UK properties “stuck in the Dark Ages”, smart building expert claims

UK properties "stuck in the Dark Ages", smart building expert claims

A leading voice in the global smart building industry is set to fly to the UK and tell delegates at a Midlands conference how cost-cutting and tradition are keeping the country’s commercial properties “stuck in the Dark Ages”.

Tim Miscovich, the outspoken Chief Commercial Officer of tech innovator, wtec, will use his address at the forthcoming Workplace Technology Conference, which takes place in Derby on 6 June, to explain where he thinks the UK is going wrong.

Tim’s firm manufacturers smartengine, a network-powered lighting and sensor technology which provides energy savings and sensor data such as electricity usage, air quality, temperature and room occupancy levels to the building’s management system to enable operators to get a snapshot of their space.

The company has worked in buildings operated by some of the world’s biggest best-known companies – including Google, Meta, Apple, PWC and Gymshark – and it has also fitted its smart building technology within high-profile projects in New York City, including on the 61st floor of SL Green’s iconic ONE Vanderbilt building.

Smart building technology has been widely adopted and understood in the USA, which has embraced its benefits including sustainability, cost-savings and extra comfort that it delivers for the building’s occupants.

By contrast, Tim believes the UK’s take-up of the technology has been disappointingly slow, which he says is due to cultural attitudes towards building methods, taking risks and spending.

Time explains, “Compared to the US, I would say that when it comes to smart building technology, the UK – and in many respects, wider Europe – is, sadly, stuck in the Dark Ages.

“Linking the horizontal and vertical technologies of a building is now becoming a standard practice in the US and other parts of the world, and we are increasingly working with smaller, less well-known firms that are investing in these technologies so they can have the most intelligent, sustainable and user-friendly space.

“Saving energy is at the heart of this. Some people think that because we drive around in big trucks in the States we’re free and easy when it comes to energy use in our buildings, but they couldn’t be more wrong, because reducing energy waste is good business and we’re all about doing things that make sense.

“The UK has made some strides, but it hasn’t got there yet [despite the fact the] technology has been readily available for the last 10 years. I would equate it to the conversion from analogue to VoIP phones.”

Tim will also talk about one bright spot in the UK’s property landscape – Treetops Hospice in Risley, just eight miles away from where the conference is taking place.

The hospice is home to one of the UK healthcare sector’s most advanced buildings: a therapy centre for children who have experienced a bereavement, which was erected as part of the BBC Children In Need’s DIY: SOS last year.

Among the hundreds of plasterers, carpenters and landscape gardeners who gave up their time to create the project was a team from Derby firm, Scenariio, which fitted wtec’s smartengine technology which integrates with the BMS to provide real-time data on aspects such as energy optimisation, human-centric lighting and indoor air quality.

Tim comments, “It’s a perfect example of how everything works together to make the building more energy efficient and comfortable for the people who use it, and I’m looking forward to a visit when I’m in Derby.”

The one-day Workplace conference is being held at Derby’s Chocolate Factory venue, which is downstairs from Scenariio’s offices in Siddals Road.

The event will offer a blend of exhibits and trade stands as well as discussions from Tim and other industry experts looking at issues including how AI can help create intelligent buildings that can offer occupants a more tailored and individual user experience.

George Pritchard, Technical Director of Scenariio, notes, “Tim is right at the cutting-edge of the smart building industry and we’re really looking forward to what he has to say.

“Although he pulls no punches, his comments on how the UK is falling behind when it comes to smart building technology will certainly get people thinking and, we hope, will help to shake up the industry.”

Registration for the event is free, but attendees will be invited to make a donation to Treetops Hospice. For more information and to book your place, visit www.workplacetechnology.io.

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