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Construction Tech Review | Monday, August 01, 2022

Covid-19 has prompted building owners and developers to reinvent and remodel their properties to boost health and safety. Beyond 2022, the emphasis on healthy indoor environments and the spread of building-centric IoT products will fuel the growth of intelligent buildings.

FREMONT, CA: Many individuals had great hopes for a return to normalcy in 2021, but the year was marked by unprecedented health dangers, ongoing government shutdowns, cautious reopenings, and extreme weather. These obstacles aided in fostering innovation in the buildings sector and strong demand for building technologies meant to improve the well-being of occupants and reduce their negative influence on the environment. As a result of these advancements, the Government anticipates the emergence of five building technology trends this year.

The need for healthier interior environments among building occupants will continue: The epidemic of COVID-19 irreversibly altered how individuals see the health of indoor spaces. As these employees return to the office, experts are raising the alarm about indoor air quality (IAQ) and urging them to become more informed about it. This will increase the pressure on building owners and employers to install ventilation and filtration systems that encourage healthier conditions and to embrace technology that monitors and show the IAQ to employees. These beneficial building modifications will become crucial for staff retention and happiness.

Companies will require AI-powered technologies to monitor carbon neutral pledges: Typically, buildings and car fleets are businesses' most considerable energy-consuming assets. Many companies have made carbon-neutral pledges to decrease the environmental impact of these assets, but they struggle to evaluate and monitor their progress accurately. They are increasingly resorting to artificial intelligence (AI). Though still in its infancy, AI-driven technologies are proven helpful at increasing the efficiency of buildings, enhancing route optimization and fleet management, and facilitating the tracking of environment, social, and governance (ESG) objectives.

Information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) compete as next-generation cybersecurity targets: The fast development of smart devices within buildings, the connectivity of control systems, and alarms have spawned a new class of security threats, necessitating the protection of OT systems and infrastructure with the same rigor as IT systems. The situation is becoming increasingly dire as IoT hacks intensify. This year, facility managers and IT experts will need to work more closely to ensure high cyber resilience across OT and IT settings. They will also need to understand the cyber hazards surrounding building OT systems thoroughly.

Smart building technology will play a vital role in "new normal" return-to-workplace initiatives, such as hybrid, remote, and dispersed work models: This year, more employees will return to the office, but their working conditions may change. Workforces are becoming more dispersed, work habits are evolving, and new, more adaptable work schedules are emerging. These alterations will necessitate building managers and businesses to reconsider how they utilize and manage areas and building systems. New usage patterns may require workplaces to provide spaces for solo work, meetings, training, and other forms of collaboration on different days and hours. AI and intelligent technologies that can sense occupant loads and regulate energy use, HVAC, lighting, and access in real-time will make it easier for buildings to dynamically adapt to the demands and well-being of their occupants while simultaneously conserving energy.

The U.S. infrastructure injection will allow smart buildings to impact the development of new smart cities: The $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Biden in 2021 includes not only $550 billion in new spending to upgrade roads, bridges, and public transportation, but also allocates substantial funding to support clean energy initiatives, energy conservation, and resilient infrastructure. By broadly supporting improvements that mitigate climate change and enhance climate resilience, such as smart buildings and electric vehicles, the IIJA will help lay the foundation for smarter and more sustainable cities. It is because municipalities pursue technological solutions to improve community resilience and energy equity, and infrastructure. The IIJA will also provide cities additional flexibility to invest in and advance their ambitious sustainability and ESG objectives.

These changes exemplify a unifying theme: technology is rapidly becoming crucial to all aspects of building operations. Whether it's assisting in creating better indoor environments, preventing cyberattacks, tracking greenhouse gas emissions, or enabling new work models, it can provide a competitive advantage to those who employ it intelligently.

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