Data collecting technologies like machine learning, beacons and heat mapping will become indispensable tools to help companies make the most of their office space. It is already being taken up by several corporations like WeWork, a $16 billion company – currently in 110 locations around the world with 60,000 members. They rent office space from real estate companies, give them a make-over and then rent it out at a profit.
Their business depends on them making the most of their space and getting the best value for it. They need to know what people kind of space people want and how they want to work. And to ensure they are staying ahead of the curve they are investing in several technologies, including heat mapping and beacon technology to understand how to create the ideal office environment.
"Space in a WeWork building is at a premium,” says Daniel Davis, director of Cities and Spaces research.
“We can’t add any square footage, so we have to make really careful decisions about how many offices you put on a floor, how many meeting rooms you put on a floor, how many phone booths and lounges."
The technology they use collects precious data that paints an illuminating picture of how a space is used. This information is then used to not only enhance the location and experience of the user but also to cut costs.
Beacons can be used to immediately interact with people coming into a room. For instance, the moment someone walks through a meeting room door, a beacon can send a message to their mobile phone to tell them if it is booked or not and then point them in the direction of the next free room.
Heat mapping paints a clear picture how office spaces are utilised. Bright flaring images show where congestion occurs. And that can be a good or bad thing. You may want to show where bottlenecks occur or just drive people together to co-operate. For WeWork, it is the latter.
It has always been WeWork’s intention to create building that are much more than a shared office space, they want to create communities where people come together to make things happen. Technology is helping them lead the way.