Putting smart technology at the heart of new student accommodation developments will save money, increase outputs and future-proof buildings for the next 50 years, according to a new report. The report, launched by Glide, argues that previous disparate smart technologies need to be packaged into one robust managed service.

It says that through the installation and delivery of integrated services, energy costs could be cut by up to a fifth, gallons of water could be saved each day and extra space opened up to create enhanced living environments – delivering better value for money for students and building operators. Glide’s vision for the next generation of student accommodation – Smart Block – will be launched at the Property Week Student Accommodation Conference on Wednesday 12 December at InterContinental London – The O2.

As well as sponsoring the conference’s Innovation Hub, Glide’s experts will be performing three tech talks. Its stand will also be transformed into a mock student apartment block to showcase what buildings for future students could look like. Glide believes Smart Block infrastructure should be installed to support constantly-evolving technology and promote happier, healthier, safer students. Buildings should use automated processes to manage heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, security and other systems to help deliver a first-class student experience.

A single communication system marshalling devices can be delivered on a much lower cost basis than a traditional Building Management System. The Smart Block is greater than the sum of its parts and within reach for student accommodation.

The report outlines six key features to the success of any new Smart Block:

  • Smart Fibre Infrastructure™ – taking up less space and running more efficiently.
  • Submetering – allowing for room by room analysis, empowering landlords to manage better buildings. This could save 10-20% in energy costs.
  • Managed thermostat heating – driving location-based heating to ensure room temperatures are better managed could deliver 5-20% in energy savings.
  • Water escape – sensors deployed, and automatic stopcocks installed to alert landlords to stop water going down the drain.
  • Water safety – automated safety measurements will deliver real-time alerts on water outlets requiring attention, saving 2-5% in staff costs and early detection of potential contamination.
  • Environment monitoring – real time and historical reporting of temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide, light levels, noise levels, contaminants and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) could help to improve optimum study environments by 2-3.5%.

Tom White, Director at Glide, said: “Students are using the latest consumer technology long before they arrive at university. This brings a level of expectation that devices used for studying, entertainment or comfort will work. At the moment, new buildings are not being commissioned appropriately and they are having to be re-commissioned to make them ‘smart’. The concept of Smart Block needs to be considered at the architectural stage.

“Student accommodation must evolve and channel cost savings into student experience to ensure they don’t get left behind. If students can’t use products and services that they have come to depend on, in a warm and comfortable environment they will go elsewhere or be unhappy. By making building infrastructure future-proof, student accommodation providers can continue to be at the forefront of constantly shifting technologies and focus on meeting the demands of a modern high-bandwidth student community.

“With a versatile infrastructure in place, operators can continue to explore technology that delivers operational efficiency and operational savings. Any cost savings can be channeled into enhancing student experience with solutions like smart thermostats and smart-enabled pervasive wireless and creating amazing spaces where the students’ well-being is actively monitored.

“Smart technology often adds complexity where it should create simplicity. Our aim is to make the complex simple and streamline technology to ensure it stays relevant for today, tomorrow and the future.

To download the Smart Block 2020 whitepaper visit: https://www.glidebusiness.co.uk/smartblock

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