Skanska unveils operating system for buildings

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Paul Unger

Following a successful trial at its Spark building in Warsaw, Poland, the Swedish construction and development giant is planning to bring to market the Connected by Skanska system, which enables office workers to run their parking, reception, heating, meeting rooms and more from a shared mobile app.

The race for market share in the building management market has attracted the attention of large corporates including Schneider Electric of France and US majors Honeywell, Cisco and Microsoft among others. All are seeking to produce simple and smart building operating systems.

“Skanska’s ambition is to develop office buildings that will be functional for many years, regardless of the technological advancements. That’s why we have created solutions that work in a similar way to smartphones – their features can be easily updated just like apps we all use every day,” says Renata Nowakowska, innovation manager at Skanska commercial development unit in central and eastern Europe.

Skanska aims to overcome the lag between the innovation cycle in high tech, around 18 months, and the development process for office buildings, which takes around five years. To ensure tenants and users have access to new solutions, Skanska created an operating system for office buildings and workplaces which can be updated over time.

Connected by Skanska includes a mobile application for everyday users and a web portal for tenant and building administration. It works as an open platform integrating smart functionalities with a social approach to building a community in an office complex.

Skanska offers its tenants a “connected fit-out” option as an upgrade to an office space, and an office administration system.

Connected by Skanska is divided into three different dimensions:

  • Connected Building – every Skanska office project will have a smart infrastructure, beneficial for all tenants, which links building functions, including parking, mobile access control, office space management tools as well as the virtual reception with a community aspect, such as social feed, public transport and a building guide.
  • Connected Fit-Out – this is an optional service for tenants; it includes such features as indoor positioning – showing where colleagues are – room booking integration, and a work environment management and optimisation system.
  • Connected Green – an optional service for tenants which includes green education and Skanska’s support in interior LEED and WELL certification.

The initial implementations of the full Connected by Skanska package have been conducted in Warsaw, in the first building in the Spark office complex. Office building users at the Spark complex can book meeting rooms throughout the building. The phone understands its position in the building and automatically connects to control the temperature and lighting in a specific area. All functionalities talk to each other, enabling the creation of a virtual pass for a guest or to reserve a parking spot while booking a room.

“We are at the forefront of technological change. We build our solutions ahead of tenants’ future needs. At the same time, we understand that the adoption of new technologies is a process. That’s why people using older phones or those who don’t want to follow newest solutions can still switch to traditional ways of using buildings, such as plastic access cards,” adds Renata.

Skanska is now in talks with developers and tenants about introducing Connected to their buildings and spaces. The formal sales launch will take place in September.

Connected will be installed in all Skanska offices and developments in central Europe including sites Warsaw, Cracow, Gdańsk, Łódź, Poznań, Wrocław, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest.

Smart building solutions provided by Skanska are not only useful to office buildings users but for office administration teams as well. First of all, they can manage office settings from one system. For example, they can change the access type for both plastic and virtual cards of employees, assign a parking spot for a VIP or send an important announcement to all users.

Tenants also have access to real-time data and historical data of office usage, which includes information about parking efficiency, office occupancy throughout the day as well as conference and meeting room availability. Using the data provided by the Connected by Skanska solutions, office spaces can be used in a more effective way and can be modified according to information obtained via the app.

The Skanska commercial development unit in Central and Eastern Europe developed the Connected by Skanska solutions package together with Sharry Europe, technological partner and IT developer, and Estimote, technological partner and beacon provider.

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