Delivering better workplaces with SmartViz and Microsoft Azure

To mark the launch of Buro Happold’s new SmartViz product, Andy Keelin, Partner and global commercial sector lead explores the benefits and opportunities it offers clients and end-users.

SmartViz is Buro Happold’s first software product to be made directly available to clients, making this an exciting moment in our 44-year history.  A unique data and insights platform, SmartViz allows owners and operators to better understand how their assets and people are performing in real-time. Helping inform key decisions in terms of space efficiency, human wellbeing and productivity, and climate resilience. This new venture has been made possible thanks to our partnership with Microsoft and their Azure cloud-based platform.

SmartViz Workplace Analytics is the first in a number of products being launched by Buro Happold to help clients and end users get more from their building assets and improve occupant health, wellbeing and productivity. Image: Buro Happold

As the first in a suite of market-specific SmartViz offerings powered by Microsoft, Workplace Analytics takes the work of our Analytics team to another level. Whether that’s improving how efficiently space is used, enhancing health and wellbeing or moving towards zero carbon operation. It also provides clients with the ability to plan future investments in this rapidly moving sector.

As the use of data to inform decisions continues to grow, we are mindful that concerns about data security can also increase. By using Microsoft’s platforms we ensure that the highest level of information protection is provided while allowing licensed access to authorized users.

Our vision is that SmartViz will be available on the desktop of every key decision maker and employee within an organization, offering them unparalleled insights into how they can get the most benefit from their workspace to improve individuals health, wellbeing and productivity.

We have worked successfully with big-name clients such as Vodafone to gather data from sources as disparate as building management systems, occupancy sensors, security access systems, energy meters, air quality sensors, etc. Turning this data into insights that have enabled them to understand the quality of the internal environment by monitoring parameters such as daylight, CO2 levels, thermal comfort –  and providing users and facilities managers with real-time feedback which can be used to make interventions at the local level or building and portfolio scale which will enhance the environment and hence the wellbeing of staff.

By learning from real data and making adjustments to the workplace – such as layouts, internal temperature, amount of daylight, the position of desks or access to outdoor space – we can create environments that promote safe interaction and collaboration, and actively enhance wellbeing.

The challenge for many building occupiers in the near term will be how to configure their workplaces to allow staff to move around the building safely and preserve social distancing in light of Covid-19. Our Analytics offer has already proved vital in helping clients across the commercial sector, and beyond, reconfigure their buildings to plan how staff circulate and how they can occupy space safely. And, as the requirements for social distancing reduce, we will move into the future workplaces that need to adapt to the changing behaviour and working patterns. Buildings will need to reconfigure workspaces and environment in a way which encourages interaction and collaboration and the cogeneration of ideas that drive the performance of all enterprises.

Using data and insights to optimise how buildings are used and affect positive change for occupants is at the heart of the SmartViz platform.

The challenge to the wider industry is how to provide users with spaces that will enhance wellbeing, keep people safe and reduce the impact of our activities on the environment. Keeping people at the heart of data driven decision making, our SmartViz platform provides the industry with a vital tool to truly understand and improve the relationship between buildings and the people that they support.

By harnessing the digital revolution and combining it with the existing skills and expertise of our international community of experts, we are delivering multi-dimensional engineering solutions. In doing so, we promote safe and positive interaction between people, improve the quality of the built environment and leave the lightest footprint on our planet.

To find out more about SmartViz check out the explainer video below, read our FAQs or visit

Watch our explainer

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