How to optimise occupancy rates in office buildings while offering a great user experience?
In Paris, space is scarce and square metres are very expensive. That said, buildings and other facilities are often underused: average occupancy rates in office buildings, for example, hover around 60%. Company restaurants, for instance, are empty during most of the day whereas meeting rooms are often in short supply, and company car parks are mostly unused at night and at weekends.
The companies using these buildings need to serve seemingly conflicting purposes, i.e. provide staff with comfortable working conditions and suitable amenities while communities are asking for more ‘porosity’ between offices and the neighbourhoods around them – and do all of the above on a budget.
Buildings are one of the main cost items for companies and communities. And there is a lot of untapped potential to cut costs by reorganising space and possibly even sharing a number of facilities among various groups of users, businesses and buildings.
As things stand today, however, there are two main hurdles:
- Building managers lack tools based on the actual use of their space and facilities
- Practical concerns relating to building and occupant safety and security curtail opportunities to share space and facilities
Use case and experiment field
Several solutions are already available, for example including room booking systems. But these solutions often require heavy investment and only provide a partial picture of the way a building is used.
The goal for this experiment is to test a solution providing a 360° view of the way a building is used. Depending on the field, this experiment may focus on:
- Harvesting data showing the ways the building is used
- Analysing data reflecting space use and management
- Opening and sharing facilities
Like a growing number of other buildings, partner organisations’ head offices have building management systems (BMSs) supplying a considerable amount of data about the building (for example indoor temperature, lights switched on and off, etc.). The question is how to use these existing data sets to distil information about an area’s occupancy rates and the type of activities the building hosts.
The goal for this use case is to use existing infrastructure to assess the knowledge that can be gleaned without substantial additional investment.
Other data, beyond that from a BMS, may be gathered to provide a clearer picture of the ways employees effectively use their working spaces.
Bouygues Energies & Services (BYES) has equipped its head office with a tracking system that plots out building occupants’ circuits, as part of a separate experiment it is currently conducting. Likewise, Cisco and Nexity are taking initiatives to monitor users and provide new services for them, especially by leveraging the IoT.
The question is how to turn this raw data into recommendations, in particular to:
- Map out the way a building is currently used, through space and time
- Rearrange space
- Facilitate interaction among users
- Improve real-time space management
Nexity head office:
- Booking Management System data
Cisco head office:
- Access-control APIs
- Visitor-counting data
- Proprietary video recognition and person-counting algorithms
- API Exchange for room bookings (room name, number of seats and availability of videoconferencing equipment)
- Pnda: http://pnda.io/
- Digital Ceiling: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/workforce-experience/digital-ceiling.html
- Cisco Spark: https://www.ciscospark.com/pricing/new-offer.html
- CMX: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/enterprise-networks/connected-mobile-experiences/index.html
The ultimate objective for this challenge is to build a win-win relationship with the selected startup. The project partners’ specific goals follow:
- Nexity: provide property managers and their space planning teams with new tools to objectivise the decisions they make with users, by basing them on data reflecting effective usage. These insights may also help them to anticipate customer requirements when they design new office buildings
- Cisco: stimulate the ecosystem around the Digital Ceiling approach in the Cisco Spark collaborative suite, showcase the CMX geolocation API, contact shared customers, partner to develop new products, work together on R&D, investments, etc.
To answer this challenge, the team provided facility managers with the proper tool for continuous space optimization. Irlynx thermic sensors have been set up in Nexity open spaces and meeting rooms to evaluate the occupancy rate of each room and work station, while SharingCloud set up its booking platform (QR code, roompad..) to collect data on FlexOffice management. By combining those data on Cisco platform. the 2 startups and the partners provided facility managers with a dashboard to help them objectify each workspace use in real-time (get occupancy rate, receive alerts on underused and overused spaces…). Thanks to it, space planning and space re-organization can focus on employees experience and uses.
Impact & Fact
Enhance working condition for employees
Diminish the underused spaces in a building and optimize each square meters
Solution scalable to many other building
- 11 thermic sensors
- 10+ users interviews
- 3 Nexity areas mobilized