How IoT Sensors Saved One Company $300,000 A Year

by Rebecca Symmank on July 16, 2019

Sometimes IoT sensors can tell you what a simple observation can’t — like how often employees are actually sitting at their desks, or which meeting rooms are most popular.

And for many organizations, the savings can be substantial.

Kanav Dhir, senior product manager at VergeSense, shared several examples of this at our recent Big Easy Workplace Summit in New Orleans.

How IoT Sensors Add Value In the Workplace

Identifying the Right Mix of Space

In a modern office design, having the right mix of collaborative and private spaces is critical. Yet a recent Gartner report showed the conference spaces most organizations have available aren’t meeting the needs of their employees.

In fact, the majority of meetings (73 percent) take place between small groups of 2-4 people. Large conference rooms designed for more than 21 people are used much less often.

Although it may seem like conference rooms are never available when you need them, that isn’t necessarily true. It might just be that your organization doesn’t have the right mix of space.

With the goal of improving conference room utilization, one organization used VergeSense sensors to study usage patterns. It discovered something surprising — 75 percent of conference room usage was for single-person meetings.

In other words, what employees really needed wasn’t more conference room space, but more privacy.

Armed with these insights, the company introduced 20 square foot phone booths to address this usage rather than the 150 square foot conference rooms that were being used. This improved space utilization and resulted in considerable improvement to the employee experience.

Improving Space Utilization

Just like conference rooms, individual work stations are often underutilized. This is especially true as more organizations implement flexible work arrangements and remote work policies.

One organization wanted to see exactly how its work stations were being used. The company used VergeSense sensors to study usage patterns for several months, starting with a single floor. It discovered almost half of its spaces weren’t in use at any given time. To improve space utilization, the company moved from a fully assigned arrangement to one where work stations were free addressed, with a 1.25 to 1 seat allocation.

This simple change saved the organization more than $300,000 a year — on a single floor!

The company is now rolling out 2,000 IoT sensors and implementing the new seating arrangement across its entire corporate real estate portfolio. Because a single VergeSense sensor can monitor an entire conference room (or up to 10 desks in an open area), it’s a cost-effective way to monitor space utilization.

Growing At Scale

Another fast-growing organization was considering leasing new space. But before committing to another lease, workplace leaders wanted to be sure it was necessary.

After implementing IoT sensors across one of the departments requesting more space, the company discovered seats were actually empty about 30 percent of the time.

With this information, it was able to move to a more flexible, reservation-based seating model and avoid leasing additional space.

Benefits of AI-Powered IoT Sensors

AI-powered IoT sensors are the future, and forward-thinking organizations are using them to improve space utilization, monitor assets and gain valuable insights, such as:

  • Which spaces are used most often
  • Which buildings are used most often
  • Average usage
  • Peak usage

With no new hardware, VergeSense customers are already benefiting from the power of AI in a new software update, called “True Occupancy,” that is allowing existing sensors to not only report on person count, but also detect the presence of signs of life. Customers are using “True Occupancy” to identify when spaces are passively occupied, where no people are present but backpacks, laptops, coffee mugs or other items point to occupancy. This is helping customers identify unused spaces and also improve real time live addressing experience by giving employees the power to see when spaces may not be available for them to use even if no people are detected.

Soon, sensors may even determine how employees are working together. VergeSense is developing AI-powered sensors capable of recognizing collaboration, which can help leaders determine whether collaborative spaces are being used as intended.

This IoT sensor data can feed into workplace management software, allowing leaders to make adjustments to their space, assets and more.

“This data drives decision-making, Dhir said. “We want to use this technology to not just answer the questions you have today, but the questions you’ll have tomorrow.”

VergeSense offers simple, scalable AI-powered sensors that can be installed in minutes, along with an analytics platform that delivers actionable insights. Learn more at


Rebecca Symmank

As a member of the Business Development team for iOFFICE, Rebecca is spirited and is quick to take initiative. Previously a customer and daily user of the IWMS provider, she has extensive experience on both the front and back end structure of the product. Rebecca's enthusiasm for facilities management and her tangible experience in the field give her an unprecedented understanding and perception of iOFFICE customers. Rebecca is able to relate to organizations implementing on IWMS, and has a unique perspective on what makes the experience a success.

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