With Employees Returning to In-Person Offices, Cohesion Leverages Artificial Intelligence and IoT to Help Commercial Landlords Create Healthier, Data-Driven Buildings

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This startup’s robust building control platform gives commercial landlords at Riverside Investment & Development the ability to enhance air purification and other critical systems

Following a year of significant change in the commercial real estate industry, including increased awareness of the link between indoor environment and occupant health and wellness, Riverside Investment & Development (Riverside) and Cohesion are working together to create a solution. They are offering the next frontier for technological innovation through building infrastructure that ensures the cleanest air and provides occupants transparency via continuous monitoring to help keep them safe. This is critical not only for the future of commercial real estate, but especially as millions return back to their offices beginning in the near term.

“A year into this pandemic, building occupants are significantly more informed as to how the air they breathe and the surfaces they touch impact their health,” said Thru Shivakumar, Cohesion’s chief executive officer and co-founder. “At the outset of the pandemic, Riverside came to us with the goal to not only create the most forward-thinking Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) program possible, but also provide a level of transparency that far surpasses the norm. They really care about their building occupants and wanted to be on the leading edge of what defines health and safety in a world permanently changed by Covid.”

As concerns about IAQ hit the mainstream after COVID-19, building owners, operators and managers are doing anything they can to prove that their spaces are safe, healthy and ready to welcome back their employees. Thankfully, Cohesion, a Chicago-based tech startup, is helping landlords solve their challenges with software that integrates smart controls systems into a single, intelligent, data-driven platform. The innovative technology allows landlords to monitor, control and automatically improve the air quality throughout their properties.

Based on performance requirements developed by Riverside for the developer’s award-winning 54-story, 1.2 million square foot office building located at 150 N Riverside Plaza, Cohesion created an air-quality control program combining state-of-the art sensor deployment, app and internet-based display interfaces, and the necessary AI-enabled software to allow command-and-control integration with the building automation systems. This groundbreaking system allowed engineering consultants ESD, Riverside, and Cohesion to jointly win the CoreNet 2020 Innovation Award for Property Management Technology and launch Vayu by Cohesion.

“At Riverside, our top priority is the health and safety of our tenants,” said Anthony Scacco, Chief Operating Officer of Riverside Investment & Development. “When we conceptualized the air quality program we wanted to deliver to our tenants, Cohesion was the ideal partner, given their prior success delivering customized enhancements to the occupant experience. Together, we’ve executed the most forward-thinking program we could conceive of, one which sets a new standard of optimized indoor air quality to both deliver and promote a greater sense of wellness and productivity for all building occupants.”

Riverside’s goal was for the team to complete the necessary software and hardware integrations and beta test this air quality control program at 150 N Riverside within a compressed 4-month period, then immediately deploy the technology to the rest of its 4.3 million square foot portfolio. This includes Riverside’s 56-story 110 N Wacker Drive/Bank of America Tower and the soon-to-be completed 51-story 320 S Canal/BMO Tower building. Now, this solution is available for any commercial real estate building looking to provide its tenants with the gold standard in health and safety.

Designed to integrate an array of building automation systems, tenant communications and touchless access-point data into a single platform, Cohesion’s software provides management teams with a better understanding of how their building is functioning. In turn, this improves tenant satisfaction, saves on operating costs and, perhaps most importantly, automates fresh air delivery based on air quality attributes. Cohesion’s Intelligent Building Platform connects to the building’s existing automation and controls systems to monitor multiple air quality components, including but not limited to carbon dioxide, VOCs, airborne particulates, and outdoor fresh air supply rates, and the platform is able to automatically adjust to the buildings HVAC system to keep the air optimized for healthy conditions. Deployment of Cohesion’s system also enables properties to gain points toward their WELL Building Certification.

“Evolving workplace strategies are going to disrupt how and when tenants utilize space. The demand for cleaner, healthier buildings from tenants is on the rise,” Shivakumar said. “There is an expectation that building owners should understand their spaces in ways they never had to before, and Riverside is leading the way in that regard. They know they have to understand the data first and we present an easy way for them to do that.”

About Cohesion
Founded in 2018, Cohesion helps commercial buildings better integrate a variety of systems into a scalable SaaS platform. It empowers real estate owners to maximize asset and portfolio value with all building systems, workflows and people seamlessly connected in one intelligent building platform. The integration provides one unified access platform for building operators to control and improve building health and security, tenant experience and smart building operations, as well as automation. Cohesion’s platform provides the most actionable insights in the market, enabling owners to reduce costs, enhance tenant experiences and increase operational transparency.

About Riverside Investment & Development
Riverside Investment & Development is a Chicago-based, vertically integrated real estate company founded in 2011. Since launching its first development in 2014, Riverside has become the most active office developer in the Midwest. The Riverside team has broad experience across asset types, geographic locations and partnership structures.

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Lauren Moorman
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