Technology in Facilities Management: Using technology to measure occupancy

by | Jul 6, 2022 | Facilities Management, IoT, Technology

What is occupancy data?

Occupancy data is derived from occupancy analytics. Occupancy data is collected by IoT sensors that monitor and record the movement of people throughout a building. Occupancy analytics do not track individuals but assess the number of people using a space over time. The data that occupancy analytics creates is useful because it supplies information to the facilities management team that affects how the building is run and managed. Having information about how and when the space in your workplace is being used will give insights into how to best use the available space and create a better work environment.  

Measuring occupancy levels

These are available at three distinct levels depending on the size of the business and the complexity of the setup.

The first one is the simplest (& cheapest). It involves integrating your FM (Facilities Management) software with your existing sign-in system for staff and visitors. This will generate occupancy data around the . However, the only drawback of this method is you have no further information regarding how long they stayed on site or what parts of the building they occupied.

The second and third type of occupancy data can be generated from applying sensor technology. There are several different options around this method of data gathering.

Magnetometers are door contact sensors which count how many times a door is opened and closed. This does give more accurate data about occupancy, but it does not account for all situations. For example, if two or more people go through a door when opened, the system will still only register one.

The more sophisticated of the is an optical tracking solution, which visually tracks the number of people in a room. One such example is Azolla’s vison sensor, a combination of a super-wide, ceiling-mounted fisheye lens camera and a custom-trained detection algorithm, this sensor does not look for people, more so, it detects movement and constructs bounding boxes around the moving objects, , based on previous training to be a person or multiple people.  Utilising a specialised edge computing gateway, the images are processed and instantly deleted, never leaving the company’s building, ensuring privacy and GDPR compliance. The only data sent from the gateway is simple occupancy counts, this also reduces the size of data packets being sent via 3g sim.


Why is occupancy data important?

Occupancy data can benefit an organisation in multiple ways, especially if it is seeking to adapt to the new work environment Some of the ways occupancy data affects an organisation include helping facilities managers to make data driven decisions regarding space utilisation. The occupancy data generated also give the facilities manager a clearer understanding of how employees use the workspace. Gaining insight like this allows for managing energy more efficiently and improves employee productivity by making the workplace an employee centric environment. Occupancy data helps to address the needs of the occupants of the office by supplying information to the facilities management team that affects on demand cleaning, hot desking etc., replenishing supplies in frequently used areas like coffee docks. Information like this helps to create a better workplace experience.

computer screen displaying a green graph on a white background

Occupancy data provides a useful metric for corporate occupiers. It gives organisations information about which workstations, offices, collaborative spaces, conference rooms etc., are being used and gives accurate information that can be used for on demand cleaning in areas of high occupancy. The data helps to better serve employees. Integrating sensors with desk or room booking software helps employees find an available workspace more quickly or book a lunch table at a quieter time or even hazard a guess about the availability of car parking when deciding to go to the office.

Occupancy analytics affect the health and safety of employees in the workplace. Knowing the number of people present in a building can offer a critical edge in the event of an emergency. It will mean that it is possible to direct employees to exits quickly and safely or isolate part of a building. 

It’s clear that occupancy analytics and the resulting data have a positive effect on the work environment. Occupancy data is useful for addressing the needs of employees. In reimagining the workplace in the post pandemic environment occupancy analytics offer an opportunity to gather useful information. The data gathered from occupancy analytics can be analysed and assist in making a better workplace experience for employees. If you would like to discuss how to make your workplace better for returning employees, contact us here.


Acacia Team
Acacia Team

More Blog Posts

Support Services in Facilities Management

  Site support services carry out some of the most important functions for our clients by being the eyes and ears on the ground. Site support services are carefully curated to match our...

read more

Acacia Evergreen & Wellbeing

Wellbeing at work is no longer a niche issue. Thanks to the pandemic wellbeing at work has gone mainstream and now covers a multitude of employee expectations from mental and physical health to...

read more

Our relationship with plastic

The problem with plastic is that we can’t live without it and its universal application needs a re-evaluation. The negative effects of plastic on our environment and human health are widely known....

read more

Acacia Evergreen and Earth Day 2022 

Since 1970 Earth Day has been about giving ordinary people an opportunity to voice their concerns about the state of the environment through grassroots participation and legislation. A US Senator,...

read more
[ays_quiz id='1']
Share This