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How AI Will Revolutionise Workplaces

December 21, 2023 15:24 IST

'Even for operational buildings, we are looking to smarten them in various ways.'

IMAGE: Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy Mikhail Nilov/

Smart offices, equipped with top-notch facilities for employee well-being and collaboration, are gaining ground in India.

They offer a superior work experience for employees, allowing developers to attract tenants faster and command a premium over traditional options.

Smart office buildings incorporate features such as smart desks and conference rooms, motion sensors, automated attendance systems, advanced video monitoring, and indoor digital maps, utilising emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, Cloud, and other advanced collaboration tools.

Real estate consultancy Anarock forecasts a rise in demand for smart workplaces.

"While there is rapidly growing interest, smart workplaces are still in a nascent stage in India. However, the market for them could grow at a 25-30 per cent compound annual growth rate over the next five years," says Bappaditya Basu, chief business officer, Anarock Commercial.

Anarock stated that smart offices with innovative and next-generation technology attract tenants faster, reducing leasing time and vacancy periods.

Additionally, smart workplaces help developers differentiate themselves and stay ahead of competition.

"Developing a smart workplace can make good business sense for future-focused real estate developers. Such workplaces can command a 10-15 per cent premium on rents over conventional spaces due to the value additions and flexibility they provide," Basu points out.

"This translates into higher revenues, and occupancy rates also tend to be higher," adds Basu.

"The premium on developing a smart workplace is only 3-5 per cent currently. So, the return on investment is very compelling," he explains.

Leading companies in the Indian commercial real estate market, such as Hiranandani Group and Brigade Enterprises, are actively embracing smart technologies.

"All of Brigade's commercial buildings have some element of smart technology in them and are LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design)-certified," says Arvind Rao, vice-president-commercial at Brigade.

"Stakeholders within the commercial space ecosystem are actively advocating the advancement of smart buildings."

Brigade Group, through its property technology (proptech) accelerator Brigade REAP (Real Estate Accelerator Programme), has invested in and incubated around 70 proptech startups, many of which are innovating in smart building solutions.

"We pilot them in our portfolio. So, for us, pushing the envelope in this space has become a way of life.

"Even for operational buildings, we are looking to smarten them in various ways," Rao added.

Mumbai-based Hiranandani Group expects significant growth in smart buildings in the coming years, primarily driven by the growing demand for residential, commercial, and retail spaces.

Commercial real estate constitutes nearly 40 per cent of Hiranandani's real estate development portfolio.

"As demand for real estate space soars and more floor plates are under development, the need for integrating IoT and utility monitoring systems is pivotal for achieving cost efficiency and being environmentally responsible in terms of carbon footprint," says Niranjan Hiranandani, managing director of the Hiranandani Group.

Technology companies like Honeywell and Schneider Electric are prominent players providing devices and systems related to smart buildings.

Honeywell stated that its building automation solutions are currently used in more than 10 million buildings worldwide, with over 4,000 patents in this segment, contributing to saving $6 billion in energy and operational costs since its establishment.

Smart buildings in the commercial sector are set for continual expansion due to a promising economy and increased adoption of work-from-office practices in 2024, according to Pradeep Balijepalli, Chief Commercial Officer at Honeywell Building Technologies.

"With the Indian real estate sector targeting carbon neutrality by 2050 and the upswing in smart city projects, we foresee sustained growth in smart building adoption," he says.

France-headquartered automation provider Schneider Electric has a building analytics platform that enhances building performance and energy efficiency, in addition to connected systems.

"Our solutions enable real-time monitoring and control of various building systems, including HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), lighting, security, and energy management," says Bhupesh Arora, business head of digital energy at Schneider Electric India.

"These solutions help optimise building performance, reduce energy consumption, and enhance occupant comfort," he added.

Schneider India revealed that, according to a global survey of 1,000 companies, unplanned downtime is a major concern, costing them between $1.25 billion and $2.5 billion annually, leading to severe financial implications for businesses.

According to Schneider, building automation can play a crucial role in mitigating the risks of unplanned downtime.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

Aneeka Chatterjee & Ayushman Baruah
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