Three Occupancy Metrics to Demystify Real Estate Optimization
Real estate and facilities leaders are constantly under pressure to maintain smooth operations and ensure occupant satisfaction while also adhering to strict budget constraints. Behind the scenes, they skillfully manage multiple objectives including cost savings, energy efficiency, optimizing building footprint, lease negotiations, right-sizing space, and improving cleaning operations.
Leading organizations rely on IoT solutions to gain valuable insights into building usage and to guide real estate decision-making. These solutions include area or room occupancy sensors, entryway people count sensors, and Wi-Fi data analysis. However, regardless of the chosen method, the key to space efficiency lies in obtaining comprehensive, anonymous, and easily understandable information about how occupants use real estate, as well as extracting useful insights that drive real actions.
Your occupancy insights solution should address three core questions:
- Is a space being used?
- How much capacity of space is being utilized?
- How is the space being used?
It is important to note that not all occupancy IoT sensors provide the same level of relevant data. Many solutions only indicate occupancy, meaning whether or not a space is used over a specific period. This is more or less a binary indicator – a “yes” or “no” factor. While this information clarifies the amount of unused space, it fails to address the more crucial question of “how much” of that space is used or if that space should be repurposed. To answer this question, obtaining utilization and activity data also becomes necessary.
When making critical decisions about space, it is essential to understand the distinction between occupancy, utilization, and activity/motion, as they pertain to different aspects of human presence and behavior within a physical space:
- Occupancy (Is the space being used?): Indicates whether or not a space is currently in use within a specific timeframe. It typically implies the physical presence of at least one person in the space. Occupancy can be detected through various sensors, such as desk or area motion sensors, infrared sensors, or entryway sensors.
- Utilization (How much space is being used?): Indicates how much capacity of a space is used over time, offering valuable information on efficiency and optimization opportunities. It is imperative to choose solutions that provide accurate utilization data, distinguishing it from occupancy. Options like area, lighting-based, and entryway sensors offer different advantages and disadvantages. For example, people counting entryway solutions offer exact capacity counts but require additional investment in entryway sensors, which can be costly if lighting-based sensors already provide estimated capacity percentages, like with Enlighted Lighting Solutions.
- Activity/Motion (How is the space being used?): Indicates specific actions and movements occurring within a space, such as the flow of traffic and identification of areas of congregation. Understanding activity and motion patterns helps identify areas of high traffic or congestion and informs space design optimization for specific activities. It also informs areas that require special cleaning or maintenance attention. Passive infrared (PIR) sensors are the preferred method for capturing this information while maintaining anonymity and security.
By combining occupancy, utilization, and activity/motion data, real estate and facilities leaders can effectively address strategic challenges related to space reduction or planning at a broader level. What’s more, these data points are valuable at the daily or weekly level, assisting in managing requests for new space and cleaning operations, just to name a few. Understanding and leveraging these three factors is instrumental in successfully tackling real estate challenges.
To apply these insights to your space management goals, contact Enlighted Sales.
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