The business landscape has always been in a constant state of evolution. As CREs learn more and more about what drives their workforce, management teams have been able to simplify processes and create an environment that supports employees on both a collective and individual level. Internet of Things (IoT) based tools, such as sensors, now play a critical role in these workplace transformations. These tools offer invaluable insight into employee behavior, as well as space utilization, resulting in a more productive, engaging, and efficient workplace environment. Considering HBR reports the average U.S. office peaks at 42% space utilization, there is plenty of room for optimization and enhancement.
Is your organization considering such an investment, yet hesitant to take the plunge? Read on to find out all you need to know to help make that decision easier.
What Data Can These Sensors Provide?
To ensure space optimization and an enhanced employee experience, these three questions must be answered:
- How much total space does the organization have?
- Is it being used to its fullest potential?
- How much is being used by each department at any given time?
Historically, management teams have asked these same questions for decades. By the time the data was manually collected and analyzed, the information was often outdated, causing most strategies to be more of a bandaid than a true solution. The introduction of sensors, however, has changed this scenario considerably. Sensor data places continuous, real-time data right at our fingertips. This, coupled with a software solution like SpaceTrak, provides the insight needed at a granular level – precisely what is needed for creating an agile workspace strategy and in forecasting future needs.
“Having full oversight of what’s happening across the organization is hugely important. With more information, businesses are better able to refine and amend working practices, ensuring staff have the right set-up to work as effectively as possible.” –Jamie Purser, National Account Manager at Acer, UK
What Type of Sensors Are Available Today?
As an increasing number of organizations recognize the value of workplace utilization data, a plethora of sensors and smart building technology has been introduced into the marketplace. The most extensively used types of space occupancy sensors are:
Desk sensors – These occupancy sensors are installed at each desk, collaboration space, etc. While it does not offer insight into WHO is utilizing the workspace, strategists are able to collect valuable data regarding when and how much each space is used. This is particularly beneficial for the office that has embraced a more agile workplace strategy.
Motion sensors – These wall or ceiling-mounted sensors detect movement in an area, offering up to 95% accuracy regarding space occupancy.
People recognition sensors – This technology uses cameras to count and process the number of people utilizing a particular space. Without recording any images, data is collected in real-time, providing a more accurate reading of space occupancy.
High-volume count sensors – Typically used in more high-traffic areas, these sensors are installed above doors, measuring the number of people entering and exiting the area. With up to 98% accuracy, this data arms leaders with the necessary information to forecast future spatial needs.
As workplace leaders learn more about what data is relevant to their unique situation, we have seen an acceleration in sensor technology. Improved accuracy, effortless installation and implementation, and improved upkeep has made this a tech-favorite for organizations across the globe.
Important Talking Points When Considering Occupancy Sensors
There are a number of factors to consider when researching the right occupancy sensors for your organization’s unique needs. To ensure the most accurate and actionable data, be sure to look for these features.
Real Time vs. Periodic Data Reporting
Some sensors report data on a periodic basis, while others send a steady stream of information in real time. Carefully consider your organization’s short and long-term goals when determining which data reporting option best fits your needs.
Level of Precision
As previously mentioned, some sensors report at a higher level of precision than others. When interviewing potential vendors, be sure to ask questions that will shed some light as to the product’s level of accuracy. How sensitive is it to people walking by? Can it report on how many people are in an auditorium? What is the beam’s measurement? If the vendor will allow it, consider testing out the product prior to purchase.
How Does the System Communicate Data?
Does the system require access to your network or does it utilize its own 4G connection? Does it communicate with the cloud? Are there any security concerns? What does the installation process entail? Which leads us to our next point…
Wireless vs. Wired
Both of these options come with their own set of pros and cons. Wired involves a more extensive implementation process. Wireless is easier to install and can be moved around should an office redesign occur. However, wireless sensors run on batteries. If this is the route you choose, be sure to look into the costs associated with battery replacement. How long does each batter last and what would the total cost be over a two year period?
Does the system offer API for integration with third-party software applications?
How Will These Sensors Affect the Mindset of the Workforce?
Most enterprises invest in sensor technology, in part, to ensure a more productive and engaging workplace culture. Therefore, it would defeat the purpose to have awkwardly placed equipment which makes employees feel anxious. If the sensor can be easily blocked or damaged, the accuracy of your data will be compromised. While aesthetics isn’t necessarily a top priority, it is something that should be considered.
Data Analytics for Today’s Business Landscape
Now that you’ve collected this sensor data, where do you go from here? How do you bring it all together into useful, actionable intelligence? That’s where SpaceTrak’s strategic and analytical enterprise-based solution comes into play, merging the power of sensor data with:
- Dashboards, reports, and analytics for instant, actionable intelligence at every level
- Scenario planning that helps identify the optimal layout for your organization’s needs
- All while considering adjacency needs and constraints
Schedule an appointment or demonstration to see how SpaceTrak can work for you.