Smart Buildings - not all just bricks and mortar

by DLA Piper
Contact

DLA Piper

Imagine a day where any part of a building can report its own state of health, when a machine can tell you if its feeling unwell and 'needs a service', when you can track and prevent, before it happens, a water or gas leakage - all from the convenience of your own smartphone or laptop at home.

This is no longer imagination - this day is now!

The real estate industry is fast becoming influenced by rapid technological advancements. Technology is a significant source of disruption and opportunity particularly in buildings and modern infrastructure. Buildings are changing, they are no longer just bricks and mortar. While it's not new for technology to form part of the inner workings of a building, sophisticated and advanced technologies are now being integrated into underlying designs and building management systems that underpin most modern building structures. These building management systems are no longer fully segregated from conventional IT networks, such as servers, customer relationship management or online payment systems. Buildings are becoming more mobile, flexible and connected - in effect becoming 'smart'.

Landlords, tenants and owners are becoming increasingly reliant upon, and are leveraging, sophisticated new technologies in the day to day use of spaces, resulting in greater amounts of data being captured in buildings, office towers and homes around the country. Digital technology is reportedly being used by owners and landlords to assist in brick and mortar sales. For example - in retail centres, with the goal being to guide a customer from the start of their product acquisition right through to purchase i.e. a customer searches for a product on Google, finds the product at the shopping centre, is digitally guided by the landlord / centre to an open parking space at the property and then to the store to collect the product.

In hotels, cashless payment technologies are used to increase on-site spending patterns. In offices, mobile and wireless technologies support recent trends towards more open and collaborative workspaces. Employee movements around a floor can be recorded - the resulting data can be put to multiple uses - i.e. by staff to work out where may busy or quiet in the office or by organisations to cut cleaning costs, allowing them to focus on cleaning busy areas rather than unused areas. Lighting, humidity and temperature can all be pre-recorded and customised, window coverings can be programmed to block harsh light at certain times of the day, security passes can record movements and time entries, or indeed facial recognition can replace card activation altogether.

It's abundantly clear that such 'smart' buildings are invaluable for landlords in automating building management systems, for employers in improving workplace management and the work environment, and for tenants in increasing footfall to their unit. The data collected can be put to a myriad of uses, including increased efficiency and reduced maintenance costs. But, as with all big data collection, the use, storage and processing of personal information, raises a number of specific privacy, security and contractual issues for all involved.

In particular, employers need to consider the impact of workplace surveillance legislation and regulations in a number of States and Territories and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) when collecting data relating to their employees and ensure that they have appropriate arrangements in place to notify their employees in advance of any potential surveillance.

Landlords, tenants, operators and managers must all be cognisant of their legal obligations and responsibilities in complying with applicable privacy laws when collecting personal data. Are you collecting more than you need or holding for longer than necessary? When a data breach occurs that causes serious harm to an individual, are you aware of your obligations under the new mandatory data breach notification requirements?

If this breach impacts more than one individual (i.e. tenants of a building), who is liable? How has contractual liability for personal data breaches been apportioned? Do you know what action to take if the building becomes a target for cyber criminals? How current are your incident response plans? When were they last tested?

Security breaches in smart buildings are becoming increasingly common with cyber criminals targeting vulnerable building management systems, for example the most recently reported attack on government facilities. Retailers and tech giants are also not immune with Google's building management system in Sydney being infiltrated by researchers seeking to prove a point. It goes without saying that apart from the costs, the significance of data and security breaches can cause (sometimes irreparable) damage to an organisation's reputation and bottom line. The recent vulnerability in Target's HVAC platform allowing access to the credit card information of millions of customers being a case in point.

The most recent ransomware cyber-attack 'WannaCry' which impacted multiple organisations and governments in over 150 countries around the world, brings home to all of us the inherent vulnerability in many organisation's existing infrastructure to cyber-attacks. Albeit outdated software was the focus in this incident, the importance of security vigilance by all organisations cannot be overstated. In Australia, smaller businesses in particular are also at greater risk, according to a recent cyber report from the Turnbull government.

Owners, landlords and tenants of smart buildings would be wise to closely consider their data and security protocols and the types of information and data they may be collecting through the use of advanced systems in buildings and how best to protect users from exposure of personal information. Cybersecurity and data protection are not just issues for the IT department, they are business critical issues which must be addressed at the highest level. Advanced data encryption, tested security protocols, privacy and security by design processes, compliant data policies and procedures and a heightened awareness of these issues and risks will ensure a long reign to the smart buildings of our future.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© DLA Piper | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

DLA Piper
Contact
more
less

DLA Piper on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.