Can sensor technology help keep office workers healthy?

Ms. Stanton has spent time with property managers, learned about the commercial real estate industry and reviewed data. “I realized that we already had enough real estate in the big cities,” she said. “We don’t need to build more buildings; we need to use them better.

The company’s technology is also used to improve workplace efficiency, including the use of space when offices move to shared office systems, in which employees are not assigned to desks. specific but rather grouped together if necessary. It can be used to reserve offices or conference rooms, to reduce energy consumption by controlling lighting or heating and air conditioning, and even to monitor water flow to detect leaks. Many companies using this technology have found they can reduce their real estate footprint by 20% or more, according to Stanton.

OpenSensors customers include Zaha Hadid Architects, which has used the company’s technology as a general aid in creating simulated design models, and Arup, a British engineering firm, which has used OpenSensors to monitor populations. of bats in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. (Bats are considered an indicator species, reflecting the general health of the natural environment.)

As Bryon BeMiller, who markets smart building technology for Semtech, a semiconductor supplier, said: “It provides a lot of very useful data to companies in terms of the efficient use of the space they rented ? Do they need more offices, less offices? Do they need more common spaces, less common spaces? »

But keeping workers healthy is perhaps the most important use of technology these days. In a recent paper on airborne transmission of respiratory viruses, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, researchers found that the optimal level of indoor CO2 to prevent disease was 700 to 800 parts per million. with a minimum ventilation rate of four to six air changes per hour.

A recent Science article on fighting indoor respiratory infections notes that governments have invested heavily in food security, sanitation, and clean water for public health purposes, but airborne pathogens and respiratory infections , whether seasonal flu or Covid-19, have been largely ignored.

“We spend 70 to 80 percent of our time indoors,” Ms. Stanton said, “so air filtration is very important, especially from a productivity perspective.”


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