Based on its own experience of converting its world-wide headquarters of 120 years, the Zurich’s Quai Zurich Campus (QZC) global headquarter at Mythenquai, Zurich is now promoting the smart building concept through its insurance proposition for all commercial buildings.

Building and re-furbishing for energy efficiency, adaptation to flexible ways of working, and constant 24/7 intelligence gathering with digital monitoring, brings total security as well.

Zurich UK says its smart building proposition aims to “…help businesses cut property losses while boosting sustainability.”

Refurbishing Zurich’s 120 years-old headquarters

Zurich’s own head-quarter’s redevelopment formed the template and brings together its existing heritage properties and state-of-the-art new building features. They’ve managed to totally maintain the company building’s heritage while at the same time incorporating many new features, demonstrating – as the video shows – the company’s commitment to innovation and sustainability.

Together with IoT (Internet of Things) specialists, akenza, Zurich has managed to incorporate an ecosystem of sensors and smart solutions into its “new” headquarters building to optimize and offer the ideal human-centric building usage experience.

Taking the opportunity of a major renovation, the company implemented building monitoring and facility management functionalities. These include for example, occupancy tracking, facility monitoring, people flow counting, and critical asset monitoring.

Implementing multiple Internet of Things solutions, the QZC is equipped with state of the art smart building technology. The the company admits that, “adaptation and digitization can be daunting to many, as the growing options, from hardware producers over to connectivity technologies can be overwhelming and cost countless resources if not planned and executed correctly.”

Zurich’s new insurance proposition

Nevertheless, the insurance company is pushing for the self-installed devices and the so-called “Zurich insight” technology, to be incorporated into the buildings it insures. The new proposition, the company claims, allows for real-time monitoring of a commercial building’s ‘health’.

The sensors – which can be used in all kinds of commercial premises, in manufacturing and warehousing facilities, schools, hotels, offices, retail buildings, etc. – collect operational and environmental information which, the company says, “is then analysed against the insurer’s risk grading factors and best practice on sustainability.”

“The goal is to provide actionable insights not only to improve efficiency but also identify issues before they would normally be detected. A live dashboard allows customers to set notification alerts when specific data points hit certain thresholds, while a 60-day health check report offers risk reduction suggestions, among other things.”

Zurich Resilience Solutions property and energy head Louise Kerrigan says:

“Not only do smart sensors improve a building’s efficiency, they also reduce risks, insights from the sensors can help detect dangers in real time, alerting building managers and helping them take action to mitigate or remove threats before they become loss events. This saves costs, improves business resilience, and keeps people safe.”

The company claims its proof of concept being: it has already saved an estimated £7,500 per building after installing the sensors in several Zurich UK offices.

Zurich’s UK innovation head Mark Budd says:

“Unlocking the power of data is the key to achieving safer, smarter, and more sustainable buildings. By providing more effective controls over energy usage, this technology can help businesses to enhance their efficiency, reduce utility costs, and promote a greener workplace. This is even more critical as firms adapt to changing occupancy levels brought on by agile working.”

Useful Zurich webinars here

Smart Buildings, the future?

In 2020, 75% of real estate executives polled by Deloitte anticipated that smart buildings would become the norm within five years. Despite an increasing number of smart building lighthouse projects, this expectation has not yet been fulfilled. Market participants are still facing a lot of uncertainty around this topic.

There are obviously barriers as well as drivers for the future of smart buildings, based on a set of interviews with different market participants from both the owner/developer and the user side.

In 2016, the Deloitte office in Amsterdam (“The Edge”) opened. At the time, it was the “smartest building in the world. Since then Deloitte has observed an increasing interest in various smart building projects in the market. However, market participants are still struggling to incorporate smart buildings into their corporate strategy in order to implement and operate them on a large scale.

As owners now anticipate the changes needed to bring their buildings up to the new environmental and energy efficiency standards, incorporating smart technology might just be the way to go?

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