5 Reasons Financial Institutions Should Convert to Smart Buildings

5 Reasons Financial Institutions Should Convert to Smart Buildings

Financial institutions, factories, warehouses and workplaces of every kind are still in lockdown or, at a minimum, operating at a fraction of their normal capacity due to safety restrictions put in place. This shutdown is expected to last until there is a vaccine available for the virus. The costs of the lockdown, already enormous, will reach inconceivable levels if it goes much further into the future. As a result the C-level suite needs to implement a variety of safety measures that address these risks and mitigate them accordingly. This includes new policies around building access in general, visitor management, space occupancy, social distancing, health checks and space disinfection. Given the wide spectrum of location-based solutions, financial institutions need to start making their buildings smarter, safer, and more efficient.

What are Smart Buildings?

Smart buildings are buildings using automated processes to manage inventory and assets, increase productivity, safety and security through location-based services. Only a few years ago, the idea of smart buildings seemed unlikely. Thanks to the IoT and today’s constantly developing technologies, any building or structure, whether it’s brand new or older, can be converted into a smart building.

Smart buildings operate at much greater efficiency by gathering data and using it to make continual adjustments and improvements. They also utilize technology like contact tracing to bring operational areas of the facility together through the power of IoT to work in harmony.

Why Should Banks and Financial Institutions Convert Into Smart Buildings?

With everything smart building technology has to offer through contact tracing and more, there are many good reasons why banks and financial institutions should convert their buildings and facilities. Here are 5 specific reasons that banks should use smart buildings.

1. Safety and Security

Through the use of contact tracing, banks and financial institutions can provide greater security for their on-site assets, their staff and customers. Wearable badges are used so the system can prevent unauthorized parties from entering restricted areas or entering the building at all. Not all bank employees need access to the cash vault or to customer safety deposit boxes. Not all bank employees need access to on-site data centers.

Tracing can also be used for proximity alerts while we’re still navigating the Covid-19 pandemic. The primary challenges ahead start with preventing the spread of Covid-19 at any cost within workplaces. Identifying and controlling the spread and the infection chains as early as humanly possible are right behind, as they are needed to contribute to the overall well-being of society and the economy. Disinfecting spaces and surfaces in which the Covid-19 virus can and could spread will and must be of the highest priority. Badges can help prevent a large number of people from congregating in a single area. It can also help remind employees and visitors to use proper social distancing.

2. Meeting Room and Building Occupancy

Employees often spend one-third of their day in meetings, typically in spaces dedicated to that purpose. These rooms should be easily accessible and not require manual searching or excessive amounts of time to find and reserve. Complaints about the lack of availability of a meeting room are among the most common for facility managers. 

Also, meeting rooms are often not used effectively. As often the only quiet space in the work environment, meeting rooms are frequently occupied by people who want to work alone or for private phone calls. Also, meeting room sizes can be much too small or too large for the group that needs a meeting space. 

Another problem is that some of the meeting rooms are reserved but not used. Because of scarcity, people book meeting rooms “to be safe”, sometimes not showing up and abandoning the booking without updating the booking system. Meeting time change. Sometimes end early or get canceled altogether. How often do you update your room reservations when plans change? If you’re being honest, the answer is hardly ever. As a result, organizations experience reduced team productivity and/or reduced individual productivity while wasting expensive real-estate.

With location data you can:

  • Increase Employee Satisfaction: Minimize the number of meeting room-related complaints facility management is receiving from employees with real time occupancy data and historical analytics. 
  • Improve Productivity: Minimize the time it takes to settle a dispute about the number of meeting rooms available.
  • Optimize the Facility Space: Adapt the meeting room size to the typical requirements of the organization.

3. Visitor Tracking

Some work spaces can welcome very significant numbers of visitors. Among them can be potentially bad actors and others who do not conform to company safety and security policies.

As a result, visitors frequently require escort by a company employee, creating additional demands on employee time along with liability issues. As a result, when an escort is not effective or cannot be arranged, visitors may gain access to sensitive company assets and inflict significant economic or reputational damage. Option for supporting security personnel and tracing historical visitor movements inside buildings for investigative purposes are limited. 

Facility management needs more reliable and effective tools for monitoring the location of visitors at all times. They need the ability to determine if a visitor is entering a restricted area and prevent them from stealing or gaining access to sensitive information. Being able to determine if and when a visitor has left the building or a particular area, and being able to document it digitally, would also be a very effective tool. 

With location data you can:

  • Protect Confidential Data: Minimize the likelihood of an event in which a visitor is exposed or gains access to confidential information from the company, e.g. gets access to customer names or product roadmaps.    
  • Increase Security: Minimize the likelihood of an event in which a visitor deviates from his path or in which an escorted visitor is left alone.

4. Greater Energy Efficiency and Lower Consumption

Since energy is one of the biggest operational expenses of any commercial business, the opportunity for energy optimization that smart buildings offer is a huge benefit. As much as a third of an average operating budget goes to energy consumption. With smart buildings, the building’s status is constantly monitored and adjusted. The system will continually adjust to achieve maximum efficiency. 

With more efficient energy use comes lower consumption. Smart building implementation can help reduce your company’s energy costs as much as 35%. Estimates show that HVAC uses as much as 80% of the average building’s total energy consumption which is significant. With numbers like that, an investment in smart building integration is a substantial return on investment.

5. Muster Management 

Many buildings are already equipped with access control systems that count the number of people entering and exiting their space. However, during an emergency evacuation, all exits are open and it is not possible to accurately scan and count all entries and exits. As a result, building security is completely blind and has to rely on time-consuming and error-prone manual people counting in muster areas (assembly areas) and pre-set lists. As a result, first responders are forced to visually scan the building, often in dangerous conditions involving fire and smoke, to ensure no trapped or injured people are left behind. This method is inaccurate, wastes time and endangers lives. 

In crisis conditions when every second counts, building management and emergency responders need to be able to instantly and accurately count the number of people in a building and at particular assembly points. Being able to quickly inform first responders about the whereabouts of missing people in the case of an evacuation event is key to a safe resolution to the crisis. 

  • Respond Faster to Emergency Events: Minimize the time it takes to get a complete picture of the situation in case of an evacuation event.
  • Create a Safer Workplace: Automate the count and identification of the locations of staff and visitors.
  • Increase Safety: Minimize the time first responders need to find and rescue trapped or injured people.

 

In today’s world, constant advancements in technology help to add a whole new level of convenience and efficiency into our everyday lives. Enhancing the employee and customer experience in smart building goes beyond providing conveniences to boosting the bottom line of many operations. Kontakt.io offers a rapid solution fulfilment model, unlocking value and delivering an immediate positive impact on business outcomes. If you think your bank or financial institution could benefit from converting its building or facility into a smart building contact us today

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  • Aneta Ciurkot
  • Product Marketing & Partnership Manager

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