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This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson Independent Senior Research Associate at Memoori.

The leading vendors of IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management Systems) software are joining the ranks of smart building technology providers by upgrading their offerings to IoT-enabled solutions. Workplace management companies are moving beyond manual occupancy data collection by leveraging the benefits of the new breed of advanced IoT sensors which enable real-time space utilization for commercial real estate.

Real estate managers can analyse data in real-time and consolidate this information to gain insights into the utilization of workplaces. But, primarily this technology facilitates the workforce to collaborate, and work effectively in a dynamic workplace environment, such as activity based working.

The latest report from Memoori on The Future Workplace demonstrates how the Internet of Things is reshaping the office environment to increase workforce productivity.

Two announcements by MCS Solutions this month are indicative of this trend. Cushman and Wakefield, a global real estate services firm, have partnered with MCS to implement joint solutions for clients, including providing predictive analytics and insights to improve future occupancy planning. The partnership will also allow clients to have a greater positive impact on the occupants’ experience and control over their building portfolios enabling the ability to turn big data into actionable intelligence.

MCS smart buildings solutions, including sensors, connectivity, cloud, data management and analytics, are based on the COBUNDU™ platform. COBUNDU, a New York based firm, is a registered trademark of Faseas NV/SA, the holding company of MCS. COBUNDU space monitoring sensors have been deployed at AXA’s new Brussel headquarters, where 1,850 sensors are keeping track of meeting spaces, desks and concentration rooms in this activity-based working environment.

Partnership between new entrants and established providers of real estate and property management software are becoming commonplace. They are an important enabler, allowing smart building technology providers to establish ecosystems which augment their IoT offerings with emerging technologies.

Earlier in 2017, Serraview, a provider of workplace management and optimization software, announced a partnership with PointGrab, developer of the CogniPoint™ edge analytics smart sensing solution. By integrating CogniPoint with Serraview’s cloud-based space planning software, Serraview gives customers the actionable utilization data needed to create agile work environments.

FM:Systems, a UK provider of IWMS software, announced a partnership agreement in October 2016 with CoWorkr, an emerging leader in the area of real-time occupancy sensing and analysis, based in the Bay Area of California. CoWorkr’s Bluetooth-enabled heat and vibration sensors can be deployed when customers want to perform a utilization study of a specific facility all the way down to individual work-points. The cloud-based platform learns how workers use spaces throughout the office, allowing for more efficient space and occupancy management.

In June 2017, FM:Systems rolled out 3D stereoscopic cameras that perform people counting in and out of specific areas, integrated with their IWMS platform, FM:Interact. The Hella APS-90 and 180 cameras can be mounted anywhere to count how many people are entering and exiting a space to compare occupancy to capacity.

As smart workspace technologies continue to flood the market, not only from IWMS suppliers, but also from the building automation, facilities management, furniture equipment and IT sectors, a key factor in their successful implementation will be if they gain occupant buy-in. And that means there must be a proposition beyond reducing costs for the building owner / operator, which relates to giving occupants more choice and control of their dynamic work environments and providing a greater positive impact on their experience in commercial office buildings.

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