COVID Effect



COVID-19 has fundamentally changed our lives, the world economy, the world of work, and commercial real estate is no exception. How do you build consumer confidence for re-entry to the physical space is the dilemma for many business leaders right now. For the past year or so, every business essentially ran a forced experiment on working remotely. As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, topics like hybrid work policies and flex spaces are reshaping how we think about the workplace. While the “future workplace” and how to manage it is still being defined, the vital role of how technology can play a part in providing this confidence is in the spotlight now, more than ever before.

Consumer confidence upon re-entry and beyond will be a critical factor. How safe the buildings, the environment, and the people around them are will be key pieces of information, as will the knowledge and proof points that the buildings are clean, sanitary, and safe. These factors are critical as business leaders and property owners reopen across the world.

A recent webinar by JLL Technologies on the impact of COVID on Facilities Management showed that in many cases, the spend increase for cleaning facilities is more than 50 percent. A similar observation was made by other market leaders in the facility management space. The industry is looking to new technological innovations on smart washroom system, and other areas for achieving data-driven, just-in-time cleaning and maintenance that can help mitigate these increasing costs and make buildings safer for the occupants.

In a post-COVID world, many aspects of the traditional, fixed schedule-based cleaning processes will not be scalable. In fact, that is the core of the problem leading to the cost increase. Facilities will need data driven processes to tackle a multitude of new challenges, including:

  1. High touch, high usage areas will need more frequent and deeper cleaning, making it critical to understand usage patterns within the building and how they change over time.
  2. Cleaning crews previously trained to maintain a clean and fresh appearance for the facility while remaining “invisible” now need to do the exact opposite. Cleaning now must become extremely visible to building occupants, so that they feel reassured, comfortable, and safe.
  3. Building occupants will start playing a key role in the cleaning and disinfection process. Cleaning processes and schedules, previously the purview of the facility maintenance company alone, will have a much broader scope, and visibility to consumers.
  4. Due to increased need for deep cleaning in common areas like conference rooms, it is important to optimize the cleaning resources by using data-driven cleaning to keep the expenses in check.

These are fundamental changes to the cleaning process in a post-COVID world, and they show how imperative open technology platforms with distributed, actionable recommendations will be to successfully execute these changes. Given the diverse nature of cleaning requirements, companies will employ a variety of solutions ranging from smart washroom system to other cleaning technologies to meet their needs. This, however, increases the risk of data silos which limit the potential of a data-driven cleaning process.

In order to truly move into a data-driven future, facilities will need open platforms that facilitate information flow across systems, and AI to aggregate and analyze the data for actionable recommendations.”

The past year or so has forces building owners, corporate real estate, and operators to track and act on these accentuated requirements in a more data-driven manner, thus accelerating the digital transformation in front of us today. Technology providers architecting this transformation must consider the need for open systems to share data, data analysis and AI, and how their solution can coexist within a technology ecosystem to provide value that is more than the sum of its parts. Such an ecosystem will not only allow for the ability to tackle the current challenges, but also provides a better tool chain to tackle future challenges, pandemics or otherwise.

Zan Compute, provides an AI driven platform with smart IOT sensors, and has such an open system. Their new cleansparency solution and sensors address many of the points discussed above. To learn more, reach out to them at