Getting the Most Out of Your Sensor Data with an IWMS

By Danielle Moore
Director, Channel Marketing

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?


Five Smart Workplace Examples With Huge ROI Benefits

By Dave Clifton
Content Marketing Strategist

Most offices today have smart elements. There are smart workplace examples all around us—from simple motion sensor lighting to the access control system you use to badge in at work. And while most people don’t think twice about them, these systems offer incredible benefits for everyone who interacts with them. For businesses, there’s untold ROI that comes from investing in a smart workplace.

What is a smart workplace? It’s one that’s supported by an infrastructure of sensors, beacons, and software that augment the physical workplace. Floor sensors that show a digital meeting room as “occupied,” A beacon that recognizes your laptop and provides employee-only Wi-Fi access. A digital twin that congregates the entire office infrastructure into a powerful, visual dashboard. All these and more are elements of a smart workplace.

But what makes a workplace smart is the wherewithal of facility managers to apply these technologies in meaningful ways. Here are five pieces of tech and how, applied correctly, they can yield big returns for companies.

1. Workplace sensors

Workplace sensors are the bedrock of smart technology. There’s an abundance of sensor types and functions—everything from motion sensors to forced air temperature sensors. What makes them all so important within the smart building ecosystem is their programmability.

Most sensors are I/O sensors, which means they send a simple on/off trigger to the systems they’re paired with. That trigger, alongside other data, makes it possible to automate and improve virtually any part of the workplace.

  • Motion sensor lights reduce energy cost by staying on only when they’re needed
  • Occupancy sensors prevent overbooking in rooms, to avoid disruption
  • Temperature sensors ensure HVAC functions efficiently, to keep people comfortable

These improvements all have ROI attached to them, be it energy costs, man hours saved, or improved workplace comfort and morale.

2. Room booking software

Room booking software is a cornerstone of smart workplace management. Facility managers need a way to oversee and coordinate space utilization, to keep the workplace fluid, dynamic, and frictionless. Booking software creates this framework and makes it easy for employees to operate within it.

The ROI from room booking is scalable. For large companies, it might take the form of saved man hours by not wandering aimlessly to find a space. For smaller companies, it could manifest as bottom-line savings by controlling occupancy rates and costs. This software creates efficiency, which naturally results in ROI for businesses of all sizes.

3. Live-mode software

It’s important to test and analyze changes before making them in the workplace. Sudden changes could jar employees or create inefficiencies instead of solving them. It’s why facility managers turn to live-mode analysis for orchestrating workplace improvements. Not only does this perpetuate a data-driven response to workplace improvements, it allows for modeling and testing in a controlled environment.

The ROI of live-mode testing manifests in both top- and bottom-line efficiency. At the top line, there’s opportunity to create new productivity through more efficient workplace configurations. For the bottom line, eliminating inefficiencies generates saved costs. Live-mode planning is a smart workplace approach to making changes.

4. AutoCAD and BIM

Building modeling is becoming more and more important as facilities become more complex. To capitalize on GIS data, companies need a spatial representation of the building to match it against. Modeling through AutoCAD and BIM contextualizes the workplace for everything from digital twins to room booking software.

These software investments are the definition of enabling a smart workplace. They’re instrumental in mirroring the physical workplace in a digital space, to promote everything from better oversight to smarter innovation. The ROI benefits are limitless—or at least as diverse as the applications you’re able to integrate into CAD- and BIM-rendered versions of the building.

5. Access control

Access control is a defensive investment in smart workplace tech—and one many companies have already made. Paired with a digital twin and a beacon system, there’s even more untapped potential for access control that companies can leverage into ROI.

The biggest cost saving opportunity is avoiding a worst-case scenario—keep someone with malintent out of sensitives areas. Stolen IP or an attack on employees will end with huge liability costs. Access control offers ROI simply by avoiding these situations. In a more active contribution to ROI, it’s also important to consider the data generated by badging and access stats. It becomes easy to see and remedy accessibility problems by looking at smart badging data in the context of a digital twin or smart floor plan.

A smart step toward building intelligence

Used correctly, smart technologies lead to building intelligence. By themselves, these technologies can offer automation and insights, but it takes a commitment to innovation to realize their biggest benefits. As buildings become smarter, companies that look for ways to push the envelope using smart tech will find themselves operating workplaces that are efficient, productive, and adaptable.

Keep reading: How Can Smart Space Planning Software Improve Workplaces?