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CABA releases intelligent buildings and COVID-19 impact review

CABA and Frost & Sullivan unpack the mitigation measures, building re-entry strategies, and facility management implications


December 8, 2020
By SP&T Staff

The coronavirus has brought fundamental change to businesses, with impacts in virtually every industry—and the intelligent buildings industry is no exception. CABA commissioned Frost & Sullivan to evaluate the sector’s challenges and opportunities and identify response measures that will help build resiliency. The first part of that research is now available, focusing on immediate implications, key regulatory guidance, and forward-looking mitigation measures. It is the first of three Modules, with the final two Modules to focus on Technology Potential Evaluation and Future Readiness Assessment.

“Early in the pandemic, organizations across the industry were seeing a profound shift taking place in their business, and they identified an urgent need to bring together actionable data, best practices, and lessons learned to take account of the changes under way,” said Ron Zimmer, CABA’s President & CEO, in a prepared statement. “CABA’s Board of Directors and the Steering Committee for the project recognized that the findings that would emerge at three distinct stages in this research should come out as soon as they became available, so we are very pleased to be able to release Module 1 today.”

The current focus on Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled sensors, AI-driven building solutions, and cloud-based remote services represents the first area of opportunity. Each has become a crucial component of engineering control strategies both to meet workplace safety standards and maintain business continuity.

The coronavirus has also forced building owners and asset managers to evaluate requirements for system upgrades and space reconfigurations. These improvements have a key role to play in ensuring occupant safety and proper social distancing, despite constraints imposed by severe working capital crunches.

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Attention is turning to the technologies and services that support a phased workforce re-entry, as well as to the key components and disciplines that must guide implementation efforts.

Finally, international healthy building standards such as WELL and RESET will take on heightened importance. Facility managers and other third-party certification providers are working to ensure that accredited professionals can assess and certify the health performance of buildings against these new standards.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has injected uncertainty into the intelligent buildings industry, even while it set the stage to accelerate some of the trends that were already definitively shaping this sector,” said Konkana Khaund of Frost & Sullivan. “Taken together, the findings highlight the critical importance of technology implementation to enable the right environmental conditions, mechanical improvements, process changes and above all ensuring health and wellbeing of occupants inside these buildings.”