By Danielle Moore
Director, Channel Marketing
SpaceIQ

The landscape for smart buildings is bigger than ever and growing larger by the day. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to walk into a major corporate office and not interact with some sort of integrated smart technology that fundamentally improves your relationship with the workplace.

In the most advanced offices, technology isn’t just a feature—it’s a cornerstone of everyday operations. The question for many companies isn’t if they need smart workplace sensors; it’s how to manage them once they’ve made the investment.

The answer is, thankfully, a simple one: a smart Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). IWMS technology serves as the fundamental backbone for a growing office leveraging Internet of Things (IoT). With each new sensor and the data it generates, an IWMS is key in translating ones and zeroes into smarter workplace insights.

Here’s a step-by-step look at how an IWMS, paired with an expanding office IoT, creates actionable insights for better facility management.

Step 1: Smart sensor integration

We’re in a golden age for workplace technologies, and IoT sensors are no exception. The problem is, for the dozens of brands and hundreds of sensor options out there, each seemingly runs in its own ecosystem. Depending on the type of sensor, communication protocol, firmware, and other factors, these sensors don’t always play well together.

An IWMS is the solution to sensor integration—an all-important first step. Whether it’s a motion sensor or a seat sensor, an IWMS acts as a welcoming recipient for streaming data. With the ability to accept incoming data streams over Wi-Fi and other IP communication modes, an IWMS makes it easy to integrate an office full of IoT sensors—and collect the data they provide.

Step 2: Orchestration and organization

Accepting incoming data from workplace sensors is only the first step. To actually use that data, facility managers need to orchestrate it within the IWMS. What’s the purpose of the motion sensor in Conference Room 302? When triggered, what action needs to happen? Facility managers need to map out a purposeful journey for data, to connect the dots between sensor function and workplace action.

This becomes a cumbersome task as more devices come into play. It’s invaluable to have software that keeps incoming IoT streams organized and accessible. A vivid image of a fine-woven spiderweb comes to mind, and it’s an apt comparison. A facility manager sitting at the center of an IoT web needs to know which threads pull on which workplace services—and who’s tugging on them. An IWMS keeps the local web of sensors, beacons, and other network-enabled technologies in order.

Step 3: Data aggregation and reporting

IoT data triggers action and reaction. Motion sensors trigger lights. Floor pressure sensors trigger occupancy in a room booking system. An ID badge unlocks an access-controlled door. These are valuable functions, certainly, but the raw data that accompanies them is of equal value. How often does motion trigger the lights in Meeting Room 412? How long, on average, do groups occupy conference rooms? Who last accessed the Server Room with their ID badge? Workplace sensors capture every data point and change, and there’s value in deciphering it.

An IWMS doesn’t just connect sensor data to triggers and functions. It also aggregates raw data into useful reporting metrics to provide granular information about how people use their workplace. Facility managers can use this data in infinite ways—from simple benchmarking to understanding space utilization and data-driven capital improvements. Dashboards provide at-a-glance insights that bring value to numerous aspects of facilities management.

Step 4: Optimization for ROI

Even companies with broad IoT networks are still in an experimental phase. We haven’t quite reached the sci-fi future of total building automation. That said, it’s no longer a far-fetched future as facility managers continue to find more advanced use-cases for IoT sensors. Using data from their IWMS and increasingly robust sensor functions, companies are able to deploy more articulated workflows. For example, sensor data can go beyond telling employees if a room is occupied—it can recommend an alternative meeting place that’s equidistant to all invited participants.

Every new optimization made through IWMS data and sensor integration becomes a driver of bottom-line savings and data-driven decision making. The more companies can make real estate work for them and their employees, the more the balance shifts from workplace as a cost center to workplace as an innovation hub. Not only does that spur bottom-line savings, it can even generate top-line growth through enablement.

The modern era of real-time reporting

Following the above steps and building a powerful IoT on the back of a smart IWMS is a recipe for real-time insights. Today, these systems move as fast as the workplaces they support. The access control system logs an ID badge the moment it’s swiped. The desk booking system is updated as soon as someone sits down. This instantaneous relationship is what allows workplaces to remain agile. When everything is real-time, everyone is on the same page.

IWMS is essential for the number of growing IoT sensors

From heat maps of workspace utilization across the workplace, to trigger-based automations from the sensors themselves, IWMS and IoT are a dynamic duo. As it becomes easier and easier to cultivate and expand an IoT network, businesses need to make sure they have the IWMS component behind it. Not only is it key in organizing and orchestrating sensors, it’s a value tool in deciphering and applying the valuable data that comes with them.

Keep Reading: What is a Smart IWMS and What are its Features?