EMPLOYEES will not need a key to get into the office of the future when it opens in Berlin this year, featuring ample meeting space, plenty of copy machines always stocked with paper along with high-quality air processed to maximize worker health and minimize sick time.

Their smartphones will help guide them around their new workplace - and they may need the assistance because they will not have permanent desks.

With technology changing how and where we work, property developers are tapping artificial intelligence to create more sustainable workplaces to help staff work more efficiently and comfortably.

Fierce competition for talent is turbo-charging the trend in Berlin.

While the city used to be a bit of a business backwater, in recent years it gained a reputation as a start-up hub.

Office vacancy rates have tumbled to just 1.5 percent as rents are rocketing, making it an ideal place for developers to showcase these new offices.

Property owners in Berlin are taking cue from the Netherlands, home to several intelligent and sustainable office projects.

Rapid growth of local start-ups such as Zalando and Delivery Hero is driving demand for office space in the German capital.

Two new smart offices are under construction in the former no-man's land of the Berlin Wall, next to the city's main train station.

The Cube, being built by Austrian real estate company, CA Immo, will be completed by the end of this year, and The Edge Grand Central by EDGE Technologies, a subsidiary of Dutch firm OVG Real Estate, is planned for 2020.

''The office building is the new company car. In my world, people do not want a car as a perk any more. They look around and say, ''This would be a nice place to work,'' said Martin Rodeck, executive Managing Director at EDGE Technologies Germany.

But offices are packed with a network of sensors that measure everything from motion, temperature, lighting and humidity and CO2 and are connected to a Cloud Platform.

In The Cube the technology is dubbed as ''the brain,'' a self learning software that analyses all the data it receives and optimizes how the building is run.

For example, if a part of a building is unoccupied, it turns off the lights  and the heating systems. If a meeting room is crowded it can pump in more oxygen.

Users access the building via smartphone app that knows their schedules and may suggest sitting by a window or on a floor when a meeting is scheduled.

The app can be used to book meeting rooms, order food and navigate the building. [Agencies]


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