… in brief

first_img Previous Article Next Article Thisweek’s news in briefPaydeals reach 3.5%Paysettlements are expected to show an rise of half a per cent to 3.5 per cent inJanuary due to higher inflation in the final quarter of last year, saysindependent pay analysts Industrial Relations Services’ settlement survey.  www.irseclipse.co.ukFirmtakes flu actionAhealth company has devised a flu crisis management programme to limit theimpact of the virus this winter. Alliance Health uses courses of medication toensure employees are immune to the virus or to limit symptoms if it has alreadytaken hold. Each year an estimated 150 million work days are lost due toflu-related illnesses at a cost of £6.75bn.  www.fluprotect.comBassrecruits via webBassHotels and Resorts is exploiting the Internet in an international recruitmentdrive. The company is currently recruiting for 25 hotels in Africa and theMiddle East. Phil Stephenson, area vice-president of human resources, claimsthat the expanding hotel industry is making it difficult to recruit staff.  www.basshotels.comMenneed to listenMalemanagers are undermining companies’ partnership initiatives in the UK becausethey are not able to listen to their staff, Steve Cave, a senior adviser forAcas, told delegates at the Anuman 2001 conference on Tuesday. He said menneeded training to improve their communication and listening skills. He said,”Managers should test themselves on whether they know the names of alltheir staff what they enjoy about their jobs.”  www.acas.org.ukP&Ostaff ballotedP&OTrans European’s tanker drivers are being balloted for strike action, whichcould threaten fuel supplies. Drivers who deliver petrol for Shell will beginvoting today after they rejected a proposed two-year wage deal. The T&Gunion claims the complicated pay deal would only be worth a rise of 2.5 percent on basic pay. www.tgwu.org.ukBubblyon its wayPersonnelmanager at North Yorkshire County Council’s education and library servicesColin Parkin has won the Personnel Today prize draw of a case of champagne fortaking part in the magazine’s survey on employment tribunals. The results ofthe survey were published in 9 January issue. … in briefOn 30 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

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Guru

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. GuruOn 25 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today This week’s guruSo does the CBI know something we don’t?Where would we be without the CBI? Well, apparently operating in a scaryemployee-led business environment – or so it claims anyway. The director-general of the CBI isn’t afraid to take credit for recentvictories for employers. In its latest internal magazine Business Voice, itseems as if the CBI battled single-handedly on the regulatory front. DigbyJones claims the CBI defeated proposals for a statutory right for thosereturning from maternity leave to work part-time if they wanted to. Does Digby know something we don’t? Remember the Work and Parents Task Forceis still examining the rights of parents with young kids to work part-time andis reporting to the Government later this year. While Guru accepts that part-time working will not be automatic, Digbyshouldn’t be counting his chickens yet. Staff could end up with a right torequest part-time working and the onus will be on employers to prove why theycan’t. Head of the RUC HR in our sights The vernacular used by journalists can sometimes get you into trouble. Gurunearly caused a security alert at the Royal Ulster Constabulary last weekthrough a total misunderstanding. Personnel Today has written recently aboutJoe Stewart, first civilian head of HR at the RUC. It is a big and sensitivejob and there are security risks attached. So when people start bombarding theRUC with communications about needing a clear headshot of their new head of HR,it starts getting nervous. Guru was clearly after a nice picture of Joe, and he’ll explain that to theauthorities when he feels confident enough to come out of hiding. Ian ensures no Blades runners In this sensitive anti-discriminatory age, Ian Anderson should beware. HisSheffield-based company, The Designers Republic, launched a recruitment driveto find two designers. As the bottom of the advert it stated, “E-mailedCVs not accepted. No personal callers. No Blades.” Blades, as we all know, are Sheffield Utd fans. Anderson – clearly aSheffield Wednesday fan – managed to insult at least half the town in one fellswoop with his joke. Guru is a Shrimper (everyone knows that one) with an irrational hatred ofWest Ham and Canvey Island fans, but he doesn’t let it affect his working day. It’s official, the chicken came firstMicrosoft’s clever director of people, profit and loyalty has finallyanswered an age-old question about the chicken and the egg.Steve Harvey has irrefutable evidence that the chicken came before the egg.The company has launched a service with lifestyle management company Ten UK toprovide some of Microsoft’s senior managers with support in balancing theirwork and home lives.Harvey’s first assignment for his lifestyle manager was to find a rare breedof chicken and provide his Oxfordshire farmhouse with six laying hens and acockerel. He was impressed when within 48 hours the chicken hunt wassuccessfully completed and he is now fortified with a freshly laid egg beforehe starts work.last_img read more

