What is smart building technology?

Smart building technology helps facility managers and space planners improve occupancy, utilization and employee productivity. From IoT devices and occupant behaviors, it generates actionable insights to optimize the entire real estate portfolio.

Increase facility utilization

How do you know if you are providing the right types of spaces for your occupants? As the cost of real estate rises, it is critical to identify how spaces are used and ensure that every square inch is being put to work. 

Understand occupancy in real time

Are you efficiently using the space you have or is there more empty space than you care to see? A clear view into how much of your space is occupied at any given time provides you with the data you need to make choices around consolidation or expansion.

Optimize employee workspaces

Employees thrive in spaces that are configured to meet their needs. Space planning ensures the right mix of meeting rooms, collaborative spaces, hot spots and phone booths, enabling you to provide the right spaces at the right time to the people who need them.

Improve space utilization

Information overload makes it difficult to make decisions around space planning. Smart building technology helps you garner actionable insights from the wealth of data collected from IoT sensors and other sources throughout your enterprise. 

Know how much space is being used


With smart building technology, you can use business logic to classify each building, floor and organization. Discover which spaces are over-allocated, optimal, under-allocated or over-capacity. Then use these insights to make better decisions about the utilization of your spaces.

Take advantage of occupancy insights

Smart building technology lets you understand how people occupy your space at different times. You can compare actual occupancy to space assigned, calculate occupancy at the floor level for every building, then aggregate it at the enterprise for ease of analysis. 

Enable buildings to learn, reveal and predict patterns

Drive employee productivity

Smart building technology helps you create an environment so that employees can do their best work. Whether it be a collaborative space with coworkers or a quiet corner for heads-down thinking time, you have the insights to optimize your floorplans for productivity.

Improve energy consumption outcomes

Make better space decisions

As buildings become more connected, the volume of data they produce grows, too. Smart building technology helps you sort through the wealth of data and uncover the strategic insights that drive value for your organization. It’s your single source of truth for reporting and decision-making.

Drive operational efficiency

Product behind this solution

IBM TRIRIGA Building Insights

Deliver insights based on IoT data and building management systems for your enterprise. Analyze the behavior of people and things to identify space utilization and improve operations over time.

Other solutions of interest

Get answers to frequently asked questions about smart buildings

What are smart buildings?

A smart building is one that uses technology to share information about what goes on in the building between systems. The objective is to optimize the building’s performance. Smart building technology can sense, learn and provide insights for better operations.

Smart buildings use connectivity, IoT sensors and the cloud to remotely monitor and control a range of building systems. 

What is the relationship between the internet of things (IoT) and smart buildings?

To act as a "smart" building, data must be collected and analyzed to provide key insights. A critical portion of this data is collected with IoT sensors placed in strategic locations throughout a building. For example, footfall counters, infrared sensors and badge data may be integrated into the building to provide information on where people are at certain times of the day and which spaces are high-traffic areas. 

How do smart buildings help me understand occupancy?

Smart buildings track metrics like occupancy, space utilization and foot traffic to understand where there are inefficiencies and opportunities in a facility. These buildings use inputs from infrared and camera-based sensors, foot traffic, badge and wifi data, and inputs collected from integrated workplace management systems (IWMS). This helps you understand occupancy rate (actual vs. planned occupancy) and occupancy status (is your space allocated correctly) in real time. 

Who benefits from smart buildings?

Smart buildings can positively impact the business and the occupants within the building. For real estate leaders, tracking office space utilization is one of the most important responsibilities with real impact to the bottom line. Facility managers can cut costs by consolidating unused spaces or creating an optimal space plan. 

The HR department can benefit from an employee recruitment perspective — touting the benefits of an optimal workplace environment. Employees benefit from having the right type of workspace when they need it, in the form of collaborative spaces, hotspots or conference rooms of the appropriate sizes. 

How do smart buildings help optimize facility management?

Smart buildings deliver useful, integrated and smart services that help boost employee productivity, better manage costs and reduce the environmental impact over a building’s lifecycle — all of which are vital to facility management. The smartest smart buildings rely on an interconnected platform of Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and analytics technologies, turning previously siloed systems and processes into an integrated workplace management and operations framework. Ultimately, this framework empowers both managers and occupants through visibility, real-time data exchange, actionable insights and system interoperability.

How do smart buildings drive employee productivity?

Integrated workplace and well-being management solutions are designed to help drive employee productivity, performance and longevity. By harnessing an IWMS, such as IBM TRIRIGA, smart building operators have access to insights and information that drive more strategic, employee-focused decisions, such as “Do I have the right types of space for my occupants?” and “What services should I provide to retain talent?”  

An employee-focused smart building is designed to make employees happier, but workers aren’t the only ones who benefit. Employers gain, too, from a better workplace, with real productivity boosts. For example, research shows that companies that rank high in employee engagement experience 21 percent more productivity. These same smart buildings can also act as a differentiator when seeking new talent.

What solutions does IBM provide for smart buildings?

IBM TRIRIGA Buildings Insights integrates with IBM TRIRIGA and uses IoT data to provide a more complete understanding of occupancy and usage across an entire real estate portfolio. With TRIRIGA Building Insights, data silos become a thing of the past, enabling space planners to validate expansion, consolidation and move plans, and to drive the right mix of space. This ensures every square inch of space is optimized. 

How can I speak to a smart buildings expert?