“Data help guarantee safety. In the future, we can use it to reserve workspaces.”
After the closure due to corona, Venlo’s city hall wanted to guarantee employees a swift and safe return to work. Its buildings were fitted with 860 sensors. Subsequently, the workspace reservation system, including an online dashboard went live within 8 days. It shows the municipality the real-time occupancy and usage of workspaces at a single glance. And that is just the start of it.
Venlo’s city hall is an exceptional building, having been designed and built according to the Cradle to Cradle principle. Making it, amongst others, sustainable, self-sufficient in energy, water and air and an as pleasant possible work environment. Beyond Eyes has helped by enabling a swift and safe return to the office.
Ruud Geraedts works as a facility manager at the municipality of Venlo. Because of corona he became more and more interested in data-driven work. “Suddenly, we were faced with the question: how do we ensure a safe return to the work floor for our employees? Data could be the answer to that. I already started looking into it a year ago, as I noticed we were mainly playing it by ear when it came to the office layout. Colleagues regularly told me it was too busy in the building, asking me if we could create more workspaces. But then, I would often see empty spots when I was doing my rounds. I needed solid proof to show them the building’s actual occupancy, in order to rebut that idea.”
After looking into various parties, we decided to go with Beyond Eyes as the system works with anonymous data. Employees do not like the idea of being monitored. As we had set a clear target, it took just three weeks to implement the system. It took one day to install 860 sensors and the system went live within 8 days. Now, the municipality can monitor the occupancy rate of workspaces and offer the option to reserve them.
Infrared sensors underneath desks and on meeting room walls register heat and movement. Three gateways in the building use the independent network to forward data to the system. The dashboard gives Geraedts insight into the data. His first priority was to gain insight into the occupancy rate of workspaces; the occupancy and usage of the building are now visible at a single glance. And filters can be turned on to show data per day, workspace or department.
The dashboard provides Geraedts with a clear overview and all the information he needs. Now that the first part – monitoring the occupancy rate during the start-up phase – has almost been completed, he is contemplating other ways in which the data could be put to use. “Perhaps we could provide employees with insight into available workspaces or we could start using a reservation system.” He is certain this is just the start of a far larger development. “I can already tell these data are the new gold: we are using it to guarantee the safety of our employees. But the future offers so much more. We could modify cleaning according to the occupancy rate. And should we notice an unoccupied workspace, then we have to find out why it is not being used. Is it because the desk is broken, or the nearby coffee machine makes too much noise? This enables us to achieve a far more efficient layout of our building. This is of great help to us at Facility Management, because it enables us to do even better at carrying out our main task: offering employees an as pleasant possible work environment.”