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Learning for life: ergonomics

first_imgLearning for life: ergonomicsOn 1 Nov 2001 in Musculoskeletal disorders, Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Life Long Learning and Continuing Professional Development are the processesby which professionals, such as nurses, develop and improve their practice. There are many ways to address CPD: formally, through attending courses,study days and workshops; or informally, through private study and reflection.Reading articles in professional journals is a good way of keeping up-to-datewith what is going on in the field of practice, but reflecting and identifyingwhat you have learnt is not always easy. These questions are designed to helpyou to identify what you have learnt from studying the article. They will alsohelp you to clarify what you can apply to practice, what you did not understandand what you need to explore further. 1. People use laptop computers because they: a) Are cheap and economical b) Can retrieve e-mails c) Have control over work schedules and locationsd) Have easy access to the Internet 2. People who use laptop computers for over an hour a day reported anincrease of pain in their: a) Elbow b) Back c) Shoulder d) Wrist 3. What ratio of RSI sufferers does the TUC suggest takes action? a) 1:25 b) 1:10 c) 1:50 d) 1:100 4. One of the hardest concepts to educate users about is the demand madeby a) Manual handling b) Static loading c) Working schedules d) Postural assessment 5. Ergonomics are used to: a) Prevent musculoskeletal injuries b) Design modern working environments c) Save money d) Benefit industry 6. Employees must take care of their own health by a) Providing a first aid box b) Designing a safe system of work c) Ensuring confidentiality of company files d) Obeying health and safety legislation 7. Where did the 24-year-old woman commonly use her laptop? a) At the dining table b) At the dressing table c) Sitting on the settee d) At the kitchen table 8. What was the 24-year-old woman’s diagnosis? a) de Quervain’s disease b) Ganglion c) Tenosynovitis d) Carpel tunnel syndrome 9. What is the three-pronged approach? a) Assess risk, develop policy, provide information and training b) Develop policy, provide information and training, discipline non-compliance c) Assess risk, develop policy, discipline non-compliance d) Assess risk, provide information and training, discipline non-compliance 10. What does RULA, the quick guide to postural assessment stand for? a) Risky Upper Limb Assessment b) Right Upper Limb Assessment c) Rapid Upper Limb Assessment d) Regular Upper Limb Assessment Feedback1. c) although most laptops will do b) and d) as well 2. a)even so all the others are possible; 3. c); 4. b) spend some timefinding out more about “static loading”; 5. b) this is theanswer given in the text, but ergonomics will do all four. Spend some timerevising your knowledge of ergonomics; 6. c) this is the answer given inthe text but e) would be equally as correct; 7. a) all these placeswould cause musculoskeletal problems, as they are not proper computerworkstations. Visit the HSE website and download “Working with VDUs”if you do not have it already and revise your knowledge on VDU workstations; 8.d) revise your knowledge of hand and wrist injuries and diseases; 9. a)these are part of the Five Steps to Risk Assessment; 10.c) visit thewebsite mentioned in the text and carry out the assessment for yourself. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

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Using an internet messageboard

first_img Previous Article Next Article Internet messageboards have been around for a long time but can still seemlike a secret society for those who have never taken part in them. This is a shame since they are excellent vehicles for knowledge sharing. Youcan post a message to request help or stimulate debate on a particular subjector respond to something that you have read on the board. They can also act as a vehicle for networked learning (seewww.personneltoday.com). Taking part is simple and we have put together thisguide using the US site www.hr.com as an example. You will find that you haveto register to use most messageboards, but this should only take a few minutes.Sites vary in how much personal information they require – some ask for only ane-mail address and a password, while others will ask for your company name andposition. Once registered, you are free to access the forums. Using an internet messageboardOn 7 May 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Case round up

first_img Previous Article Next Article Case round-up by Eversheds 020 7919 4500When is a dismissal hearing a disciplinary hearing? Heathmill Multimedia ASP Limited v D Jones & M Jones, EAT 10 June[2003] The two Jones brothers were employed by Heathmill from spring 2001. Due toHeathmill’s financial difficulties, the brothers were called to a meeting inDecember 2001. They were given one month’s notice, but were not told the reasonfor their dismissal. The tribunal found that the reason for their dismissal was redundancy, andtherefore “it was not appropriate to follow the disciplinary route in dealingwith this matter”. Nevertheless, Heathmill had breached the EmploymentRelations Act 1999 by failing to allow the workers to be accompanied at theirdismissal meeting. The meeting fell within the statutory definition of a disciplinary hearing(S13(4) ERA 1996), as a hearing that could result in the “taking of someother action in respect of a worker by his employer”, and so they shouldhave been advised of their right to be accompanied by the dismissal officer.Heathmill was ordered to pay the brothers £480 each (the statutory maximum oftwo weeks’ pay). Heathmill appealed, arguing that the meeting was not a disciplinary hearing.The tribunal had already found that as the dismissal was by reason ofredundancy, there was no question of there being any disciplinary hearing. Ifthe purpose of the meeting was simply to inform the employees that they were tobe dismissed, then it was not a ‘hearing’ of any kind, and certainly not adisciplinary hearing within the statutory definition. The appeal was allowed, and the awards were discharged. Equal pay defence Kings College London v Clark, EAT 4 June [2003] Clark was employed by Kings College as a scientific officer, grade 1. In1993, on merging with another college, Tate – a grade 3 post holder – transferredand joined Clark. TUPE applied to Tate’s transfer, and he continued to receive a higher salarythan Clark, as well as increased holiday entitlement. Clark consistentlycomplained they were engaged in ‘like work’, and should both be paid the sameamount. She brought a successful equal pay claim. The college accepted that she was employed in the same type of work as Tate.However, on appeal, it sought to challenge the tribunal’s rejection of itsdefence that the variation in pay was due to a material factor unconnected tothe difference in sex; ie, the need to preserve Tate’s terms and conditions onthe transfer of his employment in 1993. The appeal was allowed. The material factor defence had not been adequatelyconsidered by the tribunal. Although the college had undertaken a gradingreview in 1999, the employment tribunal accepted this did not break the chainof causation that stretched back to the earlier transfer, and the college’sobligations under TUPE. Related posts:No related photos. Case round upOn 14 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

