Corporate Facilities and Workplaces Adopt Artificial Intelligence

By: Kevin Steinberger

Commonly known as AI, the buzz word of artificial intelligence has been on the rise in 2019 specifically when it comes to corporate real estate. Massive influencers such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk have spoken openly about both the positive and negative outcomes of creating intelligent AI systems for organizational benefits.

A handful of these technologies, like those used in Amazon’s Alexa, filters for Instagram, Netflix recommendations, and even Google Translate are now being used inside of offices. This is not only for bottom-line intentions but also to abet corporate real estate, workplace and facilities management and operations.

The increase of AI technologies across corporate real estate can be seen within a few different verticals, each causing debate on whether or not it is practical for enhancing operations and also for employee and company privacy. Below are a few AI examples changing the workplace and facilities:

Workplace Robots

As we recently saw first-hand this August at Future Offices through one of our exhibitors, Cobalt Robotics, robots with artificial intelligence are now being deployed in the workplace to ultimately save time, money and resources.

Office robots not only autonomously pick up on employee needs, but can additionally locate facility issues such as water leaks, malfunctioning machinery, and even broken equipment. Not only does this free up time for heads of real estate, workplace and facilities, but additionally these robots track these instances through data collection for further analysis.

Office Safety and Surveillance

Security design tactics for schools, theaters, and of course offices have been a heightened focus in 2019. As mentioned in a Future Offices blog post, AI based facial, biometrics and behavioral recognition technology is rapidly becoming the norm for the workplace. As mentioned in the blog, video cameras and AI are used to capture and synthesize identification data. According to a study by Spiceworks, 57% of organizations currently use fingerprint scanning access control solutions, making it the most common type of biometric authentication.

Additionally, AI technologies are now being deployed within facilities to monitor and record movement and also frequency of employees across an organization's property. This can include existing the company campus, restroom breaks, smoke breaks, and even occupancy of specific areas of the office. Decibel levels are known to be recorded as well to understand stress levels of conversations within particular areas of the office or campus.

Facility Energy Efficiency

Tools powered by artificial intelligence have been used to optimize energy use at the Madrid headquarters of BBVA, an international bank with more than 125,000 employees and 75 million customers. “The tool connects to the building’s control system and, using programmed mathematical algorithms for data processing, it enables us to identify and diagnose issues in the facilities,” Head of Facility Management Borja Eugui Pemán states in a recent BBVA article. “So, we can make appropriate decisions; stay ahead of potential glitches and disruptions; and correct any inefficiencies. All of this results in energy savings and subsequent cost savings.”

BBVA's Madrid headquarters has not only become a sustainability landmark thanks to artificial intelligence implementations, but its energy savings in one year equates to that of 1,900 households.

Future Offices is ecstatic to welcome BBVA's SVP for Corporate Real Estate and Portfolio Director Andrés Cueto to our Future Offices Spring show in Houston, Texas set for April 28th-30th next year.

Humanizing The Workplace

Aside from energy efficiency, safety and cost savings, what sticks out to us on the Future Offices team is that artificial intelligence is freeing up monotonous tasks for workplace and real estate teams to ultimately make their approaches more human-centered. What we have found is that workplace and corporate real estate executives are now shifting a stronger focus towards real estate and design strategies that support hospitable operations and applications for their employees, and artificial intelligence will make this easier.