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The Future of Work: Smart Buildings and Designing for Diversity, with Ken Dooley and Dan Drogman


Did you know that office temperatures can affect cognitive performance? This episode of the Propcast explores the concept of creating smart and empathetic buildings, addressing crucial topics like gender bias, neurodiversity, and office space design. 

Host Louisa Dickins speaks with two pioneers developing innovative solutions for workplace efficiency and employee satisfaction, Dr. Ken Dooley, Chief Product Officer at Haltian, and Dan Drogman, CEO of Smart Spaces, who share insights into their companies’ growth and trends in the smart building space. 

The conversation extended to the evolving preferences of the modern workforce, with Ken emphasizing the value of offering options like warmer zones or quiet spaces to create a more inclusive and productive environment, and Dan sharing how Smart Spaces uses data-driven design to address these challenges, giving people the flexibility they need while avoiding tokenism. 

Tune in for an exciting discussion on smart buildings, inclusive workplaces, and the evolving needs of today’s workforce.


Companies mentionned 




Episode Highlights  

  • Ken’s journey from consulting in energy and sustainability to working in the field of smart buildings 
  • The evolution of Smart Spaces from providing meeting room booking software to offering smart building solutions 
  • “Hotelification” of offices, where offices aim to provide amenities and experiences better than home to attract employees back to the office 
  • Why personalization in office environments is crucial to cater to different needs, preferences, and neurodiversity 
  • The evolving workforce, including the great resignation and changing employee expectations 
  • The growth of PropTech in the Nordic region 
  • The importance of educating end-users about energy consumption to achieve sustainability goals 


Key Takeaways 

  • Our purpose at Smart Spaces is optimizing environments for the people and the planet. – Dan 
  • We allow the organization to create beautiful spaces, communicate that they exist, and measure if it’s popular enough. – Ken 
  • It’s about offering people personalization. You want to create the future workplace where everyone wants to work. – Dan 
  • Yes, there is a gender bias. There’s a brilliant article called Battle for the Thermostat that really talks about how female employees in office buildings would prefer maybe two degrees warmer. – Ken 


About our guests  

Ken Dooley   

He has over 20 years of experience in the built environment and has worked in London, Sydney, Dublin and Helsinki. The empathic building service combines a simple digital twin with real-time data from IoT and the experience of end users in a building is the top priority. The simple digital twins guarantee superb end-user and experience while also delivering the key data for operational excellence. 


Founded in 2012 Haltian is a global IoT company offering world-class IoT services. Haltian IoT services include the Empathic Building digital twin service for smart buildings, and Thingsee, the proven IoT technology platform that enables faster IoT launches for mass-scale deployments. Haltian also provides world-class New Product Development Services to help companies get their product from an idea to a ready product. Headquartered in Oulu, Northern Finland, Haltian currently employs 145 people globally.  


Dan Drogman  

Dan Drogman is a software development entrepreneur and CEO of Smart Spaces. He provides leading owners and developers of real estate with smart building solutions. Smart Spaces enables building owners to add an extra dimension to their services via its internet of things cloud-based platform, smartphone app and digital twin, giving clients 360-degree engagement with and control of their office environment. From a secure automated entry system with Apple Wallet functionalities, to control of lighting and heating, and connecting with the office concierge, the technology is revolutionising the role of the traditional building owner and occupier.    

Smart Spaces 

Smart Spaces is an award-winning UK developer of smart building software for commercial real estate. Its Smart Budling OS platform and app deliver two core functions – simplified day-to-day operational management of buildings to boost energy efficiency and save cost, and an intuitive smartphone-based app for people to use for building entry, to book desks, meeting rooms, parking or to access a host of other services.  The business operates worldwide with over 60 million sqft of global office space now managed through its software platform. Founded in 2010, Smart Spaces is privately owned and headquartered in London. 


About Our Host 

Louisa Dickins 

Louisa is the Co-Founder of LMRE, which has rapidly become the market-leading global built environment recruitment platform and search consultancy, specializing in finding the best strategic talent for the most innovative organisations in PropTech, ConTech, Smart Buildings, ESG, Sustainability and Strategic Consulting with operations across North America, United Kingdom, Europe, Asia-Pacific and MENA. 

To promote the industry she is so passionate about, Louisa set up the Global podcast ‘The Propcast’ where she hosts and invites guests from the built environment space to join her in conversation about innovation. 

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