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e-learning news in brief

first_img Comments are closed. e-learning news in briefOn 1 Jun 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article e-learning news in brief  – Gareth Harris, a member of the training team at the Chelsea BuildingSociety, has become the first UK employee to win a European Diploma ine-learning. Harris was awarded the Certified e-Learning Professional (CeLP) Diplomaby the UK Institute of IT Training and this led to a further award from theEuropean Institute for e-learning (ElfEL). The latter recognised the highstandards achieved by Harris in creating, operating and managing e-learningprogrammes for the building society.  www.eife-l.org   www.trainingfoundation.com– The Virginia Institute of Social Services Training Activities (VISSTA) atVirginia Commonwealth University is installing a Pathlore learning managementsystem (LMS) to track and report on the training of more than 40,000 people.These include day-care providers, adoptive parents, foster care parents,lawyers, judges and 8,000 social workers. It previously ran five differenttracking systems that made it difficult to get a state-wide view of trainingand development needs.  www.pathlore.com– Techshare 2004 is calling for papers for its November conference that willconsider the role technology plays in learning, work and society for peoplewith sight problems. Those areas in which the Content Steering Groupparticularly welcomes presentations include innovation in education, webauthoring accessibility, mobile technology and technology in the workplace.  www.rnib.org.uk/techshare Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Former deputy mayor Randy Mastro, lawyer in Lucerne controversy, lists UES home

first_imgShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Message* Brian J. Manning and Christopher E. Franklin of Brown Harris Stevens are marketing the property; they could not immediately be reached for comment.UPDATE: This story was updated to add a statement from Randy Mastro. Contact Orion Jones Email Address* “We love everything about the townhouse and the neighborhood, but we have been living outside the city for most of the past year and intend to continue to do so,” Mastro told The Real Deal via email. “Hence, at this point in our lives, we simply don’t need such a large place in the city.” Randy Mastro and 21 East 83rd Street (Photos via Getty; Google Maps)UPDATE, Jan. 22, 6:05 p.m.: A lawyer who defended relocating homeless men on the Upper West Side is himself relocating.Attorney Randy Mastro, who once served as chief of staff and deputy mayor to Rudy Giuliani and is now a partner at Gibson Dunn, is selling his townhouse at 21 East 83rd Street for $18 million.Mastro was tapped last year to represent a group of Upper West Side residents who opposed the placement of approximately 200 homeless men at the Lucerne, located on West 79th Street near Amsterdam Avenue. The group filed a lawsuit seeking to relocate the men to a Lower Manhattan hotel, a move that generated pushback from advocates for the homeless. (It remains tied up in court.)His Upper East Side home became a target after the Lucerne battle became public. In October, a group splashed the townhouse’s door with red paint, and spray-painted messages like “Randy Mastro you can’t replace us” on the facade and the sidewalk.After the attack, Mastro said in a statement, “if they thought they were going to intimidate me, they picked the wrong guy.”Mastro purchased the 5,500-square-foot home in 2016 for $14 million. The circa-1925 building, which is located less than a block from Museum Mile, has six bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, five wood-burning fireplaces, a full-floor master bedroom suite and a large back garden. Share via Shortlink Full Name* TagsLuxury ListingsResidential Real Estateupper east sidelast_img read more

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Et tu, Ford? Automaker lets 30K workers stay home post-pandemic

first_img Full Name* Tags The “flexible hybrid model” is set to debut in July in North America (iStock)Ford Motor Co. will let some of its employees park it at home post-pandemic.The automaker revealed its “flexible hybrid model” Wednesday. It is allowing more than 30,000 employees to keep working from home even when it’s safe to return to offices, Bloomberg News reported.The system, which is set to debut in July in North America, will apply to most salaried staff and not factory workers, the publication reported. Employees can come into the office for meetings and team-building activities, but can stay at home for “heads-down work.”Read moreCuomo announces plan to get workers back to officesOffice landlords offer amenities to reel in employeesSurvey reveals why employees stay home or return to work Commercial Real EstateJPMorgan Chaseoffice market Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Message* Share via Shortlink The announcement comes as Wall Street employers are nudging workers back to the office. Hundreds of interns at JPMorgan Chase & Co. are set to work in its New York and London offices in the coming months, and companies including Citigroup and Goldman Sachs Group hope to see more employees back in the office in the summer, the publication reported.As of March 3, just under 15 percent of New York-area office workers were at their desks, according to card-swipe company Kastle Systems.Target last week announced plans for a hybrid work-from-home model. Salesforce recently announced the death of its 9-to-5 workday, giving employees the option to work from home indefinitely.Half of workers worldwide are laboring at home, up from 11% before the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study by Willis Towers Watson. Companies expect one-third of employees to continue working remotely after the pandemic, the publication reported.[Bloomberg News] — Cordilia JamesContact Cordilia James Email Address*last_img read more

