• Intelligent Building Technologies
  • Intelligent Buildings
  • Building Systems
  • Building Automation Systems
  • HVAC
  • COVID-19

The Pandemic Creates Host of New Products and Services for Intelligent Buildings: Part 2

Sasha Wedekind
Jun 23, 2020

Smart Building 3

The first part of this blog series discussed new intelligent lighting solutions to help building owners facilitate the safe return of employees and customers to buildings. In this second blog, we examine other products and services being launched to help commercial and institutional facilities manage risks related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Unlike ultraviolet lighting (discussed in the first blog in this series), other solutions proposed by vendors do not have a clear disinfection benefit, but they can help minimize the spread of diseases. Air quality improvement through increased ventilation and filtration, advanced controls, temperature monitoring, and touchless access are some of the services now offered in the market.

HVAC and Controls OEMs Roll Out New Products, Repackage Services

Many OEMs have leveraged their existing solutions, services, and expertise to develop new solutions that help customers safely resume operations. Carrier announced its Healthy Buildings Program, which assembles all of its products and services that facilitate healthier buildings under one umbrella. The program includes safe start services for HVAC equipment; remote energy and airside management; advanced access; and security services. One of the new products that Carrier recently rolled out is its OptiClean Negative Air Machine, which converts normal hospital rooms into airborne infection isolation rooms and prevents contaminated air from spreading to other areas of the hospital.

Honeywell also rolled out its Healthy Buildings solutions. This integrated set of solutions builds upon Honeywell’s Forge intelligent building system to provide facilities managers with a healthy buildings score. The system provides real-time alerts on factors such as indoor air quality, occupant flow, personal protection equipment (PPE) analytics, thermal screening, social distancing, and sanitation efficacy. A part of the solution is Honeywell’s new thermal imaging solution, ThermoRebellion, which measures the temperature of people entering a building. The system can also identify if individuals are wearing required PPE.

Another intelligent buildings vendor that crafted a solution to help clients reopen properties is Facilio. The REbuild solution includes hygiene management, visitor management, touchless controls, portfolio analytics, and compliance. The hygiene management part of the solution supports portfoliowide hygiene compliance; cleaning supplies and inventory management; and hygiene routines and disinfection records.

Siemens is another OEM that released COVID-19-related products. An example product is Siemens’ contactless temperature measurement solution, Siveillance Thermal Shield. Like Honeywell’s solution, Siemens’ product relies on thermal imaging and is marketed primarily to factories, food industry facilities, hospitals, and border crossings. Siemens also released a solution that promotes social distancing in factory settings: SIMATIC Real Time Locating Systems. The solution helps companies continuously measure distances between workers and provides real-time visual feedback to employees regarding their spacing from others.

Pandemic Creates New Use Cases for Technologies Old and New

Safety is the first priority for building owners and facilities staff who are welcoming occupants back into office, retail, education, and other spaces. By emphasizing safety and health, the pandemic encourages the creation of a new set of use cases for many existing technologies. New software and hardware solutions that enable healthier buildings are key to meeting these new customer needs and requirements. As definitions of healthy buildings evolve, vendors are pursuing an opportunity to open new markets and broaden their solution offerings. In the third part of this blog series, we will discuss how the pandemic is affecting solutions in the residential market.