NTT’s Darling Park is enabling a safe, healthy and smart workplace.

When ASHRAE came to NTT and Cisco to help them convert a 43-year-old building in Atlanta, Georgia into their new headquarters they had lofty goals. As a leader in building standards, ASHRAE wanted to create a workspace that reflected their organization’s vision of advancing human well-being through sustainable technology. They also wanted a design that could serve as a guide to its more than 54,000 members and the industry at large.

Of course, ASHRAE’s request did not come out of the blue.   

They knew that NTT and Cisco were no strangers to smart building technology. This is because NTT had already created a showcase of their own at their Darling Park smart headquarters. “Drinking from their own champagne”, NTT’s Darling Park facility is built on technology that is just as leading-edge as the building’s architecture.   

Phillip Priestley, Group VP: Technology & Architecture for Employee Experience, NTT, “Our Darling Park office is really a blueprint for the best practices for the workplace of the future and shows what’s possible with Cisco technology.” Based on NTT’s Smart Workplace platform, powered by Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches and APs, Cisco DNA Spaces, Cisco DNA Center and Cisco Collaboration Suite, the Darling Park project has taken employee experience to the next level, by connecting technology to the physical space.  

From experience comes wisdom  

As NTT has learned guiding clients on their digital transformation journey, creating a smart workplace requires a modern network. 

This starts with a high-speed network fabric to ensure optimal performance of demanding applications like HD video. The space must also provide a wireless-everywhere experience using pervasive wireless (Wi-Fi 6/5G) to connect any device anywhere.  

And as usual security is a must, making identity-based access using network segmentation of users/guests and devices a requirement. 

Another key to a modern network is location analytics, which optimizes the workplace environment and social behaviors.  And finally, you need to take advantage of PoE to easily power sensors, cameras, LED lighting, signage and IoT devices. 

Return employees safely to the office 

The “traditional” workplace may never return, but certainly your employees will. The workplace of the future is going to be centered around people and how they connect to each other with seamless, secure and smart technology. And while few could have foreseen the challenges we are currently experiencing, NTT’s Darling Park vision has prepared them for what’s next.  Today, as NTT looks to have their employees safely return to the office, that same technology that was used to delight their employees and inspire their customers can now be used to provide the right policies, processes and technology to give them confidence to return to the office.   

As Mr. Priestley stated “Providing choice in how and where employees carry out their role is key. The physical location must provide a space which is a catalyst for creativity, innovation, and resilience. “ 

I think we will discover that NTT’s Darling Park will prove to be a shining example that we can all follow into the future. “ Everything has it’s place and it just works” 

Cisco’s Jasmine Shah recently sat down with Mr. Priestley and Grant Donald from NTT, ASHRAE’s outgoing President Charles Gulledge, Kim Johnson from Igor, Alex Bunda from Southwire to discuss their inspiration and how they hope to inspire others to start their journey to net-zero.

Visit Cisco Insider Series for Networking to listen to the Smart Building podcast.

To learn more about how Cisco and our partners can make your building safer and more efficient, visit our Cisco Smart Building Solutions


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Jeff Meek

Product Marketing Manager

Enterprise Networking and Mobility