How Johnson Controls (JCI) Is Helping People Safely Return To Work

By Amit Chowdhry ● Aug 28, 2020
  • Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) — the global leader for smart and sustainable buildings — recently announced it is launching a comprehensive suite of digital solutions called OpenBlue Healthy Buildings

Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) — the global leader for smart and sustainable buildings — recently announced it is launching a comprehensive suite of digital solutions called OpenBlue Healthy Buildings to make shared spaces safer as people begin to return to offices.

By combining 135 years of building systems expertise with cutting edge technology, these solutions will protect and instill confidence in building occupants and visitors, minimize disruption should employees test positive for COVID-19, and accelerate building re-occupancy by automating and streamlining safety protocols. 

And customers will also be able to maximize occupancy targets while maintaining safety, understand how their spaces are used and repurposed easily based on data, and help employees be more productive when they are in the office.

OpenBlue Healthy Building solutions — which are integrated but can also be deployed modularly — include a combination of hardware and software like smart equipment, digital sensors, security systems, cameras, monitors, powerful analytics and dashboards, infection control, and other connected devices as well as a mobile app to manage spaces and occupant experiences. Plus the Workplace solution is developed using Privacy by Design and supports Privacy by Default.

Some of the solutions to re-enter, reoccupy, and reimagine include:

1.) Contact tracing: 

Automated contact tracing capabilities are known as the foundational element of this suite of solutions and enable other technologies. And overall, these solutions allow building management and employers to understand risks of exposure for building occupants. 

In the event of an occupant testing positive, the system can retroactively trace person-to-person and person-to-space contact to provide nearly immediate support to Human Resources and Facility teams in reaching out to at risk workers, addressing potentially impacted areas, and taking preventive measures to minimize spread. Contact tracing provides peace-of-mind for employees in the event someone has tested positive.

2.) Social distancing monitoring

OpenBlue Healthy Buildings will monitor social distancing in real-time, which sends violation alerts in case occupants are too close together or spaces become over occupied, enabling extensive compliance reporting and real-time behavior changes to prevent infection spread.

3.) Thermal cameras

In order to ensure a holistic approach to safety, OpenBlue Healthy Buildings includes temperature screening technology that takes measurements while an individual is walking to allow for frictionless entry and exits along with preventing infection spread.

4.) Scenario Planning

Solutions proactively determine the connections between people and spaces, predict the impacts from possible negative events, and enables the intervention before disruption and reduces risk.

5.) Infection control

OpenBlue Healthy Buildings is creating a layered approach to connectivity between various systems integral to infection control. And these include — but are not limited to — systems that reduce indoor and airborne pathogens by increasing outdoor air ventilation, disinfecting ultraviolet C (UV-C) lighting, and remote monitoring of room pressurization, air change rates, humidity, and temperature to create healthier air.

6.) Mapping and monitoring space utilization

The OpenBlue mobile app provides live map views of sanitization status, occupancy data, and recommendations for navigating the building safely in order to maximize and monitor how spaces are being used. And the system is platform agnostic and works seamlessly with existing building management systems to support activities such as booking conference rooms or individual workstations with indication of sanitization status.

7.) Enhanced communication and experiences

The mobile app helps engage employees and occupants in real-time by providing updates about shared spaces and new policies, preferred wayfinding to avoid crowded areas, space availability and safety details, phone as badge access, SOS response, rotational schedule support, health attestation and self-reporting options, etc. These increase communication touchpoints between building management, human resources, and employees for providing real-time information and fuller transparency while also supporting productivity and experience features like calendar integration and comfort control.

“As more buildings welcome back their employees, it’s critical we deploy cutting edge technology coupled with our building expertise to create the smartest, safest spaces and places for occupants and visitors,” said Mike Ellis, executive vice president, chief digital & customer officer at Johnson Controls. “We are innovating with partners and customers to create technology that will transform buildings and spaces, from thermal cameras to contact tracing capabilities, OpenBlue is an end-to-end solution.”