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Building access control, monitoring HVAC systems and multisensor technology are among highly-sought after smart building technologies today.

The following article was written by Sebastian Obando and published on National Real Estate Investor on July 1, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated interest in smart building technologies, especially for tasks such as building access control, monitoring HVAC systems and tracking density within spaces. And such systems have the added bonus that they can be monitored and managed remotely, lowering the number of property management and facilities management professionals that need to be on site at any one time.

Access control systems restrict who may enter a facility in specified areas. Most technology today relies on touch technology (for example, conference room booking screens). But with new COVID-19 concerns, managers are retrofitting to no-touch systems, including for entry into buildings.

“The most popular building solutions today center around access control,” says Dave Denslow, managing director of global innovation and building solutions at Greystar, a real estate developer. “The industry has accelerated adoption of building-wide access as a result of COVID-19 and we see this trend continuing.”

Indoor air quality sensing has also been high on employees’ lists for some time, says Jim Berry, U.S. real estate sector lead at Deloitte. Due to COVID-19 concerns, this interest has heightened as quality ventilation is an effective strategy for reducing the spread of pathogens in indoor spaces. This has meant increasing the frequency of changing HEPA filters. New tech can help monitor those systems (even off-site) and also provide warnings and reminders to building managers.

Another useful technology in the COVID-19 age is space usage measurement, such as counting the number of employees in a given space. Knowing which rooms have no or insufficient occupancy versus reservation is “incredibly useful,” says Berry.

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