By Drew Suszko
Facilities Management Article Use Policy
The advantage of a sophisticated analytical platform is its presentation of several approaches to collecting and analyzing data. One of the most effective in the context of maximizing the use of space is the placement of sensors throughout the office environment. The sensors collect data, which is transmitted to a network and subsequently to a massive database in the form of a veritable warehouse of information consisting of millions of data points. A second database performs calculations on, tabulates, and processes the data. From there, processed bits and bytes, in volumes too large for human comprehension, move to a web-based analytics platform.
The vital difference is immediacy. Instead of dealing with data usage that is compiled over a lengthy time period, sometimes several months, the sensors record and send data minute by minute, ensuring a decision-making process based on current information.
Key metrics, along with dynamic visualization tools, such as charts and graphs created through the software platform, take the volume of information and condense it. In this way a corporate real estate or facility management expert can either make or recommend decisions to management supported by the data.
Much of this data focus revolves around the Building Internet of Things (IoT), the collective terminology applied to sensors, software, and other items of connectivity for the exchange of data waiting to be harnessed. In a 2016 report, Deloitte Consulting noted that “the CRE industry is perhaps uniquely positioned to implement the technology using IoT-enabled building management systems to make building performance more efficient and … sensor-generated data to enhance building user experience.” In the same report, Deloitte projects the compound growth rate of nearly 79 percent in the use worldwide of IoT sensor deployments by CRE, amounting to 1.2 billion by the year 2020.
The value of CRE data is a “game-changer” in facilities management. Now organizations can optimize their portfolios through platforms unavailable only a few years ago. Previously inaccessible data helps organizations arrive at more informed conclusions — for example, when to consolidate and when to promote a different strategy for a specific site. It is a unique, if not revolutionary, way to analyze how work flows through a space and how usage of that space may impact operating costs and return on investment.
Another important benefit of place-based analytics is the positive impact on the workforce. Leveraging data from the sensors and other Building IoT components improves employee satisfaction and retention. Users report productivity improvement in the workplace environment.
One example is a large consumer-products company in the Southeast that was planning to invest in an addition to its global headquarters to complement a full-scale renovation of the existing space. The company focused on usage patterns of its collaboration spaces, believing that increasing and enhancing the experience of collaborating with colleagues would contribute to both increased employee engagement and enhanced business results. Following installation of remote monitoring devices in all of the dedicated collaboration spaces and collection of 16.5 million data points, an analytical software application determined that people were meeting in smaller groups and many of the larger spaces were never fully utilized. Ultimately, place-based analytics enabled right-sizing and rebalancing the facility for optimal interactions.
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