Why Office Buildings Should Run Like Spaceships

Yodit Stanton quoted in Oct-8-2017 WSJ Article “Why Office Buildings Should Run Like Spaceships”

There have been several articles in the press about sensors used to create a workplace characterized by pervasive monitoring, turning it into a panopticon, a prison where every resident’s activities are subject to surveillance. That is certainly a risk, but it’s driven not by the technology per se but by how management, whether executive management or facilities management, intends to make use of the information.

None of the sensors we deploy for occupancy monitoring do more than count – whether it’s how many people are in a meeting room or if a desk is occupied. What I liked about Christopher Mims approach is that he focused on how sensors can help to make workplaces healthier and more productive for employees.

The entire article is worth reading but here are two quotes that will give you a flavor. First his opening sentence;

“If you have ever yearned to work aboard the Starship Enterprise, take comfort: The newest office buildings have more in common with spaceships than you realize.”

I think this is a much better metaphor for the likely impact of sensors on the workplace when deployed by intelligent and caring executives.

“Scientists have been trying for decades to figure out how to help humans survive long-haul missions in orbit and to Mars. They take into account light levels, temperature, humidity and dozens of other factors including working styles. The biggest difference between that research and what’s happening here on Earth is that office optimization isn’t about survival, but productivity—getting the most out of every worker.”

I would say our approach to office optimization is to enable micro-climates or neighborhoods that allow each employee–and the teams they are members of–to be more productive using evidence based design and a clear understanding of the activities they need to engage in to get their job done. Areas for people who spend a lot of writing may look different than those who spend a lot of time on the phone, and work environments that enable intense ongoing collaboration will be different still.

Over the course of any given day or week an employee may spend different amounts of time in each area. Sensors help you understand what’s being utilized and coupled with ongoing direct communication with employees will allow facilities management and executive to continue to adapt and refine the environments to improve employee health and productivity.

Read full article at https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-office-buildings-should-run-like-spaceships-1507467601

We are getting ready for MIPIM UK!

18-19 October 2017 – Olympia, London 

Mipim UK logorob-bye-168860

Photo by Rob Bye on Unsplash

If you’re coming to MIPIM UK this year, drop by and say hello. You can find us at stand B-31 where we’ll be showcasing examples of OpenSensors’ latest projects. Daniel Hummelsund, our Business Development Representative is giving a presentation on Thursday 19th on “Sensor Data and Evidence Based Design” at 11.00am in the Innovation section – so book your seat!

We’d love to show you the variety of sensors we support. Whether you are interested in measuring the environmental factors, occupancy or air quality of your space, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask us everything you ever wanted to know.

MIPIM is the leading real estate event of the year where major international real estate projects representing all segments of real estate – residential, commercial and industrial – will be showcased.

 

 

Roundup of the Best Workplace Trends Blogs

Blogs are a great way to keep up with the fast changing developments in workspaces. From sensors and software to IoT to real estate, here is a round-up of are some of our current favorite blogs:

Workplace Insight Workplace Insight is a great source of news and information about the design and management of workplaces. Mark Eltringham and his team offer interesting insights into workplace design and management issues.

Memoori Memoori provides thought provoking information and insights on smart buildings.

Dwell Magazine We love this stylish and innovative Magazine, the Workplace & Office section is a special favorite.

Here are a couple of favorite IoT and Smart Building blogs that keep us informed on the latest technology and innovation trends too;

Have a blog you think we should include? Let us know, we’d love to check it out!

Say Goodbye to Clipboards! Why Sensors Are Replacing Manual Desk Occupancy Surveys

Over the past two decades, clipboard reports have been the foundation for desk occupancy studies. In a typical study, 12 undergraduates walk a 5km route through an office workspace to document desk and conference room occupancy. The path takes about an hour to complete and once they finish the start around the path again.

One of the primary benefits of the desk occupancy sensors is that companies can make improvements in how space is used and the potential for reducing costs and energy usage. By capturing and centralizing utilisation information, and doing so in a timely, automatic, non- intrusive manner, analytic programs can find places for improvement.

  • Staffing cost – Manual surveys are expensive, and the biggest expense in such studies is labor. The staff cost is not just for gathering the information, but additional resources are needed to do the reporting on the data.
  • On-going staff training expense – Because of the high turnover rate of these surveyors with clipboards, companies spend a surprisingly high amount of ongoing training and hiring activities. Often this is a very large hidden expense.
  • Errors – Walking a long tedious route gets boring, surveyors make mistakes, and the quality of the study suffers.
  • Sampling rates – Because of the large staff cost, manual surveys are usually constrained to about a week. Sensors enable you to get a better picture of what is going on as you are measuring for a longer period of time i.e. minimum of 8 weeks or permanently. Also, rather than sampling what is going on every hour, you can now sample every 5-10 minutes. The rule of thumb is, you’ve got to sample at twice the event frequency to have confidence in what you’re doing. If you’re doing an hourly survey, you’re really only capturing events that last 90 minutes to 2 hours with any kind of accuracy. On a 10 minute sample, you’re catching stuff that’s 20 minutes, half an hour long. On a 5 minute sample, you’re probably catching events that are 10-15 minutes long.
  • Reporting – The whole point of the study. With manual surveys, whether using pencil and paper or software, staff still need to generate reports. With OpenSensors, the sensors’ data becomes a feed and the reporting and dashboards are ready made and don’t require on-going work to be generated. The whole operation becomes less of a manual process of moving data around; we link with CAFM systems and any other facilities management systems. The process becomes API driven and enables multiple stakeholders to analyse the data.
  • Security – Sensors are less disruptive than having people constantly walking through the office.

Utilisation studies can help you manage desk sharing ratio and unit mix for your flexible working office. Workspace occupancy sensors are replacing manual surveys for a timely, automatic, non- intrusive way to manage wasted desk space and save cost and energy usage.