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Accenture: Space and Comfort Monitoring for an Optimal Workplace

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Sector

Professional services
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Location

Brussels, Belgium
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Site

In October 2019, Accenture moved to new Benelux headquarters at Gare Maritime in Brussels. Gare Maritime, part of urban redevelopment project Tour & Taxis, is one of the city’s most iconic sustainable office space developments. It uses solar energy, rainwater recovery, and natural ventilation, and has lots of vegetation, all within a deeply renovated wooden construction from the 19th century.
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Scenarios

  • Deployed (Nov. 2019): Spacewell’s smart building solution, in particular:
  • Planned – with a view to broadening the scope of use of the data:
    • BMS integration
    • IWMS integration
    • Integration with the ticketing system of facility service provider ISS
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Scope

  • 4700 m², 4 floors, 330 desks, 25 meeting spaces monitored, 11 phone boots
  • 1,000 employees
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Metrics

  • Occupancy and utilization in a free-address workspace (no assigned desks)
  • Correlation between space occupancy and comfort parameters
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Challenge

  • Optimize space and comfort in an activity-based work environment with flexible work practices and a ‘nomadic’, highly mobile workforce.
  • Historically, occupancy data was collected manually, which takes a lot of time and does not give an accurate view of reality (merely a snapshot, no view of the evolution during the day)
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Solution

  • After evaluating different vendors and solutions, Accenture opted for Spacewell’s Cobundu smart building platform and its array of IoT sensors.
  • Accenture implemented the Space Monitor (with PIR motion sensors) and Comfort Monitor solutions shortly after moving into the new offices.
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Result

  • The occupancy rates – objectively measured – turned out to be much lower than people’s perception
  • The monitoring – even after only 1 to 2 months’ data collection – uncovered opportunities to improve the overall space utilization
  • In some cases, poor comfort was at the root of underutilization, as was evident when comfort measurements were correlated with occupancy data
  • Temperature and humidity measurements also proved very useful to tune the HVAC system and resolve comfort issues reflected in the use of the rooms, e.g. small spaces that got too hot and uncomfortable

About Accenture

Accenture is a multinational professional services company, ranked as a Fortune Global 500 company. It provides a broad range of services in strategy and consulting, interactive, technology and operations, with digital capabilities across all of these services. With 513,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture brings continuous innovation to help clients improve their performance and create lasting value across their enterprises.

I was surprised by the low occupancy rate while the perception was that we didn’t have enough space. Sensor-based space monitoring demonstrated incorrect use of the flex workplace, rather than a lack of space. It shows that even with our very mobile and nomadic workforce, some change management is required to make optimal use of an agile workplace concept. In a free-seating environment, you need to shift people’s mindset to get rid of old habits such as claiming a shared seat in the morning while spending most of the day in meetings elsewhere.

Sam Dils

Facility Specialist, Accenture

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