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These were the largest Manhattan real estate loans in March

first_img1440 Broadway and One Park Avenue (Google Maps, Vornado)The 10 largest Manhattan real estate loans recorded in March totaled $1.95 billion, more than double February’s total and about the same as January’s.For the fifth time since September, the commercial mortgage-backed securities market produced the month’s largest loans. The top two deals, both single-asset CMBS loans for Midtown office buildings, accounted for nearly half of the total dollar volume of the top ten.Here were the borough’s largest real estate loans in March:1) Roth CMBS | $525 millionVornado Realty Trust and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board secured a $525 million refinancing for One Park Avenue, a 22-story office tower. The five-year, single-asset CMBS debt was provided by Deutsche Bank and Barclays. New York University’s Langone Medical Center inked a 633,000-square-foot lease renewal at the property in October.ADVERTISEMENT2) CIMBS | $392 millionCIM Group and Australian pension fund QSuper refinanced the 740,000-square-foot office building at 1440 Broadway with a $392 million CMBS loan from JPMorgan Chase. CIM acquired the 25-story tower in 2017 as part of New York REIT’s liquidation, and has since increased its occupancy from 50 to 93 percent by bringing in tenants like WeWork, which leases space to two Fortune 500 enterprise tenants at the building.3) Bank to bank | $198 millionWells Fargo provided a $198 million refinancing for the 23-story office building at 125 West 55th Street in the Plaza District. The property is owned by JPMorgan Asset Management and Waterman Interests, who formed a joint venture for the property in 2014. JPMorgan put the property on the market last January, seeking a valuation of about $550 million. Tenants include the Australian investment bank Macquarie Group and iHeartRadio.4) ReFrak | $150 millionWells Fargo, which originated four of the month’s top 10 loans, provided $150 million to LeFrak to refinance 40 West 57th Street in the Plaza District, home to the landlord’s headquarters. The new debt replaced a $150 million loan provided by Capital One in 2013.5) Columbus collateral | $149 millionColorado-based REIT UDR secured a $149 million loan from Wells Fargo to refinance the residential portion of 808 Columbus Avenue, a 359-unit rental tower on the Upper West Side. The property is part of the five-building Columbus Square complex. Wells Fargo also provided two smaller loans for other buildings in the complex, bringing the total to $197.5 million.6) Loan science | $139 millionJackson National Life Insurance Company provided a $139 million loan to Taconic Partners, Nuveen and LaSalle Investment Management for 125 West End Avenue, a 400,000-square-foot life sciences hub on the Upper West Side. The landlords reportedly landed $393 million in construction financing for the property as part of a $600 million recapitalization, but that has yet to be reflected in public records.7) Yard maintenance | $108 millionWells Fargo provided a $107.5 million inventory loan for 99 residential and two commercial units at 15 Hudson Yards, owned by Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group. Sales at the 285-unit condo building launched in 2016. The new debt replaces an $850 million construction loan from 2015 provided by New York State Housing Finance Agency and the Children’s Investment Fund.8) Lent to the Kent | $105 millionExtell Development also received a condo inventory loan last month. The landlord secured a $105 million mortgage from Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies and GTIS Partners for 49 unsold units at the Kent, a 104-unit, 30-story condo tower at 200 East 95th Street on the Upper East Side.9) Potamkin mortgage | $95 millionAthene Annuity and Life Company provided a $95 million loan for 706 11th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, a two-story retail building owned by the auto dealer Potamkin Group. The new financing more than doubles the debt on the property, replacing $44 million in loans previously provided by AmeriCredit Financial Services.10) Dunbar debt | $86 millionFairstead refinanced the 538-unit Dunbar Apartments complex in Central Harlem with an $86 million loan from MF1 Capital, a mortgage REIT backed by CBRE Capital Markets, Limekiln Real Estate and Berkshire Group. The new debt replaces $85 million provided by American General Life Insurance Company in 2018.Contact Kevin Sun Full Name* Share via Shortlink ManhattanMortgagesReal Estate Finance Tagscenter_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Email Address* Message*last_img read more

