OpenSensors blog

Types of occupancy sensors to enable Smarter Workspaces

Posted by Yodit Stanton on November 2018
Yodit Stanton

One of the biggest challenges we hear from Corporate Real Estate, Facility and Workplace Teams is ‘how do I know if this space is being over or under utilised?’.  Most of the time it is guesswork based on hearsay or conducting a laborious manual count of occupancy, an inefficient way of measuring utilisation.

Occupancy sensors is much more of an efficient way of analysing how building and office spaces are utilised. Having evidence based occupancy data give teams  greater visibility on what can be done to improve working practices, inform future designs and ultimately boost employee productivity.

Where to start

We recommend to start with defining your goals and the metrics you want to measure. This  will then help you determine the right type of occupancy sensor(s) needed as well as the data points to monitor and report on. Some key occupancy metrics you may want to measure are:

  • Average utilisation rates
  • Peak vs. off peak utilisation
  • Person to desk ratio
  • Meeting room size and occupancy rates (are they fit for purpose?)

Choosing the right occupancy sensors

1. Desk and booth sensors

If you want to compare how teams or departments use desk space or increase your person to desk ratio or compare utilisation across other OpenSensors-desk-sensorslocations and floors, then desk or booth sensors could be right for your organisation.

  • How it captures data - Desk sensors are passive infrared sensors (PIR) which is triggered by both motion and heat.
  • Categorising presence - They provide data on whether someone is present at a desk or phone booth for more than 10 minutes.
  • Anonymous - No personal or health information of an individual is captured. The data is anonymised to illustrate overall utilisation.
  • Accuracy is measured by the field of focus and for desk sensors this is metre by half metre coverage of an area i.e. a narrow focus and detection.
  • Coverage - It is not necessary to have sensors on every desk. Even at a 50% coverage it can give higher accuracy on desk utilisation.
  • Real time - Data is encrypted and transmitted to a cloud based platform where users have instant visibility of occupancy.
  • Placement - Installed under desks they are out of sight and not disruptive to employees.
  • Size - Our desk sensors are W4cm x H4cm x D1.5cm.
  • Battery life - Our sensors have a 2 year life expectancy.

2. Meeting room sensors

If you want to understand whether meeting rooms are the right size or how they are being utilised in order to inform refit designs, then meeting room sensors could be right for your organisation.

  • How it captures data - Meeting room sensors are passive infrared sensors (PIR) which is triggered by both motion and heat.
  • Categorising presence - They provide data on whether someone is present in a room and detects people going in and out.
  • Anonymous - All data is anonymous, so people are not personally identifiable.  The data is anonymised to illustrate overall utilisation.
  • Accuracy is measured by the field of focus and covers a wide area.
  • Real time -  Similar to desk sensors, data is captured immediately and transmitted to a cloud based platform where users can see in real time which rooms or spaces are being occupied
  • Placement - The devices are small in size and discreetly placed on ceiling or over doors so they do not disrupt employees who are using the rooms.
  • Size - Our meeting room sensors are W8cm x H8cm x D1.5cm.
  • Powered - Our meeting sensors uses Power over Ethernet (PoE) or mains power

3. People counter sensors

If you want to understand the footfall of specific areas of a building or location such as shared spaces, breakout areas or stairways than people 

OpenSensors-people-counter-sensors

counters could be right for your organisation.

  • How it captures data - People counter sensors uses object recognition and captures footfall data of people going in any direction.
  • Anonymous - All data is anonymous, so people are not personally identifiable.  The data is anonymised to illustrate overall utilisation.
  • Accuracy is measured by the field of focus and covers a wide area.
  • Real time -  Data is encrypted and transmitted to a cloud based platform where users can see in real time how space is being utilised.
  • Placement - The devices are small in size and discreetly placed on ceiling or over doors.
  • Size - Our meeting room sensors are W8cm x H8cm x D1.5cm.
  • Powered - Our meeting sensors used Power over Ethernet (PoE) or mains power

How you benefit

By taking away the guesswork, corporate real estate, facility and workplace teams are better equipped to make decisions on future strategies and accommodate a growing workforce as well as:

  • Align business goals and costs with other departments and business unit leaders to better utilised workspaces
  • Be in control and understand how building, floor space, meeting rooms and desks are utilised across locations and teams
  • Influence stakeholder conversations with data driven recommendations on how to optimise workspaces to boost employee productivity
  • Future proof building or workspace redesigns and create  fit for purpose spaces
  • Accurately measure person to desk ratio and easily find space for new joiners
  • Benchmark with real data to drive down space wastage costs
  • Support agile working practices by pinpointing peak hours and encourage work from home
  • Make life easier for employees with real time feeds of available desk or meeting rooms across all locations
Note: features will vary depending on your chosen supplier, below is an overview of the sensors we offer.
 
Reading time: 9 minutes

Want to find out more occupancy sensors?

Learn more about how to get a complete picture of workspace occupancy in this short webcast on 3 key technical designs to create smarter workspaces or contact us to speak to our team.

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Content topics: Workspace technology, Enabling smart buildings