Data Driven Work Spaces

  • Shanghai skyline night smart spaces technology

Harvard Business Review Analytics Services have teamed up with Microsoft to analyse the future of smart spaces.

A report published in September 2018, titled: Data-Driven Work Spaeces: IoT and AI Expand the Promise of Smart Buildings, the team examined the use and opportunity of smart spaces whilst taking a look at what decision makers think about when considering adapting technology for smart spaces.

Their report explores the opportunity organisations have to enhance their spaces to better adress people's needs and confirms that technology is not the driver for the introduction of intelligence in spaces, but an important enabler.

Traditionally, decisions about how to enhance physical spaces were driven by tangible operational and energy efficient gaines. Now, business decision makers have growing awareness of, and interest in, the new benefits of spatial modernisation such as sustainability, space optimisation, occupant experience and employee productivity. 

Demand for smart buildings will also grow over the next three years

The report is broken down into three parts: new opportunities, barriers and next generation. It states: "72% of the executives say their prime business goals for smarter buildings are reducing facilities and operations and improving profitability.

"Similarly, 66% cite energy management as the prime incentive."

It goes on to add: "Demand for smart buildings will also grow over the next three years as underutilised and inefficient work spaces become harder to justify financially, according to the 56% of the full sample of respondants who "strongly agree" with that statement."

But why isn't the demand already there? Well, the report cites some 'road blocks' as being a lack of ROI when making the move, it just can't be justified right now with some time frames extending over one or even two years in some circumstances. Other issues around cultural changes and privacy, should also be considered before committing to the change, as Sara Armbruster, vice president for strategies, research, and digital transformation at steelcase told the report: "It is important to strike a balance between collecting rich data that can provide meaningful insights on the one hand and at the same time ensure that we are not intruding on the privacy of individuals."

It will take mass adoption of that approach for us to really see its potential.

Whilst some attitudes and work habits are yet to shift to new ideas, it will happen eventually. With the growing application of AI and automation, there's a thirst all industries gather for unleashing power behind this level of technology. Perry England, vice president, building performance, MacDonald Miller Facility Solutions, Inc. added: "There are examples of this across the country and the world. But it will take mass adoption of that approach for us to really see its potential."

At the head of it all is to make sure we get it right first time. This, is something often more typically said than done.

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