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Inside real estate’s surveillance state

first_imgThe Edge in Amsterdam is widely considered the smartest building in the world. Since the 15-story office property opened four years ago, its 28,000 sensors have collected roughly 55 terabytes of data on everything from the air’s CO2 levels to workers’ daily coffee orders. If that information were stored as music files, it would play continuously for more than 100 years.And the more info the glass-encased building collects, the smarter it gets. “We think of it as a computer with a roof on it,” Jan-Hein Lakeman, executive managing director of developer Edge Technologies’ U.S. operations, told The Real Deal. The 22-year-old firm, based in Amsterdam, recently co-developed a 325,000-square-foot office building in New Jersey as Unilever’s North American headquarters — which also uses a cloud-based computing system and workplace sensors. And this year, Edge Technologies plans to announce its first project in New York City. Lakeman said the company is now looking at sites for either a ground-up development or an existing building that it can “Edge-ify.”The real estate industry — which has a reputation for being slow to adopt new technologies — is in the early stages of a tech transformation fueled, in part, by consumers wanting to be more connected. From landlords to property managers, companies across the industry are spending billions to outfit offices, residential properties and retail with new smart gadgets. And the information those devices are collecting is getting stored and Ping-Ponged across the web at increasingly faster speeds. Meanwhile, the latest advancements in artificial intelligence allow buildings to process and “think” about the information they’ve collected and make operational adjustments.But as real estate players in New York and beyond look to roll out new technologies like facial scanning and geolocation tracking, it’s stoking new anxieties over science fiction levels of surveillance. On top of privacy concerns, smart buildings raise the risk of cyberhacks and data breaches, critics say.In this environment, lawmakers around the globe are pushing to impose tighter regulations. The European Union last year implemented the world’s strictest data privacy law, and similar legislation will go into effect in California next year. “The question is, where is that line between privacy and convenience: How much Big Brother am I afraid of?” said Brian Zrimsek, a principal at MRI Software, a real estate management and investment software provider.In New York, those anxieties were thrust into the public spotlight in March, when it was revealed that Brooklyn landlord Nelson Management plans to install facial recognition technology at several of its rent-stabilized buildings around the city. Tenants at Nelson’s Atlantic Plaza Towers complex in Brownsville filed an objection to the plan, citing a potential for violations of privacy and civil liberties.Nelson Management’s Atlantic Plaza TowersThe company’s president, Robert Nelson, said the technology will help the landlord fulfill one of its most important responsibilities: providing for the safety of his tenants. But he also acknowledged his tenants’ concerns.“I do understand the paranoia that exists,” he said. “Right now, it’s new. But I would bet money that in 10 years it is going to be so commonplace all over the world.”Tracking tenantsThe biggest surveillance case study is unfolding right on Manhattan’s Far West Side at Hudson Yards.The Related Companies’ mega-development collects so much data from residents, workers and tourists that it bills itself as the country’s first “quantified community.”The $25 billion megaproject’s office towers feature a biometric scanning technology called Pass that uses handprints to give tenants access. The 16-building site will also have a content management system including 30 kiosks with touch screens that can be used for things like booking a restaurant or buying tickets to the “Vessel.” But those kiosks will also be siphoning information from visitors, including their browser histories. In March, Related saw public blowback over the terms and conditions for its Vessel sculpture, which stated that all photos taken by visitors belonged to Related, giving the firm the right to license and sell them in perpetuity. The developer walked that policy back following the outcry.Jay Cross, who heads Related Hudson Yards, told TRD in March that he and his associates are still deciding how they’ll use all of the data they’re collecting. While Related has no plans to sell its user information for the time being, Cross signaled the company could do so in the future. “We can do … what we want with our data; we’re not averse to using it to help the city map the West Side,” he noted.Meanwhile, global brokerages like CBRE and JLL are investing heavily in new technologies that track and analyze what goes on inside office and retail spaces. CBRE, for example, buys geolocation data that other companies collect from mobile phones, and uses it to show retailers info about who visits particular locations. And co-working and co-living companies are “programming” properties for tenants, while a growing number of smart apartments are hitting the market.“For a very long time, people have been promised the ‘Minority Report’-esque level of technology in buildings,” said Chase Garbarino, CEO of the property tech firm HqO. Garbarino, whose startup makes an app that commercial tenants can use to book conference rooms and schedule visitor access, among other things, said the smart-building evolution comes down to how many devices feed information to the cloud. “A lot of these pieces are coming online now,” he added.All of the data from the Edge in Amsterdam, for example, is fed into a Microsoft cloud platform, which tracks the movements and routines of the people inside by using an app on their phones.By 2022, 4 billion devices linked to the “internet of things” (IoT) — everyday gadgets that are increasingly becoming connected online — are expected to be in homes worldwide, while more than 3 billion are expected to be in office buildings, according to the smart-building research firm Memoori.The Vessel at Hudson YardsThat disruption hasn’t come without its share of apprehension.In Canada, for example, mall owner Cadillac Fairview stopped using facial recognition scanners at two of its Calgary shopping centers last summer after Reddit users discovered the technology could approximate visitors’ ages and genders. Under Canadian privacy laws, visitors have the right to request that Cadillac Fairview stop collecting their data. But some argue that wasn’t really an option, since the mall owner hadn’t disclosed it was using the technology.The company, which is owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, is currently under investigation by Canada’s privacy commissioner. Similarly, critics of Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs — Daniel Doctoroff’s smart-cities planning firm — launched a #BlockSidewalk campaign protesting its surveillance at the 12-acre development known as Quayside, which the company is helping to build in Toronto.Jathan Sadowski, a researcher at the University of Sydney who studies smart systems, said buildings, and even entire cities, are becoming more like Facebook and Google when it comes to pushing the boundaries about how much and what kind of personal information they have on people.