Imagine an office where your desk knows what air temperature you prefer, your unique way of walking gets you past security, and all the most important building systems actually talked to each other. Can you picture it?

Overbury hosted a round table with end users to talk about how technology can improve the buildings we work in. The discussion was led by Simon Rawlinson, Partner & Head of Strategic Research & Insight at Arcadis. Simon produced ‘Enabling the Digital Workspace’, a research paper for the British Council for Offices, which looks at the opportunities and barriers to optimise technology in the workplace.

Around the room, we heard from a variety of people in the real estate industry, as well as those from banking, government, technology, insurance, engineering, higher education and telecommunications.

Despite different backgrounds, the consensus was clear: the future is the entire building ecosystem working as one.

Ideally the workplace of the future will utilise new and developing technology to improve the space for occupiers, but also make a difference to landlords and budgets. The question is, how do we get there?

When an asset is bought and sold several times, it can be difficult to know for sure what systems are in the building. With fixed budgets, landlords may need to choose between an inviting new reception or improving the infrastructure; however the new reception often has a stronger business case! There is a view from landlords that it can’t all be about the soft side – landlords should spend the same on a new BMS as they would for a new reception. Ultimately they believe if they have the best space, and the best technology, they are more likely to attract the best tenants.

Both landlords and occupiers have an exciting opportunity to work together on ensuring new fit outs or refurbishments take advantage of available technology and help future-proof new workplaces.

There’s so much technology could do if we all get behind it!

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