With the vast majority of organizations preparing to – or already in the process of – welcoming employees back into the office, there’s been significant interest in how to install occupancy sensors as part of their overall workplace strategy.
Occupancy sensor data is extremely valuable and can inform critical decision-making, so we’ve outlined the five most important steps for deploying occupancy sensors across your workplace.
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1. Define your analytics requirements
The ‘analytics’ in this context is the output, or the end result, of deploying occupancy sensors. Essentially, we’re starting at the end because it provides the best framework for understanding the value of workplace data. If you’re not 100% sure about the types of data and reports that different stakeholders need, or how far you want to extend specific use cases in the future, then you could end up installing occupancy sensors incorrectly – or, worse still, installing the wrong type of sensor for your longer-term needs. It’s suggested that you take a three-stage approach in order to accurately define your workplace analytics requirements:
1. Perform an audit: This should cover your workplace’s current data capability and reporting functions.
2. Hold a workshop: A great way to gather insights, this workshop should explore the ways your office has changed post-pandemic, whether you are considering downsizing, what your capabilities are in a hybrid work model, and your overall business objectives.
3. Define your analytics requirements for occupancy sensor ROI: Perform a gap analysis between your current capabilities and your desired outcomes. This will help you document the type of data that you need to collect, and therefore what requirements you have for occupancy sensors.
2. Build your deployment plan
At this stage, the first step is to get the team together – from HR to IT to finance and everyone in between. From your workshopping, you should already know who your key internal stakeholders are for a sensor deployment. Get everyone together to explain the decisions that have been made, clarify the outcomes and ensure everyone is on the same page about the objectives for the occupancy sensor installation.
Next, formalize your key milestones and activities. This should cover the critical steps from project conception through to pre-installation and deployment. Everyone should be aware of what they are contributing to the program, as this will generate greater buy-in for a successful rollout. The good news is that XY Sense has already done the hard work for you – download our free sensor project planning template to solidify your deployment plan.
3. Installing sensors (how it works)
As this step can get technical, it’s easiest to break down the deployment process into six key stages:
1. Site walkthrough: The installer verifies line-of-sight at each sensor location.
2. Cabling: This covers cabling installation (CAT5e or higher), cable testing and power-outlet installation.
3. Hardware installation: Hubs and sensors are installed at their defined locations.
4. Commissioning: Sensors are calibrated to fine-tune the positioning and installation
5. Space mapping: Workpoints and meeting spaces are mapped out.
6. Completion: Once the installation project is complete, XY Sense can active the analytics and begin gathering data from the workplace.
4. Space mapping
This is where the occupancy sensor data begins. Your installer will use their dedicated platform to draw geofences around specific space types – these could be anything from meeting rooms to private offices to breakout spaces and more. Spaces can also be allocated to particular groups, such as marketing or HR, which can supercharge your occupancy sensor data and allow for more informed decision-making.
In addition to configuring space types, names and capacities, as well as the dates from which these are activated, XY Sense also provides a time-machine function. That means when groupings or the floorplan changes, the active dates can be selected so historical data remains unaffected. In terms of how occupancy is actually captured, XY Sense does this with a number of different thresholds, all of which are entirely customizable based on your needs. By default, for example, a workpoint is deemed ‘utilized’ when it’s used for 60 minutes or more in a single day. However, this can be changed according to your business priorities and configurations.
5. Ready to go live!
Now that your sensors are installed, you might think it’s time to start harvesting analytics and seeing occupancy sensor data in real-time. But there’s one thing to do first, and that’s notify your employees and anyone else who will be using the space.
Send out a communications plan for all space users with either a 14-day or 30-day notification about when the sensors will activate. It’s also recommended that you develop a resource centre they can access online or via your company intranet. This should include things like how the sensors work, privacy protections and general FAQs. If you frequently have clients and other non-employees entering your workplace, it may also be advisable to develop space signage.
Once the sensors and the site go live, it’s time for the analytics to populate. You obviously won’t generate an amazing amount of insight from just one day, so be prepared to wait a short period of time to really get the workplace data you’ve been looking for – up to a week is recommended before you can start harvesting the data. Then it’s in your hands to turn those valuable office insights into informed decisions about how to make your workplace more productive, more collaborative and more streamlined.
For more information on what’s really involved in deploying sensors, you can watch our free webinar Everything you need to know about deploying workplace sensors.