Oct 31, 2018 in Viewpoint

Big data for facility managers

In order to create the ideal work environment for yourself and employees, you need big data. It’s what feeds the smart office, enabling a responsive environment capable of adjusting to the needs of all occupants.

Philip Fels
by Philip Fels
Big data brings with it a host of benefits, and also challenges.

But what does ‘big data’ even mean? We know we need it, but why is it important? Where do you start? And, once you have it, what should you do with it? The role of the facility manager is changing, and big data brings with it a host of benefits, as well as new challenges. This blog is the first in a series of four that will offer insights into the big data black box of office life. Here, we will explore how to reap its benefits, the importance of collaboration in analysis, choosing the right platform to present the data and, more practically, the advantages of a platform for your room-booking process.

Why collect data in the first place?

We talked to facility managers to discover their needs related to data. Here are some of the main points that came up.

  • “I want my meeting spaces to be occupied 80% of the time.”
  • “A system that would minimise no-shows would be ideal.”
  • “I would love a system that easily nudged people towards available spaces and sent me a report each month with rooms that are used the most.”
  • “I would like to have something in place that tries to pick out trends for me, letting me know which floor is popular, for example.”
  • “I would love to have insights to use as input for cleaning staff. They would know where to clean based on what area is used the most.”
  • “I would like to be able to show my employees that we have enough workstations for them. They just have to know where to look.”

What are your data needs? Share your thoughts and insights with us at: m.oudhof@mapiq.com

Raw data is collected by various systems which are connected to the smart office

Turning data into a tool

With the sensor technology available today, the sheer amount of raw data available across various systems in the smart office can be overwhelming. That’s why it is essential to have the proper tools to process and visualise what is being collected. Otherwise it simply remains, well, data.

The ideal way to analyse the collected data is to bring it all together in a single place, and to have it presented in a format suited to your facility management needs. This is where a smart building platform becomes essential, offering an overview of insights into how your office can be used more efficiently. The right platform turns data into a powerful tool, translating it into a clear (visual) story that changes the way you look at and manage your office.

Challenges in collecting data

Of course, bringing information together is not as simple as it sounds. In a responsive building, traditionally separate systems such as parking, facility management, WiFi, lighting and audiovisual should work seamlessly together. Once the technology for these systems have been put into place, they still need to be connected and be able to communicate with one another—not always an easy task when working with different vendors. The key to successful data collection and analysis lies in exploring new ways of creating partnerships with companies willing to work together. Only then can we realise the true smart office. We will explore this and more in our next blog.

Looking for a longer read? Check out our whitepaper on Smart Building Ecosystems and share your thoughts with us!

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