Our Thoughts

Thinking smart – the key to a productive economy?

Just 10 years ago a desktop computer was everything we needed. Now, we are surrounded by smartphones, smart glasses, smart watches, and much more. Technology now truly rules our lives. This intelligent, data-driven technology focuses on optimising each and every sector of our lives.

Technology is also allowing us to re-think how we manage our workplaces and how we work. Not so long ago the concept of a smart office building was seen as something out of a sci-fi movie, but today the technology exists to make it a reality.

In essence, a smart office is one that uses internet-enabled technology to gather data and bring all its key operating systems under a central control. Not only that but smart buildings will be able to use space more flexibly and efficiently, reducing costs and lessening environment impact.

Space utilisation is a key component of a smart office, with technology such as desk sensors and heat mapping allowing companies to analyse how space is being used. Several banks, including Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays have installed sensors to track when desks and other office areas are in use – allowing companies to make better use of workspaces.

Smart buildings are now proving easier to run and maintain, offering benefits to occupiers of every type

Some of the advantages of smart offices include easy management of space and resources, smart monitoring, and better control. Smart buildings are able to analyse data on movement and resources in real time whilst adapting systems to optimise the performance of both the building and the people within it. In this way, smart buildings can provide opportunities to address the challenges of productivity and innovation.

Productivity measures the way in which an economic system or a business can leverage available inputs to generate outputs. This concept drives economies towards higher degrees of efficiency in production and therefore higher economic growth. Technological advances play a crucial role in improving productivity. This is important as the rate of growth of productivity has fallen everywhere. In the decade to 2016, productivity stood at 1% in the US, 0.5% in Germany, and 0.2% in the UK.

This also coincides with the rise in prominence of smart technology which has led many to question whether the sharp decline in productivity over the last decade is actually caused by technology.

The Office for National Statistics has done a huge amount of work on this with the key issue being identified as the measurement of output. For example, one of the sectors that has experienced a significant fall in productivity is energy, but this can be attributed to the fact that more people are now employed on renewable energy, which essentially means less energy output equating to a fall in labour productivity.

The future is coming, and BNP Paribas Real Estate is ready

Smart technologies are evolving all the time. Property managers and occupiers alike have already embraced the concept of smart buildings as businesses increasingly understand the benefits of smart buildings, not just for cost saving, but also for producing an optimised environment for their employees.

BNP Paribas Real Estate is contributing, through the construction of smart cities, developing its own vision of the “smart building”. For BNP Paribas Real Estate, it’s all about putting technology to work to enhance people’s well-being in buildings and in cities.