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One Of The World’s Most Innovative Developers Is Becoming A Software Company, Too

Edge is using its smart building platform to try and help occupiers come back to the office safely.

Dutch developer Edge has set up a new venture that will allow other owners and developers to rent or buy a smart building technology system from it.

Edge, renowned for building highly sustainable and tech-enabled buildings, has set up a new division called Edge Next, which will allow the owner of any building to use sensors and data management and analytics software developed by Edge. 

It is one of the first developers globally to move into the realm of “software as a service” rather than simply building assets.

The platform can be merged with existing building management systems to provide data on things like energy usage, air quality, indoor comfort and occupancy. The sensors can be plugged into a standard plug socket and Edge provides advice to users on the best way to use these and the software platform.

Having access to occupancy data allows for the optimisation of space usage, which can increase operational efficiencies and lower overhead costs, Edge said. For example, the Edge Next platform can correlate light levels, occupancy and temperature data to shut off lighting, heating and cooling systems when spaces are unoccupied, enabling significant energy savings without compromising the health and wellbeing of building users.

As occupants of office buildings seek ways to come back to the workplace safely in the light of the coronavirus pandemic, Edge said the platform can help owners and occupiers measure the air quality of a building, or when there are too many people in a particular room or area.

The office building developed by Edge for Deloitte in Amsterdam has been called the most sustainable in the world. Its joint venture partners include TIAA-owned Nuveen. 

“We’ve had a lot of traction with our existing clients,” Edge Next Director Sandra Gritti told Bisnow in an interview. “They were telling us, it’s great to have one smart building, but what about the rest of our portfolio? We wanted to service that, and that’s when it becomes interesting — when we can compare different buildings and different types of buildings.” 

Gritti said the new platform was trialled with some of the company’s existing clients, and will now be rolled out more widely. She said the platform could be used in buildings of almost any age and with any building management system. 

She added the company brought on new staff with expertise in software development and sales, and this new initiative has the potential to become a significant revenue stream. 

“Obviously today it is not comparable to our real estate arm, but we want to become a big global player in software as a service. We have ambitions to grow this to a large, self-sustaining stand-alone business.”