Young
Jim Young Realcomm
Jim Young Co-Founder & CEO Founder of Realcomm Conference Group, an education organization that produces Realcomm, IBcon and CoRE Tech, the world's leading conferences on techno
headshot for Jim Young
Jim Young
Co-Founder & CEO
Realcomm
LinkedIn

Founder of Realcomm Conference Group, an education organization that produces Realcomm, IBcon and CoRE Tech, the world's leading conferences on technology, automated business solutions, intelligent buildings and energy efficiency for the commercial and corporate real estate industry. As CEO, Jim interacts with some of the largest companies globally pertaining to some of the most advanced and progressive next generation real estate projects under development.

headshot for Jeffrey Chulick
Jeffrey Chulick EY
Jeffrey Chulick Global RE Technology & Innovation Leader Jeff Chulick is the Technology and Innovation Leader for EY Real Estate Services. He leads a global team of professionals focused on the identificatio
headshot for Jeffrey Chulick
Jeffrey Chulick
Global RE Technology & Innovation Leader
EY
LinkedIn

Jeff Chulick is the Technology and Innovation Leader for EY Real Estate Services. He leads a global team of professionals focused on the identification, innovation, design and realization of technology solutions that greatly enhance the workplace experience. His areas of focus include digital strategy, smart workplace, IoT, visual communications, workplace management, physical access and audio/visual technology. Jeff has over 20 years of enabling workplace strategies and delivering innovative solutions for EY and external clients across many different industries.