“This is just the tip of the iceberg!”
Andreas Thamm is a “smart office” expert. As Chairman of the Management Board at UBM Development Germany, he is steering the company towards an intelligent future. It is an issue that is particularly relevant in times of COVID-19.
What does smart office actually mean? How would you describe this term?
Andreas Thamm: As I see it, a building is smart when it is connected to the internet and stores data in a cloud environment – data that can then be put to use. This means that there is so much hardware integrated – including sensor technology – that it is possible to understand how people use the building.
What does that mean, specifically? I go inside and …?
Andreas Thamm: You go inside and the building knows you’re there. Then it regulates the lights at your workplace just the way you like them. The technology could also inform your colleagues that, for example, you are already in the office. But, of course, it can also be used for other organizational purposes: first thing in the morning over breakfast, I can see if there’s a desk or parking space available and then book them.
That’s especially important during the pandemic, right?
Andreas Thamm: Right! You can see beforehand if desks have been blocked to comply with distancing requirements. Apart from that, the building’s sensor technology can tell you if you are not adhering to a specified minimum distance or a pre-defined routing.
If it were possible to reduce personnel costs by a small percentage – for instance by lowering sickness rates – this would save millions of euros for large companies.
Andreas Thamm, smart office expert
What is sensor technology, exactly?
Andreas Thamm: The term refers to small electronic components that record defined conditions and changes, for example in brightness, noise, CO2 content, etc.
But it does generate unbelievable amounts of data. Is the new 5G technology essential for this?
Andreas Thamm: Yes! The more modern and high-performance these networks, the better.
What advantages does the smart office have for employers or owners?
Andreas Thamm: As an owner, I would be interested in having low running costs compared with other buildings. And as an employer, I would also be interested in other aspects: people want to work in cool buildings like this. But above all, it’s a question of boosting employee motivation and health by improving the indoor climate and other adjustable factors. If it were possible to reduce personnel costs by a small percentage – for instance by lowering sickness rates – this would save millions of euros for large companies.
It sounds like we are only just beginning to realize everything that is possible …
Andreas Thamm: This really is just the tip of the iceberg. As I see it, if you have more information, you can do more with it than other people. There is great potential for the future here.