Smart workplace uses big data to improve productivity

October 09, 2017 // By Rich Pell
Furniture manufacturer Steelcase (Grand Rapids, MI) has introduced a "smart + connected workplace" IoT solution built on the Microsoft Azure platform.

The new solution - called Workplace Advisor - is an infrared sensor-based system that collects anonymous workplace data, with what the company claims is "incredible accuracy." It is designed to help organizations create workplaces that respond to the needs of people while also optimizing real estate investments.

Using Microsoft's Azure IoT platform, it delivers advanced analytics for real-time, 24/7 reporting. After measuring anonymous occupancy information, its sensors send the data to the Steelcase platform, where it is analyzed by an algorithm and measured against historical use.

Workplace users can access this data via a companion mobile app - called the Personal Assistant - that the company says allows them more choice and control over where and how they work, and encourages feedback about what spaces are effective and which ones need improvement.

"Organizations and their employees know they need to work differently, yet most offices are stuck in the past," says Jim Keane, President and CEO, Steelcase. "People say they can't find the right places to work yet valuable real estate sits empty. There's a lack of real-time data about what's working in the office and what's not."

The cloud-enabled Workplace Advisor is designed to help workplace managers make better decisions about their workplace, optimize their use, and improve the experience people have at work. The Personal Assistant app helps workers find colleagues, locate available meeting rooms, and rate their experience at work.

"Microsoft Azure IoT enables companies across all industries to drive digital transformation by addressing business problems in new ways, gain new insights through connected solutions and create greater efficiencies in business processes," says Sam George, director, Microsoft Azure IoT at Microsoft Corp. "Today’s announcement with Steelcase is an example of cutting edge work in the smart spaces industry that brings together people, technology and place to increase productivity and employee satisfaction."

Steelcase

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