Publications

- January 1, 2022: Vol. 34, Number 1

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Get smart: Get ready for the invasion of smart building technologies following COVID-19

by Patrick Lecomte

The past two years were a busy time for real estate professionals. While commercial buildings like office towers, shopping malls and hotels stood empty for months in a row as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, building owners and their corporate tenants were pondering how to bring people back to their properties. Technology plays a big role in these plans.

As part of their return-to-work plans, a couple of European investment banks have decided to smarten their employees’ workstations by placing under-desk sensors to optimize office occupancy. The technology is similar to that used to manage parking spots. The use of sensors limited to occupancy seems fairly harmless, although it would not take much to move from smart office to something potentially more nefarious.

Technologies that can capture virtually every aspect of employee behavior in their workspaces already exist: Employers can determine how much time they work, whom they interact with and for what purposes â

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