A smart building may sound like a place where Fry would deliver packages in Futurama, but today, these facilities are often just a combination of the residential smart home experience with the advanced technology of commercial AV. We need only look towards the collaboration of Virginia-based integrators Nard’s and Carr Properties, a commercial real estate investment trust that owns, manages, acquires and develops smart buildings in several U.S cities. Together, both companies have been able to create some astounding spaces and residences within this growing sphere of resimercial — a fusion of residential and commercial — design.
What Carr Does Differently
What separates Carr Properties from most of the market is the company’s dedication to working with local integrators to create a range of smart buildings that use technology many customers are already familiar with.
“What’s really always kind of been the challenge is how do we bring technology that people are used to using in their homes and are used to using in their day to day lives, outside of work, [and] how do we bring that into a workspace and make it very simple to work and make it very simple to operate,” says John Carroll, CTO of Nard’s Inc.
One major benefit from this strategy is that buildings can be tailored to the specific needs of the clients inside, with the URC automation platform providing even more potential to add in as much user-friendly technology as possible. But Carr has done its work to ensure the process goes easy on everyone involved. Unique custom floor plans are eschewed in favor of a template for simple feature swapping where needed.
The Right Platform
For Carr, the URC Total Control platform helps create a unified living and working environment. To that end, they prefer to have each building run on the same type of system, planning AV systems from the bottom up so they have a strong start that allows them to later get into the specific products needed.
“URC has been great … they make their user interface so easy to use, and their backend software almost keeps you from overcomplicating [installs],” adds Caroll.
Now that smart buildings have become a hot commodity, smart building companies like Carr and integrators like Nard’s are using these types of systems to ensure they’re not regularly running into problems.
Added Amenities, Enhanced Monitoring
The approach to smart buildings being taken by Carr and Nard’s also has a bonus to it outside of being able to create adaptable, comfortable spaces: It makes the perfect proving ground for novel technology in both residential and commercial spaces.
With wellness and air quality control being of keen interest to customers due to continued COVID-19 concerns, Carr and crew have been keeping track of demand in its buildings and implementing newer technological innovations in the field. For instance, Carr has taken to consistently using devices like UV Germicidal Irradiance (UVGI) detectors in rooms, circadian lighting and advanced filtration systems to keep its buildings safe and clean.
“I think that there’s going to be a lot of standards when it comes to wellness and health [technology] because people are much more educated right now and they’re going to require visibility,” says Iian Zachar, chief technology officer, Carr Properties.
To provide that visibility, the company can get futuristic with its automation technology, like projecting a report card of the building’s wellness stats or showing residents the availability of rooms on the property with the Carr Properties app. The automation even makes it so that anyone can use the tech after some initial training on the URC Total Control platform.
Carr is even taking steps to add in more fantastic elements to its properties, like DJ decks, podcasting booths, and even karaoke rooms for up-and-coming tech companies looking to differentiate themselves in their office culture.
Another version of this article was previously published in CE Pro.