Members Spotlight Interview: Smart Spaces

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In our latest spotlight interview, we spoke with Dan Drogman, CEO of Smart Spaces. Smart Spaces is the market-leading smart building operating system and tenant experience app that securely integrates the latest IoT technologies and devices to the office building systems for a seamless workplace experience. 

Smart Spaces’ pioneering technology has become a crucial tool for landlords, asset managers and occupiers who see the value in transforming their offices into ‘Smart’ workspaces. The company’s bespoke app controls the entirety of an office environment (air quality, energy consumption, room/desk bookings, etc), engages a workplace community and offers secure and fully hands-free access to buildings, whilst continuously measuring efficiency.

Smart Spaces innovative technology has disrupted the industry by making healthier, safer and more productive buildings possible.

Dan discusses Smart Space’s contributions towards sustainability, the launch of their very own Indoor Air Quality ( IAQ) Smart Sensors and their recent partnership with Siemens, as well as other insightful nuggets. 

Q: Smart Spaces uses air quality assessment and management, how is this being utilised by your clients and what benefits have they realised?

A: We launched our own Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Smart Sensors a year ago, we knew that the measurement of IAQ was going to be critical going forward. Our sensors are integrated into our operating system, and the sensors and software engage to provide remote control of the ventilation system to quickly affect the amount of fresh air, preventing harmful levels being reached.

Its staggering to think that the air in London, for example, is toxic, the PM 2.5 (particulate matter) is high and the air in many modern office buildings is typically better than in our own homes, so stepping into the office is good for your health and wellbeing!

Our IAQ Smart Sensors can detect the most common compounds in the air and prevent dangerous levels from being reached thanks to round-the-clock monitoring and notification of the indoor conditions.

We’ve been able to assist owners and occupiers by measuring the air quality while providing critical data about the health and safety levels of buildings. We worked with Ashby Capital, who has deployed our IAQ Smart Sensors across its portfolio and they’re able to demonstrate the quality of air within each of their assets, which is powerful insight.

For owners and occupiers, effectively monitoring and managing IAQ can promote good health in workplaces and contribute to a positive working environment, improving the health and wellbeing of employees and also delivering efficient management of temperature, humidity and ventilation.

Q: You were chosen to develop the 22 Bishopsgate App, how did you position yourselves above the competition?

A: By demonstrating we could deliver.

Crucially, we were able to do this in a tangible way. We had already completed the required systems integration; we had the tech and equipment ready to go and proved we could deliver to scale. Fundamentally, our tech and our product was – and still is – more advanced that competitors, with the investment we made into R&D ultimately paying off.

Q: With the use of technology how are you actively contributing to sustainability?

A: It’s a known fact that the real estate sector accounts for 38 per cent of total global energy-related C02 emissions. As we work towards achieving net zero goals, we need to take a proactive approach to managing a buildings efficiency. Technology is delivering revolutionary tools that can facilitate change and help the sector navigate what is a very challenging prospect.

I think the starting point is education and insight, being able to show an owner or occupier the energy efficiency of an asset and what they’re consuming, and then importantly how to go about influencing behaviour, to then lower the levels of consumption and bring about changes that will make a difference.

We’re able to use AI to automatically enable and disable spaces depending on if they are occupied or vacant, only providing what is needed, avoiding waste and reducing energy consumption. Our smart building operating system can help reduce building energy consumption by up to 30% by efficiently controlling the HVAC system and IAQ, with our Smart Sensors providing vital intelligence.

Q: In light of the recent partnership you established with Siemens, how will this drive the future of Smart Spaces and promote your solutions in the Middle East?

A: It was a pivotal moment signing the strategic partnership with Siemens and helping to transform the University of Birmingham’s Dubai’s presence into the world’s smartest educational campus, through our integrated smart building platform. The partnership saw our operations expand in the Middle East, as well as the Higher Education market for the first time.

It also helped to drive and promote our solutions in the Middle East, supporting major telecom and financial institutions in the region who are now using our technology to modernise and future-proof their Middle Eastern offices.

We’ve built on our success in powering some of the UK capital’s prime office developments and our presence in the Middle East has been a major step in scaling up our business globally, our international projects also include the integration of Smart Spaces’ technology in major developments in New York and continental Europe.

Q: How do you predict workplace digitisation evolving in the next 5 years and what can the industry do to increase the adoption and effectiveness of this technology? 

A: The adoption of technology during and following the pandemic has been rapid. Smart technology within buildings has accelerated and become the norm. Going forward, when developing a new building, smart technology and the integration of technology will be standard, much like designing the roof.

Through associations like UKPA, leading tech events and best-in-class smart building certification SmartScore, the benefits of smart tech are hard to dispute, the real estate and occupier markets are listening, learning and adopting!

From our perspective, Smart Spaces tech is tangible, we can showcase it across our [60) million sq ft of real estate globally, we can take people into an office and demonstrate how it works. It is very real, and it is here now. We’re also very committed to R&D and continually working on improving our tech and our product.

What’s next in workplace digitisation is the further merging of physical and digital, a hybrid metaverse where there is very little differentiation in experience, for example, a meeting hosted in the office with colleagues joining from home via smart glasses, with everyone enjoying the same level of experience.

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