Intel bets on smart homes in Israel
Intel is investing heavily in Israel's smart buildings that will be packed with options that will appeal to employees, helping the American chipmaker compete for the country's best talent.
Intel Corporation, one of the largest employers and exporters in Israel, plans to invest $ 11 billion to build a manufacturing facility in the country where some of its most advanced technologies were created..
Thanks to better military and government support, Israel is developing more startups per capita than any other country in the world..
While multinational corporations such as Intel, Apple and Google have created local startups and opened their own research centers, competition makes it difficult to find qualified employees..
Tech companies in Israel were unable to close about 17,000 jobs in 2018, and the number continues to grow, according to the nonprofit research organization Start-Up National Central..
To fill this gap and attract talent, Intel has upped the ante at its new development center in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva. In addition to eco-friendly life support systems, a smart gym, massage room, the structure also contains 14 thousand sensors that monitor movement, light and air to provide a comfortable environment for workers..
If these efforts give Intel a hiring advantage, competing companies should follow suit..
«Anything you offer as a privilege, whether it's a gym membership or a paperless work environment or extra days for maternity leave or green policies, all of these things will help you.», – said David Gutschar, chief executive of the California-based Shepherd Search Group.
Intel's 10-story, glazed box-shaped building accommodates up to 2.7 thousand of its 13 thousand local employees.
The company declined to comment on how much it spent on developing the center. Israeli media reported value of 650 million shekels ($ 188 million).
David Harely, deputy CEO of Afcon Holdings, which built the building, said it was challenging to complete the project within a three-year schedule..
Intel, originally counting on seven floors, has proposed adding three more floors. Once the contract was signed, Intel required LEED Platinum certification, the highest standard for green building..
This required a two-layer façade to improve ventilation and prevent the building from heating up under the active Middle Eastern sun..
Architect Dagan Mauchly, who designed the building, said he is working on a new development center for Intel in the northern city of Haifa, which will also be smart and LEED Platinum.
He called Intel's creation «breakthrough», while the demand for similar structures among customers is growing. He plans to create a 15,000 square meter smart banking campus in Israel and a 240,000 square meter smart biotechnology park in China.
The building has an open format. The atrium in the center is covered with dormers and covers the top five floors. Health-conscious employees often use internal stairs in the atrium instead of an elevator.
For those seeking privacy, there are small soundproofed rooms and soundproofed armchairs near the windows.
According to company representatives, 14,000 sensors – twice as many as in similar buildings – detect when someone enters a room and regulate lighting and air conditioning..
For example, when carbon dioxide levels rise, fresh air is brought in to keep employees in good shape..
The sensors and associated app can also help employees find the best way to get traffic to and from work and tell them which of the building's three restaurants have a seat at lunchtime. The app allows employees to notify other employees of their location.
Not everyone was thrilled with the new workspace. Some employees anonymously complained on the Israeli news website about the lack of privacy.
Tracking and data collection is voluntary, Intel Israel CEO Yaniv Garty said..
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«We do not check whether a person is in the workplace or not. We believe in results-based relationships», – said Garty.
Ido Melamed, a hardware engineer who worked at Intel for 16 years, has moved to a new building from an office with cubicles. He said the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
«We see each other, we can speak more openly and cooperate more effectively, – Melamed said. «There is real trust between the company and the employees, so that the (collected) data is used for the right purposes».