“I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re witnessing the very beginnings of something that becomes the new normal,” Sadowski said. “The built environment having terms of service agreements.” WeWatchNothing encapsulates the We Company’s casual culture and lofty ideas about the power of data quite like the T-shirt its executive David Fano wears with the motto “bldgs = data” printed on it. Fano — who trademarked the logo at a real estate consulting firm he launched before joining WeWork in 2015 — is one of the biggest proponents of optimizing work and living spaces by quantifying and analyzing occupants’ routines. The info that WeWork compiles on its members includes their intellectual property such as trademarks and logos, companies and job titles, social media screen names, online calendars and passwords, relationships to emergency contacts and even their favorite foods and snacks. The company’s surveillance also includes requests made through Amazon Echo as well as communications on Slack and email.And as Manhattan’s largest private office tenant, the co-working giant is in a unique position to test its theories. “We’ve kind of got this big petri dish of people working in different ways with each other across the globe and different time zones,” Fano said during a conference at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School last spring. “It’s a physical social network, and people are always together all the time.”The SoftBank-backed company, which late last month filed preliminary paperwork for a long-anticipated IPO, does indeed resemble a social network — at least in terms of its privacy policy. The membership agreement for 110 Wall Street, a WeLive co-living property, states that it collects extensive information from its members through their devices and their use of the space. By signing it, members agree to allow WeLive to use and share their personal data. The We Company has built up a massive infrastructure to collect data on its more than 400,000 members. In February, for example, it acquired Euclid, a startup it describes as a “Google analytics for space” that gathers troves of info on people through their Wi-Fi connections. The company’s WeWork arm is also looking into using facial recognition and workplace sensors that track things like motion, temperature and Bluetooth check-ins.Bryan Murphy, CEO of the flex office space startup Breather, said he’s seeing some members leave WeWork due, in part, to concerns about the company’s privacy policies. Murphy acknowledged that Breather also collects a certain amount of data from its members, but said he has decided against using facial recognition and workplace sensors. And the company doesn’t share its data with outside parties, he emphasized.“That’s actually part of our value proposition,” Murphy said. A spokesperson for the We Company declined to comment for this story. But in the past, company executives have said the information is aggregated and anonymized — a common rebuttal to privacy concerns.The company also says the information helps improve its services. It does, however, reserve the right to share the data with other parties. While the identities of those parties are often masked in vague language, they generally include hired vendors and companies it partners with on transactions, including buying properties and other businesses. Stacy-Ann Elvy, a New York Law School professor who studies privacy and emerging technologies, said that kind of language comes with a big loophole.“The company has the control to determine who gets access, so I don’t think promising not to sell the data is bulletproof in terms of fully protecting consumers,” she noted. “If those provisions were as effective as [one would hope], we wouldn’t have all these instances of companies selling our data to different parties.” Decoding dataMany of the real estate players who collect and use this kind of data claim they’re looking only at big-picture trends, not at specific people. But many studies show that data can be decoded — or deanonymized, in surveillance-speak — and used to identify real people.In a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study published in December, researchers took an “anonymized” set of location stamps from mobile phone logs in Singapore and matched it up with riders’ location stamps from the city’s transit system. The researchers estimated they could positively identify 95 percent of the study’s participants with 11 weeks’ worth of data. “I was at Sentosa Island in Singapore two days ago, came to the Dubai airport yesterday, and am on Jumeirah Beach in Dubai today. It’s highly unlikely another person’s trajectory looks exactly the same,” MIT Prof. Carlo Ratti, one of the study’s authors, wrote. “In short, if someone has my anonymized credit card information, and perhaps my open location data from Twitter, they could then deanonymize my credit card data,” he added.Studies have also shown that most people don’t read privacy policies, and even if they did, it would take months to understand them. That’s not to mention that most people have no choice but to accept that reality — unless they want to forgo having a phone, email account, social media presence or office job.By now, most people understand that visiting a website or downloading a free app comes at the price of handing over their information. There’s a secretive industry built around the buying and selling of personal data, and the information from buildings is particularly useful to that market.Data brokers like Oracle, Experian, Equifax and a web of lesser-known names buy and sell personal data that’s used for everything from marketing to checking a renter’s credit history.But while websites can track online habits and phones can monitor locations, both have data limitations. Mobile phone tracking, for example, can tell when someone walks into a building. But it’s not very good at determining if the phone is in a ground-floor restaurant or the observation deck of a skyscraper. Embedding these technologies in the buildings themselves can help fill in those gaps and  turn people’s everyday actions into data points.