Back to Basics: Smart Building IoT Occupancy and Utilization Data
Building occupancy metrics became an urgent requirement of organizations post-pandemic that needed a way to understand success of return-to-work policy. Occupancy data was sought by facilities teams to understand attendance as well as average-space usage for forecasting space needs and identifying unused space to remove from portfolios. However, there is even more insight to glean from occupancy data than average occupancy. Some types of occupancy data, such as those collected by Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, can also uncover utilization, meaning how much space capacity is used. With this information, organizations can learn occupant behavior patterns and automate building processes, improving energy cost savings as a result. Below is an overview of occupancy and utilization data types with some top use cases you can consider implementing at your organization.
Types of Occupancy and Utilization Data
Smart building occupancy data APIs (application programming interfaces) provide access to data related to occupancy in buildings that are equipped with sensor technologies. Smart building occupancy data APIs allow developers to access and analyze information related to the number of people in a building, their movement patterns, and other related metrics. Below are the Enlighted Occupancy API offerings to orient you to the types required to achieve smart building use cases.
- Area Occupancy – This API returns real-time area, identifying information and a status of occupied or unoccupied state. To understand utilization of large spaces, several Enlighted sensors are grouped to form an area. For example, you can group areas into Engineering, Marketing, and Product team departments to understand how much of those spaces are used by departments and to validate space requests of those teams.
- Fine Grain Sensor Motion – This data detects movement of people within a building or space based on a triggered sensor event. In addition to utilization, data is collected on temperature and power load on the sensor fixture.
- Desk Occupancy – This data detects if a desk is occupied or unoccupied and requires additional desk sensors.
Smart Building IoT Use Cases Powered by Occupancy Data
To make occupancy data actionable, APIs are accessed by developers and made available in meaningful ways through software applications. This includes reporting and dashboard tools such as Space, integrations with third-party solutions such as Building Management Systems (BMS) and Integrated Workplace Management Systems (iWMS), and business intelligence tools such as Tableau. These are some of the top use cases for operationalizing occupancy and utilization data.
Building Automation and Efficiencies
- Lighting and HVAC cost savings – The Area Occupancy API provides real-time occupancy information and room temperature that, when combined with Building Management Systems, can automatically adjust Lighting and HVAC levels based on occupancy needs, thereby reducing energy costs. For example, for reoccurring events in large spaces with many people attending, facility managers can proactively create lighting and HVAC profiles to automatically keep those high-occupied areas cooler during the events.
Occupant Experience and Security
- Meaningful interactions with space – The Fine Grain Sensor motion API provides data about how people are using the building in real time. Organizations can use this information to understand how their facilities are being utilized and can make people and assets in the building more productive and engaging. For example, heat map visualizations of this data can help you identify frequently used paths to key office equipment to identify popularity of amenities or to identify if you can rearrange assets to be closer to the teams using it most.
- Space security – Sometimes it is critical to keep people away from certain areas for physical safety or to restrict access to confidential information. This is common for lab space, data centers, and inventory rooms where people are not allowed to enter. The Fine Grain Motion API is very helpful in securing the facilities in these types of situations. If sensors detect activity at odd hours with security systems in place, alarms can be triggered, and notifications can be sent to facilities teams to take further action.
- Space access and reservation – The Area Occupancy API returns the current occupied state in real time, which can be used to manage access to spaces. When connecting this real-time data to an iWMS or a desk reservation system, users can look up which conference rooms are available in real time to book spaces and identify unused space to repurpose. Desk Occupancy APIs can also be used in combination with desk reservation systems to release bookable spaces after no-shows.
IoT sensor occupancy data APIs offer a wealth of information that can be used to automate and optimize building operations, enhance occupant experience, and improve energy efficiency. Learn more about our occupancy insights offerings, which use cases to address first, and how to make sense of your smart building IoT data here.
The brightest way to operate, orchestrate, and optimize everyday spaces.