The advent of smart buildings

  • Office
  • Smart building


As the real estate sector strives to combine technological progress with respect for the environment, smart buildings offer a solution to the many challenges facing the field.

What is a smart building?

A smart building is a building in which cutting-edge technology enhances the user experience while optimising the building’s management system and environmental impact.

Smart buildings seek to meet the challenges of combining well-being and security with energy performance. To achieve this, they integrate digital systems tasked with optimising energy consumption while improving occupants’ comfort.

The ingenuity of these buildings also lies in their ability to learn and adapt in response to occupants’ behaviour patterns . They are notably fitted with automated systems that adjust lighting, temperature and even air quality in real time, depending on human presence and prevailing weather conditions.

Integrated systems collect data on an ongoing basis, thereby optimising energy management to reduce both costs and environmental impact. However, smart building design is not just about saving energy. It also involves the judicious management of resources, such as water and waste, and ensures seamless blending into the urban ecosystem

More than just living areas or workspaces, smart buildings become key players in the transition towards more sustainable and resilient cities, reflecting the commitment to a development philosophy that considers both present and future generations

How does the smart building concept contribute towards reducing a building’s carbon footprint?

Smart building design plays a key role in reducing a building’s carbon footprint. Incorporating innovative technologies into the building makes it possible to optimise consumption in order to increase energy efficiency.

Resource management is fine-tuned through data collection, thus promoting responsible consumption and the integration of renewable energies. Predictive maintenance also helps keep the building and its systems in perfect working order.

As part of the deployment of its service offering, for several years Covivio has been developing its smart building expertise and designing “smart ready” buildings offering maximum comfort for occupants. Specific features of these buildings include:

  • detailed data analysis for simplified and optimised daily management of the building,
  • an IT service offering of shared services…
  • …supplemented by individual custom services.

How does the smart building impact the occupants’ experience?

Smart buildings go beyond conventional technical advantages by harnessing technology for the benefit of people. This approach is reflected in improved efficiency and productivity achieved through smart management of spaces and resources.

As such, Covivio offers intuitive, user-friendly solutions allowing each occupant to easily log onto the building’s infrastructure from any device, in keeping with the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) concept.

Smart building services are fully designed, set up and managed by Covivio and are available in all multi-tenant buildings:

  • Connectivity (mobile and Internet): provision of a secure reliable network.
  • Audiovisual solutions: meeting room facilities, business centres, conference halls, event and meeting spaces, etc.
  • Mobile application: Witco, a digital solution acting as a one-stop shop giving employees access to all on-site services.

Covivio’s 6,500 m² European headquarters are a perfect illustration of the Group’s  smart building expertise. Named “L’Atelier” and located in Paris, the building boasts fully-fledged smart building architecture while acting as a perfect testing ground for Covivio’s teams to fine-tune the company’s “core model smart” and dream up the solutions of the future.

In the residential sector, Covivio also enhances the tenant experience by offering smart apartments allowing remote control of lighting, heating and security systems via smartphone apps, providing a tangible improvement to the quality of daily life.       

BIM, a smart building performance driver?

BIM (Building Information Modelling) refers to a working method and set of technologies that make it possible to digitally model a building, not only in its physical structure but also in its functional characteristics. 

BIM facilitates the design, construction and management of smart buildings by providing detailed understanding and effective management of all information related to the building. This approach enables better coordination between various stakeholders, optimisation of construction costs and timeframes, as well as more efficient management of the building throughout its life cycle, thereby helping to maximise its performance  .

What is BOS?

The BOS (Building Operation System) is a key innovation in smart building management  that is often integrated through BIM. In a sense, the BOS is the building’s “IOS”. By capturing data and analyses in real time, the system promotes more efficient management and maintenance of the building throughout its life cycle.

The BOS acts as a common reference framework that centralises and organises data from multiple sources such as digital modelling, building management systems (BMS), computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS), tenant apps and IOT sensors. This information is qualified, enhanced and structured in such a way as to improve the overall understanding of the building.

The BOS generates a set of dashboards offering a clear overview of occupancy, comfort, maintenance and consumption. It also enables real-time warning escalation and the creation of automation scenarios, as well as optimised building management. As a result, occupants enjoy a more comfortable and more responsive working and living environment.

What are the main data security challenges facing the smart building?

While offering considerable benefits in terms of comfort and operational management, the smart building faces major challenges in terms of data security. The connectivity and automation that guarantee the success of the smart building are also backdoors for significant cybersecurity risks. 

The security of people and property is a key issue in these buildings. With its plethora of connected devices, the smart building requires specific and tailored cyber protection

To effectively protect data in a smart building, robust security strategies are put in place, including access monitoring and management, firewall installation and staff and user training on cybersecurity best practices.

Aware of these issues, Covivio has taken steps to improve data security in its buildings. With assistance from Mazars, the Group launched a comprehensive cybersecurity assessment of its offices in France. This process involved mapping the real estate portfolio to identify risks and assess existing cybersecurity measures. Based on this analysis, Covivio developed specific recommendations and action plans leading to the drafting of a Security Assurance Plan. The plan sets out the Company’s commitments and consolidates best practices in terms of cybersecurity, thereby ensuring robust protection across the entire portfolio.

What certification and compliance criteria apply to smart buildings?

The certification and compliance criteria for smart buildings cover a range of key aspects including energy efficiency, user experience quality, connectivity, data security and system interoperability. 

Important certifications include the WiredScore and SmartScore international labels, which assess building connectivity, the user experience and the sustainability of technological foundations. Meanwhile, the R2S (Ready2Services) label guarantees well-being, performance and sustainability, applying specific criteria for connectivity, network architecture and system security.

These certifications set high standards for building efficiency, sustainability and functionality. They ensure that smart buildings are designed and managed in accordance with best practices, thereby offering sustainable benefits to users, owners and the environment.

The smart building provides an integral solution to contemporary sustainability and technological innovation challenges. It redefines our way of living and working by integrating digital and other technologies deep inside our living spaces, thereby promoting energy efficiency, comfort and safety for occupants. 

Given its compliance with strict certification standards and the attention paid to cybersecurity risks, the smart building is a model for future construction, embodying a synergy between progress and respect for the environment.

And this synergy is the key to transforming, not only our physical spaces, but also our collective impact on the world around us.