“What’s different is you get an inside window into what people are doing offline,” New York Law School’s Elvy said.“If you were walking into the common area of your building, typically that’s not viewed as data anyone would collect,” she added. “But now it is, because they know what time certain individuals are opening the door, and there’s a detailed record of that.”Greater good?Of course, the benefits go beyond bigger profits and greater control for individual firms. Smarter buildings can also potentially help save the planet.Nearly 40 percent of the country’s carbon emissions comes from buildings, according to the Washington, D.C.-based independent nonprofit Environmental and Energy Study Institute. And just last month, the New York City Council passed sweeping legislation requiring large buildings to be retrofitted to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 2030.With the projected costs for New York landlords to come into compliance exceeding $4 billion, experts in the tech world say data-collecting sensors and AI — which can collect untold numbers of data points to spot places where buildings are wasting energy — can go a long way.“It’s very important for [property managers] to not waste their time looking for issues but dedicate their time out in the field to preventing and solving those issues,” said Luca Tausel, of IBM’s Watson unit, which creates the AI used in many smart buildings.In 2016, the family-run real estate firm Rudin Management launched its own tech startup, Prescriptive Data, which uses a cloud-based operating system in 17 of the developer’s New York properties to more efficiently manage their water and electricity use, among other building systems. Last year, those properties recorded a 44 percent reduction in carbon emissions — more than the 40 percent reduction the City Council’s law mandates over the next decade. Rudin’s technology chief, John Gilbert, said Prescriptive Data anonymizes building information. And in the cases where it’s put to use in buildings run by other landlords, he said, the data belongs to each property owner rather than to Rudin’s tech company. More broadly, Gilbert noted that there are lots of lessons property owners can learn from Silicon Valley’s privacy headaches.“I think the Facebook lessons are hugely important,” he said. “The minute you allow others into your buildings to retrieve that data … if they’re not sharing that with you and if it’s going out the backdoor and being monetized, you’re not doing your job.”At the same time, properties are increasingly adding devices that interact with buildings’ occupants. The Stanwix in Bushwick, for example, bills itself as the smartest rental in Brooklyn. The 130-unit building, owned by JCS Realty, has a Control4 automation system that tenants can access through a wall panel or a mobile app to do things like alter the lighting and adjust blinds. Tenants can also use smartphones remotely to operate door locks and create a log of every time the lock is used — and who used it.The Stanwix uses a management system created by the cloud-based platform BuildingLink, and the tech is all linked to an Amazon Alexa provided by the landlord. A representative for JCS did not respond to requests for comment.Ari Teman, whose company makes video intercoms and smart locks, said tenants often want a certain level of surveillance.“Surveillance can make you feel safe,” added Teman, who said his technology is used in about 1,000 residential buildings in New York City. “When I’m living in a building, I want the package area and the lobby entrances areas to be recorded and for cameras to be visible.”Teman added, however, that data collection can certainly cross a line. “If you want to take that data and sell it to some big company to tell about my love life, I find that creepy,” he said. The Amazon effectIn New York and other major cities, rentals, condos and single-family homes are linking to devices made by “Big Tech” companies at an increasing rate, reports show. Amazon announced in January that it had sold more than 100 million Alexa products around the globe, and an RBC analyst estimated late last year that Google had sold more than 52 million home devices worldwide.Tech behemoths like Amazon, Microsoft and IBM also run the cloud systems that many smart buildings use. Virtually all of those companies have reputations for pushing the privacy envelope — and, in turn, prompting laws to more carefully regulate the space.“Lots of companies are now supplying what you will see in your apartment, in your home, on the wall,” said Gordon Feller, co-founder of the smart-cities summit Meeting of the Minds. “The goal is to deliver advertising to the end user, which is going to be a shock to a lot of people when they realize that.”There’s also just the looming fear that these devices are recording conversations people are having in their own homes. And there have been documented cases suggesting that it happens when signals cross.A family in Portland, Oregon, for instance, caught its Amazon Echo last year haphazardly recording one of their conversations, which it sent to one of their phone contacts, according to news reports.“It’s only natural that the likelihood of these types of incidents happening is only going to increase as the tech becomes more widespread,” said attorney Kavon Adli, a partner at the Internet Law Group based in Los Angeles. “New companies are coming on the scene pretty regularly, and there’s no universal fix for these kinds of problems.”Big Brother businessIt’s not just rental landlords, shared-space providers and property managers buying into the smart-building market. Large commercial brokerages, construction firms and megadevelopers are investing billions in building analytics and other intelligent services. In real estate, the retail sector was among the first to adopt so-called alternative data. Landlords and commercial brokers purchased the people-tracking data from mobile phone companies and then provided retailers with intel on shopper demographics and foot traffic.Big real estate firms are now creating their own intelligent technologies. CBRE, for example, launched a workplace app last year that uses artificial intelligence to learn office tenants’ patterns and make recommendations for them. Connecticut-based Triax Technologies, meanwhile, created a wearable device that uses an accelerometer and gyroscope to monitor a construction worker’s gait. If the hard hat gets drunk during lunch and stumbles back to the jobsite, the device will detect the unusual movement and report it to the worksite’s superintendent, Triax claims. Many argue that tech users and tenants are willing to trade some privacy for convenience. And companies face reputational risks if they betray customers’ trust.