Your office building is much more intelligent than it looks. There is not even a lot you have to do except exploit the potential of your existing data sources.
In this article, we show you the 3 steps necessary to transform the brainless concrete block called office building into a smart and people-oriented work environment:
- Check and prepare;
- Use and learn!
Real estate is the second biggest expense after labour costs. It is therefore worth taking a closer look at how and where these costs occur and in which areas they can be reduced. Now, if we add the fact that office buildings are usually utilised less than 50%, then we probably all agree that this area offers enormous optimisation potential, not only in monetary terms but also in relation to your employees’ work experience.
It is therefore important that you no longer rely on gut feelings alone but rather on hard facts when it comes to decisions. Analysing space utilisation is the right way to gain a better understanding of what happens in your office buildings. The only question that remains to be answered is which approach you take.
Imagine that you are now being assigned the task to evaluate possibilities to get real-time insights into your office buildings.
The 3 Steps You Must Consider
Step 1: Analyse what you want to achieve and analyse what you need for this
Do you know the dilemma? You are so focused on a project that you try implementing it before you even started analysing why, how and what you want to achieve with this project. This also happens to project leaders from time to time when assigned the task of gaining valuable insights into office buildings.
You should prevent this loss of time and money by remembering this culinary metaphor: It is like cooking.
The project is the dish that you need to serve for dinner (and no later). In order to prepare a good meal on time, every chef focuses on one absolutely vital aspect – the shopping list! And the same goes for you: think first about what you want to cook (in this case, what you would like to achieve) and what ingredients are necessary (i.e. which data) and write it down.
Step 2: Check what is already there and prepare for integration
Preparing the shopping list means checking your storeroom for ingredients that are lying around untouched. As you now know what kind of insights you hope to have gathered after implementing this project, you should now start looking into your existing IT infrastructure that you are using daily. With the advent of big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning, platforms have evolved to support more accurate real-time insights, revealing previously hidden patterns into the actual use of space.
Your company most probably has data lying idle from various sources. While LAN and Wi-Fi networks can be used as primary data sources, other data from the device inventory, existing space repositories, room booking and CAFM systems as well as building IoT can be integrated to increase the level of detail of your space utilisation analysis.
While the mentioned sources offer all the necessary data, there are also other possibilities besides the software-only approach to gain insights into space utilisation. This depends to a large extent on the use cases that your company has and the challenges you are facing.
If you now think that you still lack ingredients to cook your meal, then you should start thinking about buying additional ingredients (read more about different technology solutions. However, you most probably have everything you need for the delicious meal and you can save time by taking care of the remaining preparation. In the world of cooking this is called “Mise en place”!
As you now have an overview of the data sources that your IT infrastructure provides, it is time to prepare their integration in order to collect and consolidate all the data. There are, for example, IT infrastructure providers such as Cisco or Aruba that are widespread and can therefore be integrated in a fairly straightforward manner. However, solutions from other providers can also be integrated. At this stage, it is important to involve your company’s IT department to find out whether your infrastructure matches the technical requirements of a software-only solution.
One of the great advantages of relying on the existing infrastructure: it requires no or very little local setup. This means that a software-only solution can be rolled out quickly at affordable costs.
Step 3: Use the insights and learn from them
The use of big data technology and machine learning algorithms takes over the collection, consolidation, processing and, finally, the visualisation of the data. To return to the cooking analogy: The menu gets prepared, arranged and is ready to be served automatically.
This allows you to gain valuable and real-time insights into how your organisation uses its workspace. Depending on your responsibilities and the use cases you have, it is now possible to pick out the information you need:
Gain portfolio-wide insights into your workspace
- Understand how your office buildings are performing
- Identify space utilisation optimisation potential
- Understand the impact of your workspace layouts
Find out how to improve facility operations
- Identify workplace issues
- Recognise optimisation potential to improve cleaning effectiveness
- Understand whether your HVAC matches the demand
Understand how to increase workspace experience
- Are there enough rooms or desks available?
- Do employees lose time by searching for colleagues?
- Can employees find their way around the building?
As you now have access to real-time insights, it is essential to understand their importance and act on this information by implementing measures to optimise workspace, improve facility operations and increase workspace experience.