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The Pandemic Creates Host of New Products and Services for Intelligent Buildings: Part 1

Krystal Maxwell
Jun 18, 2020

Smart Buildings

The coronavirus outbreak has created unprecedented effects to employment, construction, the supply chain, EVs, air quality, and numerous other business sectors and technologies. Guidehouse Insights has covered these topics in recent blogs. With social distancing requirements, the built environment is under scrutiny. In this time of remote learning, increased working from home, online shopping, restaurants increasing to-go offerings, and growing telehealth options, there is much uncertainty around the use of these buildings. Organizations are launching products and services to help combat this changing landscape and increase safety within buildings. 

The International WELL Building Institute launched a new rating system, the WELL Health-Safety Rating, which provides a third-party rating focused on facilities operations and management across multiple verticals. The new rating system aims to improve operational polices to increase the health and well-being of employees and visitors, streamline maintenance procedures, and help with facility design that will enhance the safety of customers and staff within indoor spaces. Although the number of WELL-certified buildings has grown substantially since the Standard’s launch in 2014, the total number of buildings remains limited. The pandemic, and a new look at health, well-being, and safety within the built environment, could help drive the number of WELL buildings forward. 

Solutions Using UV Lighting

Building vendors are also launching intelligent solutions that promise to improve the safety and health of building occupants. Lighting incumbent, Signify, has expanded its Ultraviolet C (UV-C) lighting product line to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The company’s product line includes lamps and drivers that emit a wavelength within the 200-280 nm that has been proven to disinfect water, surfaces, and air by breaking down viruses. Signify’s products are intended for use across verticals ranging from hospitals and schools to transportation and industrial buildings, among others. 

Smart building vendor, Igor, recently announced the launch of its new solution, Nexos Intelligent Disinfection. Another solution based on UV-C lighting, this offering provides automated disinfection of surfaces through a combination of UV-C lighting and Internet of Things controls. The company’s offerings are available via Power over Ethernet and allow for the integration of other disinfection systems, such as air purifiers or gas vaporizers. 

Despite the promises of UV-C lighting to kill airborne viruses, such as the virus that causes COVID-19, they can be damaging to human skin. Both Signify and Igor have noted caution used with these solutions, and the incorporation of intelligent controls to help mitigate risk. The potential benefits of UV-C solutions make it a promising offering during this time to increase health, safety, and well-being within the built environment. Beyond UV-C lighting, other products and services are being launched with the same goals as UV-C lighting and are discussed in greater detail here.