How Smart Buildings and IoT Are Impacting CRE
Workplace Technology Assessment
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A good IWMS (integrated workplace management software) is a great tool, and adds a ton of value to almost any organization. But for today’s Corporate Real Estate (CRE) teams, who are dealing with the new demands of modern workplaces, even the best IWMS may not be able to completely meet their needs.
An IWMS is designed to support all five pillars of facilities management:
- Real estate/property
- Space management
- Operations and maintenance
- Capital planning and project management
- Energy management
The key word is “integrated.” An IWMS brings all the data about your workplace, from asset tracking to maintenance upgrades to space planning, into one system so you can see how everything works together. Most of these systems perform these functions well.
For a company’s CRE team, their IWMS is invaluable when it comes to lease management, asset tracking, and the very basics of space planning and management. However, most IWMS systems are designed to be jacks-of-all-trades, not specialty masters. Especially for CRE, many systems lack the advanced space planning features and functions that are needed to meet today’s challenges.
As companies have realized that the workplace can play a big factor in their employees’ work experience, CRE teams are now tasked with creating modern workplaces that boost productivity, inspire employee engagement, and help attract and retain top talent. They need a robust tool that does more than just manage leases and perform basic space planning.
On the surface, utilization software looks like a bonus add-on—something designed specifically to capture and understand space usage. Serraview takes this a step further: it combines traditional space planning and management capabilities with real-time space utilization data.
By combining allocation with real-time usage data and analyzing within the Serraview Workplace Optimization solution, CRE professional are able to glean greater insights about their space. Understanding these usage patterns is helping them to make evidenced-based decisions about their space planning, management and forecasting.
For example, you can use reports generated from Serraview to make better plans about how to handle peak utilization in your building – whether its the overall use of the buildings or understanding the specifics of your meeting room usage. If you discover, for example, that multiple departments schedule “all-hands” meetings every Thursday, you can use that data to talk to department heads about staggering those schedules. Or, you might determine that you don’t have enough collaborative spaces or the spaces that you have are under used or not used efficiently (e.g. large conference rooms are being used for 4-6 person meetings)
Another point in utilization software’s favor is its agility and flexibility. IWMS are huge platforms and setting one up in a company is a lengthy, thoughtful process—but a system like Serraview can be set up relatively quickly. Serraview specifically, is source-agnostic and can accept data input from almost anything: your current IWMS, entry badges, or IoT devices like sensors, beacons or even smart lighting systems.
Plays Well Together or Separately
In many cases, our clients use Serraview “on top of” their existing IWMS. Serraview takes in space management information provided by the IWMS, combines it with space usage data collected from various sources and then provides actionable reporting and insights.
Also, with real and veriafiable data, Serraview can help you visualize different scenarios when space planning or forecasting. With the analysis Serraview provides from your usage data, you can determine whether or not you can move from fixed to flexible seating, or downsize your current workspace when your lease options come up. And most important, you can see the immediate impacts of these changes, all within the system.
Serraview and other utilization software can also be used to analyze data and make decisions related to the other five pillars—like adjusting your HVAC schedule to better reflect the times when most of your employees are in the workplace. If you can set your air conditioning to kick in one hour later because you see that most of your employees actually get to the office at 9:00, not 8:00, that can translate to significant savings in utilities costs.
While a tool like Serraview is designed to be synergistic with an IWMS (along with a variety of other platforms and systems), some clients find that they don’t actually need all the bells and whistles of an IWMS. In this case, utilization software can be used alone to manage your space, gather usage data and provide those actionable insights.
If you decide to implement Serraview as a standalone software, it’s a simple matter of redirecting the input feeds from the IWMS to Serraview, and ensuring that data like floor plans and employee information is uploaded directly to Serraview.