Mark Sorsa-Leslie, founder and co-CEO of Beringar, discusses how the Edinburgh-based start-up delivers crucial data insights that drive sustainability and examines the important role building intelligence plays in redefining corporate real estate.

Building interior roof using advanced ventilation system

Could you tell us a little bit about how Beringar started?

Beringar started with a vision to bring more data into real estate decisions. We didn’t start as a company making sensors – that came later on when a client, NHS England, asked us to help them understand the use patterns of their primary care estate.

We developed the Beringar sensor in response to that need. We found that the data it captures regarding occupant behaviour and indoor environment quality enabled us to start answering questions related to space efficiency, carbon intensity and health and wellbeing in a way that could not have been done before.


Talk us through the early client success stories that played a pivotal role in growing Beringar…

We were fortunate to be selected by British Land for an at-scale trial of smart building technology in their estate. This was won against stiff competition. It saw us install 200 devices in British Land’s headquarters and their investment properties to help them determine the use cases, value and results from deploying IoT sensors.

This relationship eventually led to our sensors being deployed in their flagship 100 Liverpool Street building in London. We have worked with British Land to use sensor data to dynamically control building systems to reduce wasted energy and carbon. As a result, we have been included in the British Land smart building stack as their supplier of smart building multi-sensors, and we look forward to working with them on many more projects in the coming years.


What is unique about your technology and/or service compared to other spatial analytics providers?

There is huge power in combining indoor environmental data with occupant use patterns. Beringar’s sensor is the only one that can currently provide that data mix. When you see how the building reacts to, for example, heat or CO2 build-up when spaces are used intensively, it provides fantastic opportunities to improve health and wellbeing and balance energy consumption with occupant productivity.

The other significant opportunity our dataset creates is the ability for our customers to automate their ESG reporting with objective data on carbon efficiency, space efficiency, wellbeing, workplace quality, equipment lifecycle and standards compliance. We do this through the fusion of sensor data to create synthetic sensors that answer new questions like virus transmission risk, the prevalence of decision fog, building operation times and peak space requirements.

Beringar’s uniqueness doesn’t lie in a single factor; it’s the amalgamation of all these crucial data sources that tell a compelling story, helping businesses make better decisions.


How has your involvement with the Edinburgh Earth Initiative (and The University of Edinburgh more broadly) helped?

We have been lucky to be chosen as part of the University of Edinburgh’s AI Accelerator programme. This has provided access to a range of experience and expertise that we, as a small business, could otherwise not attain. This includes everything from data science and AI development to a deeper understanding of the carbon economy and our part in it.

We believe that our industry has to shift its thinking from buildings as assets to buildings as resources – resources that we need to fully exploit before we consider damaging the environment and building more.

Our technology helps our customers understand their real estate resource requirements in detail, and I hope that through our working partnership with Edinburgh Earth Initiative, we can significantly move the dial on the industry focus from real estate being the biggest polluter on the planet to being the most climate-positive industry on Earth.


Do you have any exciting developments on the horizon?

We always want to empower our customers to use their real estate resources wisely, so we are rolling out our ESG Reporting Automation solution and our next-generation sensor in Q4 2022.

This will afford the best in smart building multi-sensor technology paired with a Beringar insights platform that answers critical questions about the climate impact of our customers’ buildings, enabling them to prove to the world that their actions are making a difference.


Where do you imagine Beringar to be in 5 years?

I genuinely believe that if Beringar delivers on our mission to help our customers use their real estate resources wisely, we will be amongst a growing number of smart, environmentally conscious global businesses based here in Scotland.

I’m happy for Beringar to be in the background as an enabler of change, and I look forward to helping our customers turn their climate challenges into climate-positive actions.