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Future Changes in Office Design: Touchless, Geolocation and More

COVID-19 is a watershed moment for office design. It is a perfect time to rethink assumptions and discuss what the future might look like. And ESD is involved with many of the cutting-edge technologies that are starting to appear.

Kurt Karnatz explained the budding importance of touchless technology, smart systems, geolocation and a narrow band of UVC during the webinar “Covid Impacts on the Future of Office Design” hosted by CoreNet Global on June 18.

With touchless, Karnatz pointed out that technology for bathrooms – where viruses can be transmitted regularly – will soon allow lockdowns every 15 minutes to clean them along with faucets that shut off every 20 seconds. Voice activation will also become more prominent.

An acceleration of digital strategies is already taking place. Four types of technology that are often in silos – enterprise, workplace, building systems and process – will integrate.

“Then we can figure out density patterns in space and have the building automation respond more effectively to maintain the quality of the environment,” Karnatz said. “Tenants can look at the environment they’re in and see what the quality is. That empowerment to understand your environment is really what the future looks like.”

Regarding geolocation, Karnatz noted there is sensitivity around anonymity, which can hamper geolocation’s rate of adoption. But by using location-based services including digital credentialing – where your phone is now your key card – ESD clients are in process of deploying integrations such as temperature scanning and facial recognition.

“If we can adopt and deploy ways to utilize people’s location with the right level of privacy, I think we can create a more secure and safer environment for occupants,” Karnatz said.

ESD uses ultraviolet (UV) strategies in buildings, which are effective in killing viruses. But a narrow band of UV has been discovered that may not be not carcinogenic and can kill pathogens in real time.

“Lighting manufacturers are at work adding these add-ons that they can put in fixtures,” Karnatz said. “It’s a really exciting technology.”

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