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Space utilisation mapping – we’re working on a better solution

17 December 2018, by Emma Barker

Commercial property, whether it’s a campus, manufacturing premises or multi-story office space, is generally an organisations third largest cost. Productively utilising your property can reduce this overhead cost, improve business efficiency and ultimately increase your bottom line. 

Most organisations don't have the capacity or ability to capture the utilisation of their property assets accurately - how often is a space used? How long is it used for? How many people use the area at a time?

What’s the solution?

Doing it Better

TwentyTwo’s workplace technology expert Matthew Rogers has spent the last year working alongside a team of Victoria University Engineering students to understand how low energy ‘Bluetooth beacon technology’ can be used to gain a better understanding of how the various spaces in a workplace are used.

“The difference with what we are developing here is that we are using ‘Bluetooth beacons’ as a way to track and map occupants, using employees smartphones or by upgrading their security cards to include beacon technology. The initial investment is significantly lower than any other technology on the market, says Matthew.

“Setup correctly, the utilisation of different spaces within a workplace/property (interior and exterior) can be accurately recorded. It can show you the usage of particular areas or rooms, how many people use them and how much time they spend in them.”

Up until now to gather data on usage, a time-consuming observation study is compiled, with someone running about the space, capturing ‘a moment in time’ snapshot of usage. This method is often costly and only gives a small glimpse into space utilisation.

This technology creates the ability to affordability monitor spaces for much longer periods of time and much more accurately. Organisation’s could even have it set up permanently to allow the ongoing monitoring of utilisation as the organisation evolves.

Stage Two

“Working in partnership with the team from Victoria University has given us the ability to develop the framework technology and test this solution. We are excited now to look at ways we can partner with our clients to turn this technology into a problem-solving solution,” says Duncan Mitchell, TwentyTwo Practice Lead: Strategy.

While utilisation data is only one aspect of developing a wider strategy it often shows up interesting data that can change how management use space and the need for new facilities in the future.

“We’re not only interested in how often space is occupied, but how it is used, what teams use it across the business and how they interconnect. These are key pieces of the puzzle that ensure a new or expanded space delivers increased productivity,” says Duncan.

The Process - Developing the Technology 

“We had to tackle a lot of problems while developing the framework technology, says Matthew, but the team from Victoria University was great. There were the inevitable technical issues such as some smartphones only allowing applications to work in the background for five seconds, when eight seconds is needed to triangulate and map a user’s specific location. The ability to accurately record the utilisation of each area (affordably) was what we needed to make this technology solution better than the existing technologies. Thanks to the team we now know intricately how 'Bluetooth beacon technology' works and the value it can add.” 

What’s next?

Do you have a good understanding of how effectively your workplace or campus is being utilised? Perhaps you have plans to relocate or expand in 2019? Our team would love to partner with you to develop a solution that can help really understand how your current space is utilised, how your different teams use the space, what workplace partnerships are key and provide some insight to ensure your next move delivers increased output.


Victoria University Team

Victoria University Engineering students and TwentyTwo's Matthew Rogers


About the author

Crafter. Creator. Online shopaholic. Mum of three. Lover of wine and travel.

Emma joined the TwentyTwo team in 2017 and leads our marketing and communications. Her marketing skills drive our digital presence and brand strategy. Emma has over ten years’ experience working with growing New Zealand-owned organisations, supporting their advance with marketing know-how.

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