“If AT&T is monitoring your cell phone service and using data to figure out what they can do to create a better experience so that you have less dropped calls or whatever, that’s kind of okay,” said K.P. Reddy of Shadow Ventures, an Atlanta-based venture capital firm focused on the proptech industry. Though selling that info isn’t illegal, it’s “the big no-no,” Reddy added.Most real estate players using Big Data say they’re gathering info to provide better services and don’t sell that data to third parties, including advertisers.But there are plenty of examples outside of real estate where companies have crossed the line.Verizon was caught last year selling its customers’ locations to a prison phone company — which corrections officers used to find out, without getting warrants, who inmates were calling. In the wake of that revelation, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint said they would all stop sharing information with certain third parties.And plenty of questions remain about who the data belongs to — the manufacturer of the devices, the building manager or the property owner. That’s led to other questions, including who the data stays with when a property sells. Even when a company collects the data, it could change hands. In bankruptcies, for example, data can be sold off as an asset. A biometrics payment company called Pay by Touch filed for bankruptcy in 2007, and among its holdings was a database of 2 million fingerprints from people who bought gas and groceries using the technology. More recently, the IoT company Filip Technologies — which designed a smart locator for children so their families could stay in touch — filed for bankruptcy in 2016, selling off data about the parents and children who used its devices. While that largely stayed under the radar, other privacy battles are brewing. Airbnb, for one, sued the city of New York last year after it passed a law requiring the company to hand over data on its hosts, including their names, addresses and number of days they rented their homes.Airbnb argued there was no way to know what the city would do with the data. In January, a federal judge sided with the company, blocking the law from taking effect. Information the city sought includes “personal data in which Airbnb has a reasonable expectation of privacy,” and most hotels “would balk at any suggestion that their patrons’ privacy could be invaded in such a manner,” the company’s complaint read.A spokesperson for Airbnb declined to comment.Global backlashJust a few weeks after Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress in April 2018 about Facebook’s privacy policies, Europe took a major step forward on regulating data privacy.The next month, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation — the toughest and most comprehensive legislation of its kind in the world — went into effect.Among its many rules, the law requires companies to get consent from people in the EU to process their data and gives those individuals the right to withdraw that consent at any time (see sidebar). It also requires companies that collect data to put security protections in place and gives people the right to have their data erased within 30 days.Many believe that similar federal legislation will eventually work its way to the U.S. But for now, cities and states are implementing their own laws.California passed a consumer privacy act last year, which goes into effect in 2020. That initiative — which requires companies to disclose how they collect data and what they do with it — was actually initiated by San Francisco real estate developer Alastair Mactaggart, who became concerned about Big Tech’s surveillance.In New York state, there’s a patchwork of privacy laws, but nothing as far-reaching.State Sen. Brad Hoylman is pushing his “right to know” legislation that would let consumers find out what kind of data companies are collecting and how it’s being used, but it stops short of banning companies from selling personal information.And last fall, City Council member Ritchie Torres introduced a bill to regulate facial recognition technology, which he likened to a secret search. The bill calls for a fine of $500 every day a company fails to disclose its use of biometric scanning tech and gives people the right to sue for damages of up to $5,000.“I just believe as a matter of principle that no business has a right to search or invade your privacy without your knowledge or consent,” Torres said. “It’s the lack of transparency that worries me the most.”Fear factorsOf course, there’s always a sense of unease when new technologies come into play.Some argue that backlash against real estate’s data harvesting could be just be an unfounded fear of the unknown.In many cases, both landlords and tech companies are compiling as much data as they can without any real idea of how they’re going to use it. The belief is that the data will have some value in the future.“In some ways, it’s potentially more worrisome that the data’s being collected, and we don’t know what for,” said Desiree Fields, a professor of urban and economic geography at the University of Sheffield in England. “Particularly in the U.S., where there’s so little data protection, we’re right to be concerned about that.”Some also note that this kind of data collection is in its infancy in real estate and say that as it gets implemented on a larger scale, it is likely to improve.“We are like 10 years out from even 30 percent adoption of this kind of technology,” said Ash Zandieh, founder of the proptech research firm RE:Tech.HqO’s Garbarino said all this new technology in buildings has the potential to do great things, but he also recognized the dangers they pose.“It’s naïve to think technologies are inherently good,” he said.Garbarino added that now, when the rules are being written, is the time to make sure it’s done right.“The real estate industry has an opportunity to be very proactive to make sure they’re not misusing any of this data,” he said. 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