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Microchips in Employees? What Will FMs Be Managing Next?




Naomi Millán September 13, 2017 - Building Automation

You probably saw the headlines on the Wisconsin company that's making microchip implantation an option for its employees. The experiment has already begun, and the rice-size microchip is now riding around in some employees’ hands, facilitating everything from access control to paying for food in the company cafeteria.  Wearables, and implants, are probably going to start playing a greater role in how we interact with the built environment. In the Wisconsin microchip example, they're being used for convenience and facility security, because it's hard to lose or steal a hand. But what I'm excited for is when IoT tech starts tweaking my environment to benefit my wellness.

In the September issue of Building Operating Management there's an article on human-centric lighting. One of the points the author made was that to have lighting systems that can truly support our circadian rhythms, we'd need some sort of wearable device that logs our light exposures as we move throughout our day, and can talk to the lighting systems we're near to ensure our exposures continue on a healthy path. An ongoing research project called Swedish Healthy Home is working with just such wearable light sensors.

Lighting is among the building systems where some pretty advanced options exist to support wellness today. But I have to wonder how the evolution in the Building Internet of Things (IoT) technology and wearables or implants will further affect the interaction between people and the built environment. There could be great potential for increased and more detailed data on the effects of providing easy access to filtered water, for example. Or perhaps a wearable sensor would detect a mid-afternoon slump and automatically tune the lights to provide more stimulus and the HVAC to provide more fresh air.

Of course, that would all come after general acceptance of the technology. A wearable sensor is one thing. An implant is quite another.

This Quick Read was submitted by Naomi Millán, senior editor of Building Operating Management. Microchips represent the bleeding edge of facility management technology. But many facility managers are still challenged when it comes to managing bread and butter occupant complaints regarding temperature control and room cleanliness. Thankfully, FMs often keep a positive (and hilarious) outlook on the situation. Check out their stories and add your own at http://myfacilitiesnet.com/complaints/f/7476

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