Optimising workspace with IoT

On the one hand, a new generation of workers is bringing new demands and ways of working into the workplace. Companies of all kinds experience a switch in the workplace from assigned workstations and fixed working hours toward more flexible and technology-aided working arrangements.

On the other hand, companies — and subsequently their facility and corporate real estate professionals — experience increasing external pressures from highly competitive global markets, leading to increased focus on optimization of costs, space utilization and productivity.

Facilities count as a major expense

In your role as a facility or corporate real estate manager it is no surprise that you feel somehow squeezed in the middle of all the trouble.

Your job is to make the everyday workplace experience better for the employees and cover their demands for a workplace powered by technology, great workplace experiences and more flexible ways of working. But no matter how great workplace experiences you have the ability to create, you also need to keep an eye on the cost optimization side of things.

Use flexibility for better space utilisation

What optimization of costs concerns, providing workers with flexibility can actually be a good thing. An increasingly remote workforce requires less physical space and if you add up the cost reduction your company can achieve — when it no longer has to heat, cool and power unused space – the saving can be of high significance.

To make this a reality, however, and to improve return on facility assets, you need advanced capabilities to identify underutilized and poor-performing facilities, assets, processes and resources.

You need to be able to monitor the movement and number of occupants in the building – in real time and you need to make sense of what space is used at what time. These real-time observations can enable you to plan and enable the optimal use of offices and common areas and help you identify opportunities for savings in areas such as energy consumption, space utilization and even the building service management.

Optimising cost savings with IBM and ISS

Working with IBM’s Watson Internet of Things (IoT) platform, ISS is currently working on integrating and analyzing data from millions of devices and sensors embedded into buildings, including among others doors, windows, meeting rooms, air conditioning systems.

This integration will allow you as a facility or corporate real estate professional to understand how your building occupants are using the building and on that basis optimize your services and space utilization.

Through sensor technology, knowing what kinds of spaces in your buildings are occupied at what times will allow you to efficiently control and utilize lighting, air conditioning as well as manage services such as cleaning only when there is a need for it.

It will also give you a sense of just how much space is needed to operate your company overall, what types of space your employees are in need of and which services are preferred at what times.

The CEO of ISS, Jeff Gravenhorst, explains;

“With a dashboard overview of key building metrics displayed on mobile devices, facility managers will benefit from an integrated, real-time view of the services and supplies within their buildings enabling them to adopt a more pro-active, flexible and responsive approach to building management and customized service delivery. Putting real time data into the hands of service staff will help to foster more attentive and service-minded employees, supporting our customers in achieving their priorities. Putting a ‘human touch’ in buildings helps to increase employee productivity, decrease absenteeism and makes a better impression on visitors.”

Utilizing sensor technologies and making your facilities and corporate real estate management more proactive can with without a doubt help you improve the effectiveness of a distributed workforce, increase physical facility utilization and accelerate workplace configuration. These capabilities will be instrumental in the driving competitive workplace experiences of the future.