Workplace engagement through tech at MIPIM 2019

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Engaging the future is the overall theme of this year’s MIPIM Cannes. With thought leaders, futurists and urbanists gracing stages to set the agenda for the year ahead, the application of new technology is evidently key.

Watch the live stream of 'Emerging technologies driving workplace & workforce' here:

The implementation of tech to improve, and in many instances transform, people’s experience of the spaces in which they work, live, and play, will dominate the conference, which is now in its third decade.

Driving this is a realisation that generations entering the workplace now, and over the next 30 years, will be so accustomed to the seamless integration of technology to improve their experience and wellbeing, that its absence would seem alien.

The explosion of technology has also given rise to a renewed focus on startups in the sector. A sector once slow to react, and difficult to break into, now celebrates innovative new entrants which disrupt and enable in equal measure.

Of the six finalists in MIPIM 2019’s Startup competition, it’s no surprise that half – District, Sensorberg and Spaceti – are developing technology to streamline the user experience and make it easier for commercial building owners landlords to improve the service they offer to customers.

At Bruntwood, many of our buildings have served as both the lab benches where innovative customers have devised similarly promising proptech; and test beds themselves where we’ve experimented with the best of them.

Ciara Keeling, CEO of Bruntwood Works, is discussing how emerging technologies and the new generations entering the workforce are driving evolution of the workplace on Thursday at MIPIM, alongside Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, and other industry leaders.

Below are three areas we consider to hold the most promise in the future of workplace tech, and will undoubtedly feature heavily at MIPIM:

Connected buildings

People want flexibility in how they work, where they work and when they work.

Connected buildings ensure that individuals can work effectively, on their own terms. Lightning fast, and secure, digital connectivity is expected. At Bruntwood, we recognise that, and are constantly testing and implementing technology to deliver that. One such solution we are offering is the ability for people to work anywhere in a building and access their own secure network.

Purelifi is one such newcomer taking the idea one step further. Removing the need for wires, its technology converts beams of light to an electrical signal capable of carrying data. It shows huge promise for transferring vast amounts of data in the blink of an eye, and is undoubtedly a technology to watch.

Be it from a meeting room or up on a roof garden, workspaces are continually evolving to let people work on their own terms.

Virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality and artificial intelligence

All four will continue to disrupt the property industry – which is collectively still feeling its way in the potential applications for the technologies.

Mixed reality, or hybrid reality, is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. This has the potential to transform training in the workplace, making it more integrated and engaging.

It can significantly improve the quality of training; reducing overheads associated with new starters and add a whole new dimension to onsite health and safety training; the possibilities are endless.

VR is already being used in the design of buildings and spaces. Manchester Science Partnerships customer, DigitalBridge is one of the most promising UK companies working in the space, offering architects and fit-out specialists an intuitive platform to visualise their plans.

We’ve also been using both VR and augmented reality as part of the viewing experience and design process to help our customers and potential new ones visualise the full potential of spaces that are yet to be finished.

While AI is allowing finished spaces to set new standards in sustainable operation. The Edge building in Amsterdam is a world-leading example of how the technology can adapt to occupancy patterns, controlling the building management system without any need for human input. Automating the heating and lighting in this way has slashed its carbon footprint: it uses 70% less electricity than comparable office buildings.

User experience at the forefront

Workspaces are getting smarter. Demand is being driven by consumers who expect more. From Hive Smart Heating to Phillips Hue lighting, Internet of Things (IoT) enabled homes have raised the bar.

For the office to truly compete with the allure of working from home, it has to adapt and implement similar technologies.

Personalised lighting and heating levels, real-time parking space designation, desk occupancy analytics, indoor navigation and data-driven automated building management systems are revolutionising the user experience which businesses can offer their staff. Innovation like Cisco’s Digital Ceiling is setting new standards for combining data transfer and LED lighting. .

This is very much in keeping with MIPIM’s overall agenda: engaging the future. Expect technology, connected people and places, smart buildings and smart cities to dominate in Cannes this year.

Emerging Technologies: Driving New Workforces & Workplaces will take place at 13:30–14:15 in the Manchester Pavilion. The full list of participants:

Andy Burnham, Mayor – Greater Manchester
Will Lewis, Founding Director – OBI Property
Melanie Collett, Head of Asset Management – Aviva Investors
Tim Newns, Chief Executive – MIDAS
Jessica Bowles, Strategy Director – Bruntwood Works
Moderator: Liz Hamson, Editor – Property Week

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