It’s no secret: our workplaces are becoming smarter. Mobile technologies, touchscreens, wireless sensors, beacons, and big data analytics are revolutionizing how employees interact with office buildings and go about their daily tasks.

The game changer is the Internet of Things (IoT). Creating a much more connected world, it offers great potential for smart workspace scheduling – it also has its challenges, however, and no two deployments are alike. Poor preparation and implementation, therefore, can lead to suboptimal results or even rejection on the part of the users.

Here are 8 steps you can take to ensure a successful implementation of IoT-enabled reservations software.

1. Focus on value

Start with the end in mind: identify workplace pain points, determine goals and set priorities for improvement. Be sure to align your approach with workplace strategy and HR. Be especially mindful that all project decisions add real value for the business.

In our experience, a project-to-value mapping is a useful resource to link all project decisions to organizational objectives and KPIs. To begin with, it ensures that all goals are well defined, understood and communicated. It also improves project focus and will make it easier to take quick corrective action if needed.

2. Get a clear view of your portfolio

Map out your workspace. It’s important to get a clear picture of rooms and room types, their usage, the number of seats, equipment and services offered. Mobile tools can help you inventory rooms and equipment. You should also identify and assess the business rules and processes that are currently in place at different locations.  Furthermore, you will need to determine which booking interfaces and methods are already being used and by whom (self-managed, executive admins, etc.). Finally, you should look at financials (cost allocation process).

3. Determine what you need to know to drive improvement

Identify the scenarios you want to enable with a sensor-based solution. For example, in terms of room occupancy, you could measure:

  • Whether a room is occupied or not
  • How many people are in a room
  • Which seats are occupied
  • Who sits where

These are 4 different scenarios, with implications on hardware choices and costs. Whereas the first scenario can be realized with a single room sensor, the last one requires configuring and installing beacons to visualize people’s indoor location in real time. Indoor positioning may be extremely useful during an evacuation or simply to quickly find a team member in a free-seating environment, but it may also raise privacy concerns. In other words: technology choices and modalities of use should also be checked against workplace and HR policies and regulations.

Once you have this covered, you can start to define your IoT solution and output devices (mobile, web, meeting room displays, kiosks, chatbot, etc.

4. Plan for integration

Integration drives value, so don’t build IoT networks in isolation. Expect your vendor to advise you on maximizing existing systems and leveraging the data that is already available. If your building has a BMS, you can integrate it with your IoT platform to get richer data. You can also improve the experience of visitors through integrating visitor handling and reservations management. Even better, consider opting for a comprehensive IWMS that is built from the ground up to offer this kind of integration.

5. Make hardware choices and perform the physical installation

IoT solutions for meeting rooms usually integrate a variety of devices and technologies and include back-end infrastructure and data analytics. Seek advice from a partner who is familiar with the emerging IoT ecosystem, has solid software expertise and understands the dynamics of the modern workplace. They must be able to guide you on selecting the right number and types of sensor for your purpose and how to install them in the best possible way at your locations. Did you know some office furniture already comes pre-fitted with sensors?

To increase your chances of a successful implementation, deploy a scalable, end-to-end solution. Use standardized devices that provide a consistent user interface and user experience across all touchpoints.

6. Set up reporting

Set up reporting to inform decision making with data. This ranges from operational reporting to hi-level dashboards for CFOs and other C-suite executives. You can use standard reporting to keep tabs on essential workplace parameters (e.g. space occupancy, ambient conditions, user satisfaction). When outcomes deviate from expectations, analyse the root causes and make the necessary adjustments. Standard software should also allow you the flexibility to quickly create bespoke reports, tailored to your business environment and specific needs.

IoT-enabled reservations software - providing insights to drive more effecdtive workplace services

Real-time utilization data provides the insights to drive more effective workplace services

7. Prepare the organization for adoption

Plan for the roll-out and clearly communicate business & end-user benefits of the implementation. Share with everybody why you are doing the project before deploying it to the users. Monitor user satisfaction and organize feedback sessions after the go-live date and make it easy for users to voice concerns and questions.

A good reservations solution has an intuitive user interface requiring very little end-user training. Key users, such as executive assistants (mail client first users) can be supported through eLearning. For admins managing the master data and configuring the system, more extensive training should be provided, usually a combination of classroom training and eLearning.

8. Drive continuous improvement

Sensor-based workplace scheduling enables the workforce to view and book free space in real time, from any location. This is immediately beneficial for end users. However, the longer-term benefits should not be overlooked. An analytics platform, aggregating the data over time, allows for data exploration and pattern recognition, that goes beyond expected outcomes, and even allows for improvements through machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Would you like to learn more about IoT-enabled reservations software? Feel free to contact us anytime.