IoT sensors allow workplace leaders to unlock information that was only anecdotal just a few years ago. And as the cost of IoT sensors continues to drop, more workplace leaders are implementing them. Yet the question remains: which types of sensors are worth the investment, and how should they be used?
IoT sensors benefit the workplace in many ways, including:
Real estate is the second-highest expense for most organizations after personnel, so the way your organization uses its space can make a big difference. IoT sensors capture real-time space utilization data down to individual work stations and even couches. This allows workplace leaders to track metrics such as average and peak work activity, how many seats are occupied or empty at any given time, and the duration of time spent in specific work settings, such as meeting rooms.
With today’s technology, employees are more accustomed to moving freely around the office. Using IoT sensors with room reservation software makes it easy for employees to see what spaces are actually being used and which are available to be reserved. While rooms may appear to be booked within your reservation system, sensors tell the true story of whether those rooms are actually in use.
Energy consumption accounts for a substantial portion of building costs. Considering as much as half an office building is not in use at any given time, your organization isn’t just wasting money on space. You’re also wasting money heating, cooling and lighting that space. Using intelligent energy management systems, such as occupancy sensors, can result in significant energy savings.
Once you know what you want to achieve and how to measure it, it will be easier to determine which types of sensors are right for the job. Here are some of the most common ones available today.
Determines the presence of nearby objects or people without requiring physical contact. Best for security.
Measures occupancy of workspaces and conference rooms. Helps workplace leaders collect real-time data about space utilization. The two main types of occupancy sensors are passive infrared and imaging sensors.
Detects electromagnetic energies such as light or electricity. Best for measuring levels of natural and artificial light.
Calculates the temperature of a workspace, allowing workplace leaders to identify particularly cold or hot areas. Best for optimizing the work environment and improving energy efficiency.
Assesses the relative humidity of a space. Best for helping workplace leaders identify areas where high humidity levels can affect equipment performance and employee comfort.
If you’re considering implementing IoT sensors in your workplace, you will need to answer some important questions first. First, what it is you want to accomplish? Understand that your employees will have some valid concerns. No one wants to feel like they’re being monitored, and there are privacy and security concerns to think about, too.
Here are a few tips to make the implementation go smoothly:
Be transparent with employees. Talk to them in advance about how you plan to use sensors to identify underutilized spaces to add amenities.
Consider location. Make sure sensors are installed in locations that are the best for collecting data but won’t be disruptive to employees.
Determine how you’ll use sensor data. Who is going to be responsible for monitoring this data, and how will they access it? How will they communicate their findings to other workplace leaders to inform business decisions?
Get IT involved early. All IoT sensors must be connected to a wireless or wired network in order to share the data they accumulate with your database. There are a few different technology options such as Bluetooth, cellular, LTE and Wi-Fi — each with their own pros and cons. To choose the right network technology, you’ll need to determine your requirements in terms of transfer speed, bandwidth, communications distance and power consumption.
The Internet of Things offers us a wealth of data, but the data itself can only tell us so much. To get the best value from IoT sensor data, you need to use it with other workplace technologies—such as an integrated workplace management system (IWMS).
Fortunately, iOFFICE offers built-in integrations for IoT sensors.
If you’re looking to incorporate sensors into your workplace, we can help you select the right IoT sensor company or help you set up integrations to connect sensors to your IWMS. We can also help you make sense of your sensor data by helping you monitor trends and set up reports through our Insights module.