Platform established for smart facilities management
Revealed hotspots and quiet areas to help redefine physical office spaces
Ensured safe return to the office with clear occupancy rate controls
As an expert in office spaces, Canada-based commercial real estate company Colliers knew many clients would want areas remodeled before employees returned to corporate offices, to ensure they were maximized for hybrid or full-time work.
Many predict a future of hybrid working. This may mean a few days working from home and a few days in the office collaborating with colleagues or customers. It may also mean commuting daily or working remotely.
However each enterprise’s staff breaks down its workdays, numerous businesses will reconsider how they use their space, says JanJaap Boogaard, Head of Workplace Advisory EMEA, Director Corporate Solutions, at Colliers’ London-based offices.
“Much will depend on user preference — what employees want from the office,” he says. “That said, it is difficult to predict the future. If we can be certain of anything, it is that office space will need to be more flexible.”
To help clients, Colliers first turned inward and considered its own office usage.
“Companies understand the importance of the office, but they recognize the role of the office has changed,” says Boogaard. “They have big decisions to make around investing in office space. And they’re looking for guidance.”
To get the answer, Colliers needed data and analytics.
Data allow us to bridge the gap between perception and reality. Data will help us visualize real usage.
Jan Jaap Boogaard
Head of Workplace Advisory EMEA, Director Corporate Solutions, Colliers
Colliers wanted to more accurately map office occupancy by viewing levels in real time, identifying busy times, and determining high-traffic areas. It then used this data to learn about space usage, resource planning, and safety controls, and move these newly dynamic spaces into the digital age.
“The more data you can harvest, the better,” Boogaard says, “especially if it’s live and organic.”
Colliers — which has 18,000 employees across its multinational organization — built its smart office ambitions on top of the cloud-first strategy of Cisco Meraki. It streamlined and standardized on Meraki for its IT infrastructure, allowing Colliers to put all its EMEA sites on one platform and remotely manage wireless infrastructure across the region from a single dashboard.
Colliers worked with Meraki partner Basking.io, a member of the firm’s Techstars Proptech Accelerator program (which supports interesting tech start-ups). Basking.io uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to track devices that connect to a Wi-Fi network. Basking.io’s technology can detect the different behavior patterns of a laptop, desktop, or mobile phone and apply statistical methods to estimate whether nearby devices indicate one person instead of two.
“The technology is so easy to use and integrates seamlessly with Cisco Meraki. You can power up Basking.io, and within a couple of hours you’ll start seeing site-occupancy metrics,” says Eldar Gizzatov, CEO and Co-Founder of Basking.io.
Before offering Basking.io as a service to clients, Colliers used it across its own offices. It took just three weeks to deploy Basking.io in 28 offices across EMEA, and only two days to begin collecting actionable data.
“First, we had to determine the location of our access points in relation to the floor plans at our various offices to get a better sense of how people were using our spaces,” Boogaard says. “Once connected, Basking.io took a couple of weeks to automatically fine-tune the machine-learning algorithms at each location.”
Colliers’ deployment of Meraki platform and networking technologies, coupled with Basking.io’s workplace occupancy analytics platform, ensured a safe return to the office by providing clear occupancy rate controls. This combination also revealed hotspots and quiet spaces, helping to redefine physical office space and establishing a platform for smart facilities management.
Welcome back to today’s hybrid corporate workspace.