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PropTech is being rapidly integrated into buildings to meet a wide range of security needs, reports Switched On Space.

The last 2 years have seismically shifted the security landscape. Irreversibly so. The explosion of flexible, hybrid working – compounded by a greater attention to health and safety – has fuelled this flux.

Security must adapt to the rise of the “phygital” space, whilst the definition of public safety has expanded to encompass the prevention and minimisation of virus outbreak. According to Brivo’s 2021 Smart Security Trends Report, 75% of respondents have said that the pandemic has increased the importance of physical security in their organisation; security is the basic need on which all others depend.

When returning to workplaces, campuses or any other public setting, the establishment and installation of proper safety measures are a top priority. People expect clear communications and updates on building protocols and cleaning, along with effective contact tracing abilities. In fact, the shift towards shared or co-working spaces, touchless experiences and enhanced security have escalated from luxuries to necessities. So, what is the solution to this security demand?


PropTech – or property technology – is the integration of technology and software to assist in real estate needs. Historically, the built environment has been characteristically slow to adopt new technologies despite real estate representing the world’s largest asset class – approximately $326 trillion (EG Propertylink). That’s an eyewatering three times more the total value of all publicly traded companies.

Now, however, this is finally changing. The opportunity is ripe. The pandemic has accelerated a second digital revolution, unparalleled since the dot-com boom of the early 2000s. Deloitte’s 2020 CRE Outlook indicates that 92% of CRE executives plan to maintain or increase PropTech investments in the coming 18 months. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to remain a catalyst for innovation, we witness the digital transformation of brick-and-mortar buildings.

At its crux, PropTech provides smart solutions to daily problems. Buildings are rendered into smart buildings, and in turn, smart buildings will become the foundation for smart cities; buildings are not just bricks, they are data as well. Once this data is collected, connected and utilised, buildings get better.

Secure applications

How exactly does PropTech satisfy our wide-ranging security needs? Primarily through IoT and sensor technology which provide buildings with real-time data and analytics. Multiple granular data points across buildings are used to better monitor and understand how a space is used, bridging the gap between physical and digital worlds.

Sensors facilitate a wealth of security applications, including facial authentication, occupancy management, traffic control, temperature sensing and room ventilation. Big data becomes thick data. Moreover, IoT and cloud migration across a PropTech stack ensures all this data is reliably accessible, anywhere.

Crucially, PropTech solutions take the burden off building managers and occupants in creating a healthy, flexible and secure environment. By improving a building’s physical security posture, enhancing occupant experience and managing information flow, these technologies will make buildings more efficient and profitable for owners. Increasingly, we will see CRE developers and security professionals asking how they build a building around technology, rather than the other way round; the built environment is facing its e-commerce moment.

Switched On Space

Let’s face it, new technologies can be intimidating and painful until they are seamlessly integrated and everyone knows how to use them. At the same time, because the market is so intensely saturated with new products and gadgets, it can feel impossible to know which is even the right product for you in the first place.

E-commerce and social media platforms have taught us that understanding customer and user behaviour is the keystone to driving value. In the physical space, we’ve made limited progress with this technology. Enter Switched On Space. As a UK start-up founded in 2020, we’re helping individuals and organisations navigate this era of smart stuff. We help people better understand how, why and when they use their space. From here, security can be optimised and spaces become intelligent.

Through our strategic partnerships, we identify and curate best-in-class PropTech and smart solutions. We are building a team of industry professionals who understand the challenges of real estate and can see the value PropTech can bring to this space. Learning directly from our partners, we share experience and expertise to reduce operational complexities.

At Switched On Space, we appreciate that security and PropTech markets are unnecessarily fragmented and convoluted. This is why we assist and provide technical support. After identifying the right product solution, the integration of these technologies is the most important aspect. We ensure that this is always seamless, centralised and stress-free.

A space quest

With a cohesive community of channel partners, Switched On Space aims to be the leading UK distributor and agent of commercial PropTech and we introduce our product partners to growing markets. Through our accessible, authoritative and familial voice we strive to become a thought leader in the field, particularly since we believe the future is exhilarating and exciting and we want as many people as possible on board throughout our quest – continuing to discover and unlock the potential of indoor spaces whilst always ensuring maximum security.

Our host of PropTech offers unique and high impact solutions to a wide cross-section of environments. These include universities and educational solutions, financial services, healthcare, government, stadiums, arenas as well as general security. However, we don’t like to limit our customers or end users. We believe that the solutions on offer can be adopted by and integrated into any business of any size, reshaping the way in which they improve physical security. If technology has no limits, why should we?

Smart, secure partners

Let’s take a dive into the handful of the solutions that we provide. With autonomous, touchless access control booming in recent months, Alcatraz AI has redefined physical security by providing an innovative facial authentication solution that leverages artificial intelligence, analytics and the unique power of the face to make safer spaces possible. It features multi-factor authentication – 2FA or 3FA solution for higher security areas – as well as tailgating intelligence with real time notifications.

Proxy is another one of our partners delivering privacy-first, human-led identity technologies. Proxy readers can be installed anywhere in your building and offer a fast track for seamlessly upgrading to mobile-first access. Their private and secure enterprise-grade mobile access solution unlocks a truly touchless experience.

Switched On Space also provide solutions for all sensor and real time occupancy data needs. Density, the world’s most accurate people counter, helps you to make safer, more cost-effective decisions about your space. Anonymous by design, it seamlessly counts people as they move through any entry point or open space; this enables users to test office configurations, predict demand and manage overcrowding. Density can handle multiple points of entry, group and bi-directional movement, unlimited nested spaces, regional data and sprawling and multi-national portfolios of any space type.

Head of Retail for Rough Trade (UK), Kyle Hougham, remarks: “Density has given Rough Trade the confidence to reopen our stores safely during COVID-19 and for each management team, the data they need to plan resources. The best-in-class API has integrated seamlessly with our systems and this is a big advantage for us.”

Finally, Sensedge by Kaiterra is an air quality monitor to indicate the health of your indoor spaces whilst providing real time data on how to improve ventilation. It is the first in the industry to use removable sensor modules to replace costly calibration processes for long term accuracy with minimal maintenance. Breathe safe. Breathe smart.

The blended model of flexible working is here to stay, combined with advanced and ubiquitous security protocol. For the security and PropTech sectors – which have become enmeshed – this poses massive opportunity. Security is essential to PropTech and PropTech is foundational to security. Access control is not just simply a security system anymore, but also an occupant experience differentiator. User experience is a key design principal for security applications.

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This article was originally published in the January 2022 edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.