Smart utilisation: your guide to the latest occupancy data

As the pandemic puts the focus on the need to keep employers safe, our latest WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing introduces the WORKTECH Guide to Utilisation Technologies and describes a stunning innovation to tackle vehicle pollution

While we’re again seeing work-from-home policies and a mass exodus from office space, the challenge of underutilised space – which has troubled many organisations for a number of years – has not gone away. At least the outbreak of the pandemic has created an opportunity for organisations to re-evaluate their strategy to use space more effectively and gain a greater insight into how their office space is being used.

However, as organisations turn to technology to collect data on their real estate, they are confronted with a new challenge: how to navigate a through an increasingly prolific market of workplace occupancy tools.

A major new report, The WORKTECH Guide to Utilisation Technology, highlights the different types of utilisation data available and profiles the key characteristics of 31 leading vendors in the space. The research in this report shows that on average before the pandemic, only 47 per cent of office desks were in use. Now, the pandemic has reduced that number further and up to a 30 per cent reduction in property requirements is possible as new ways of working are introduced.

‘Less than half of office desks were in use before the global pandemic…’

However, new ways of working demand new forms of enabling technology. The post-pandemic workplace has reignited the conversation around smart office buildings and the power of accurate data to keep employees safe. Real time, efficient occupancy data can be the single most useful tool in the interconnected smart building armoury, as it facilitates the optimal programming of a plethora of other technologies throughout the building.

Live desk and meeting space occupancy data is paramount to any agile workspace, and insight into the population levels of each area of a building allows facility managers to optimise HVAC controls, energy use, the cleaning schedule and catering quantities in real-time.

The WORKTECH Guide to Utilisation Technology was the focus of our latest WORKTECH webinar on 17 September 2020, where some of the leading players from Sony to Spacewell and Spica Technologies debated the latest innovations and their impact on the future of work. View the full webinar, led by futurologist and CEO of UnWork Philip Ross, below:

Tackling tyre pollution

If nothing else, coronavirus is becoming a spur to innovation as designers and inventors dream up new ways to intervene in a changing world. One of the best places to look for innovative solutions to everyday problems is the annual James Dyson Award, given by the British entrepreneur and engineer Sir James Dyson.

This year’s UK winner, designed by four students from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art under the name of The Tyre Collective, tackles an important but relatively under-recognised problem: tyre wear.

Every time a vehicle brakes, accelerates or turns a corner, the tyres wear down and tiny particles become airborne, producing half a million tonnes of tyre particles annually in Europe alone. Little wonder that air quality is poor in so many central business districts. The particles are small enough to become airborne and can have adverse effect on health; more are swept into waterways and oceans, entering the food chain.

As we move towards electric vehicles in the future, exhaust emissions will reduce but tyre particles will continue to pollute the air and the wider environment. Tyre emissions may even increase, as electric vehicles become heavier due to the added battery weight.

The winning innovation by The Tyre Collective aims to reduce this invisible pollution by capturing the tyre particles at the source. A device is fitted to the wheel and uses electrostatics to collect particles as they are emitted from the tyres, by taking advantage of various air flows around a spinning wheel.

The designers, Siobhan Anderson, Hanson Cheng, M Deepak Mallaya, and Hugo Richardson, claim that their prototype can collect 60 per cent of all airborne particles from tyres, based on tests under a controlled environment. Once captured, the particles can be recycled and reused in new tyres or in other materials such as ink. This is clever stuff, with real social and environmental impact

Designing for a new era

Finally, don’t miss out on our next live WORKTECH webinar which takes place on 29 September 2020, featuring thought leaders Kay Sargent of HOK and Kevin Kern of Konica Minolta in a conversation with Philip Ross of UnWork. They will explore the fundamental challenges posed by the pandemic and share insights into how organisations can reimagine office design using new technologies to conform to new ways of working. Find more details and registration here.

In our WORKTECH Wednesday Briefings, we reach out to our 10,000-plus Academy members, WORKTECH attendees, speakers, partners and sponsors while WORKTECH’s professional live conference series paused due to the coronavirus pandemic. This edition is posted 23 September 2020.
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