2021 Trend Almanac: Technologies and trends that will dominate the business and consumer landscape. Get instant access
Connected Places are human-made environments that are outfitted with a network of sensors to supply owners, occupants, and managers with invaluable information about the condition and usage of those locations. A connected, built environment could be a building with a network of motion sensors and temperature controls or a vehicle that tracks and communicates its location, performance, and maintenance requirements in real-time.
Connected places can reduce corporate energy costs through informed adjustments of heating, cooling, and lighting based on occupancy or changes in weather. Predictive maintenance of plumbing, heating and cooling systems, or other infrastructure systems can reduce expensive repairs and occupant displacement. Security and surveillance systems use sensors and facial recognition to alert occupants when spaces become available or unrecognized visitors enter the premises.
New technologies facilitate physical, social, and digital connectivity. New materials and engineering techniques used to create bridges, skyscrapers, and railways improve physical connectivity. Social connectivity is enhanced through urban design and civic infrastructure. The importance of digital connectivity in the current world is constant, and innovations in internet-connected sensors, telecommunications technology, and powerful data processing are all ways in which connected places promote digital connectivity. Applying emerging technologies to the environments where people live and work not only drives connectivity, but also empowers innovative new services and increases productivity.
One example of a connected place is a connected factory. Connected factories are manufacturing facilities that utilize digital technology to power information sharing between people, sensors, and machines. The benefits of a connected factory are sustainable quality and productivity, which ultimately leads to increased profitability. Connected factories also entrust shop floor workers with the digital solutions required to develop more creative and impactful manufacturing processes.