As part of its digital workplace strategy, leading insurer AXA uses IoT sensors to measure space occupancy and workplace comfort. This data is then captured in a smart building platform that performs real-time analytics. It visualizes on floor plans and dashboards how the space is being used throughout the day, and how the workplace can better support employees.
Space for a New Way of Working
At AXA’s Brussels headquarters, people no longer have fixed desks. Instead, AXA gives staffers a choice of spaces that are optimized for different activities. In this flexible working environment, there is no need for more than 6 workstations per 10 employees. The result is not just increased space efficiency and reduced costs, but also a highly comfortable and agile workplace that stays up-to-date with the evolving needs of workers.
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We live in a world where agile working is quickly becoming the new normal. This creates a demand for flexible space but also for smart services that make the most of that space. Technology both drives and enables this smart workplace revolution. IoT-related technologies, in particular, play a key role. These days, companies increasingly use sensor data to enable new workplace scenarios. Scenarios that range from space and comfort tracking to workplace guidance, to transforming workflows and building management.
How should you plan your smart workplace strategy to realize the full potential of these technologies?
Smart workplace scenario planning
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for IoT deployment in the workplace. It really depends on your business priorities. Nevertheless, in a first stage, organizations typically MONITOR parameters such as building occupancy, comfort, and employee happiness. The data is rendered on dashboards and heat maps to understand trends and support decision making. As a next step, the same data is frequently made available through interactive screens and mobile apps to ASSIST occupants in real time. In a further stage, organizations often use sensor data and smart apps to TRANSFORM the way they manage and service their buildings.
In this way, businesses can leverage a one-time investment in IoT sensors for multiple scenarios, which can be implemented using a phased approach. Let’s have a look at the 3 major dimensions.
The first use case for many organizations is undeniably space monitoring. This should come as no surprise. Businesses globally under-utilize an average of 30-40% of their space on a typical workday. By using simple, sensor-based analytics to understand building occupancy, they can make huge savings. Occupancy data provides the insights to reduce vacancy and maximize real estate utilization. It also informs more effective workplace layouts and helps workplace leaders determine the optimal desk-to-employee ratio in an activity-based working environment.
Real-time occupancy sensing is key to space optimization. But the same data, rendered through different touchpoints, can also support workers to make the most productive use of the workplace. Occupants today expect to interact with their building in much the same way they interact with other things in their life: from their phone. So, showing real-time space availability on a mobile app is no longer an option but a must. Additional touchpoints can be kiosks in high-traffic areas or a chatbot for people who prefer a more conversational experience.
Workplaces with fixed spaces and assigned seating are giving way to more fluid office layouts that support flexible working. In much the same way, service providers are replacing service delivery according to fixed plans and schedules with an outcome-based service model. This new, dynamic way of providing services puts people first and focuses efforts where they matter most. Actual usage, tracked in real time, is what drives this. In addition, users can also request on-demand services. Cleaners and technicians get visual instructions on mobile devices, showing them on a floor plan where to go and what task to perform. An example of this type of scenario is Spacewell’s Work Assistant app.
Using existing data (you did not realize you had)
Businesses can profitably leverage the IoT in the workplace through a single use case, such as space optimization. However, the return can be even more important through a combination of scenarios. Companies are increasingly using data sets that they collected for one scenario to enable others. They don’t stop at monitoring and analysing anymore, but use live sensor data to create more responsive spaces and services.
There is not always a need to install new sensors, either. Chances are you already have a lot of building data (e.g. comfort data) in a Building Management System. In that case, it makes good sense to unlock this data and make it available to a smart building platform, such as Cobundu.