The applications of the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor technology are growing at an exceptional rate. And among the most popular locations for installing IoT sensors is the workplace.
IoT sensors provide facilities managers with a volume of accurate, real-time data that was incomprehensible a decade ago. The most forward-thinking companies recognize the power of this data and are taking advantage of it to build a more efficient, more comfortable and simply better work environment.
Here are three examples of innovative companies that are creating new ways to use IoT sensors to improve the workplace.
Top Ways IoT Sensors are Improving the Workplace
- Making Buildings Smarter
- Keeping Restrooms Clean
- Human Condition Safety (HCS) and Worksite Injury Prevention
1. Making Buildings Smarter
IoT sensors make buildings smarter. Yann Palmore is the Vice President of Smart Building Solutions at JLL. With nearly 20 years of experience in facilities management, energy and sustainability and high-performance buildings, Yann was the obvious choice to manage the Smart Building Program at the second largest real estate firm in the world.
“Implementing smart technology to a workplace should become seamless,” said Palmore in an interview earlier this year. “Just like we’ve become accustomed to our mobile device telling us so much information, seamless, ease-of-use availability of data relating to how the workplace supports its occupants will transition to the workplace.”
In the same interview with Bellow Press’ publication, The Business of Furniture, Palmore discussed how JLL helped the owner of a large, multi-tenant building refresh the property with smart technology. One of the first things JLL implemented was updating the security system at the building entrance with access control technology that connects to smartphones. Employees need only their mobile device to enter the building, and unwanted visitors are denied access.
JLL went a step further toward a better work environment and integrated the access control technology with the HVAC and lighting systems. Now when an employee comes into his office, the systems recognize his identity from his smartphone and begin to adjust the temperature based on his set preference. The technology also automatically turns on the lights. Because of this automation, the space is only heated or cooled, and the lights are only on when the space is occupied.
As a result of JLL’s smart technology upgrades and implementation of IoT sensors, the property owner has not only decreased his operational expenses but has also made the building more attractive to future tenants by showing a commitment to their comfort and the environment.
2. Keeping Restrooms Clean
One of the most obvious ways to see how much a company cares about the comfort of its employees and visitors is by examining the state of their restrooms. Consequently, proper restroom cleaning and maintenance is one of the most vital parts of facilities management. IoT sensors help keep those restrooms clean.
Founded almost 150 years ago, Kimberly-Clark truly understands restrooms. Although the company is best known for manufacturing paper-based hygiene products, in 2016 it introduced its Onvation* System. Onvation*’s tagline is, “Eliminate problems in your restrooms before they become complaints.” And any facilities manager can attest to the fact it’s much easier to prevent issues than to resolve them.
The Onvation* System uses IoT sensors to monitor foot traffic, product levels (such as soap and paper towels) and equipment malfunctions. Facilities managers receive automatic text notifications when a problem occurs so they can quickly dispatch a technician to fix the issue. The notifications also let the facilities manager know when a product is running low so it can be replenished before it’s gone.
In addition to the notifications, the facilities team has on-demand access to real-time information about the restroom directly from their mobile devices. With the data Onvation* collects, facilities managers can better allocate resources, employees and supplies, instead of relying on a set schedule that may not correspond to true utilization.
Employees and visitors are happy because toilet paper, paper towels and soap are always stocked. And facilities managers are happy because they can worry less about clogged toilets and overflowing sinks.
3. Human Condition Safety (HCS) and Worksite Injury Prevention
Of the approximately 4,700 employee deaths in the private industry that occurred in 2016, over 20 percent were in construction alone. Human Condition Safety (HCS) is determined to change that and give construction site employers a safer work environment. “It’s not acceptable that we can push a button and have anything in the world delivered to our doorstep, but that people can still get hurt and even die needlessly when they go to work,” says Peter E. Raymond, CEO of HCS.
In order to reduce the number of on-the-job fatalities, HCS developed an IoT-powered safety system for construction sites. HCS’s technology leverages wearable devices, artificial intelligence, building information modeling and cloud computing to create an environment that helps decrease the risk of injury and death. If an employee is about to enter a potentially dangerous situation such as walking too close to a piece of heavy machinery due to limited visibility, the HCS technology will either alert the employee or automatically shut down the machine.
The IoT sensors also generate real-time data about site conditions that is communicated to site managers. For example, if the sensors detect atmospheric changes that indicate severe weather is approaching, the site managers can stop work until conditions improve.
The opportunities to use IoT sensors in the workplace are seemingly endless. And it’s exciting to see the new ways companies are implementing this technology every day. If you’re interested in learning more about IoT sensors and how to incorporate them into your workplace strategy, check out this eBook, How to Use IoT Sensors To Make Your Workplace Smarter.