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Are you tracking occupancy to ensure a safe return to work?

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Are you itching to get back to your workplace, missing all the office buzz, the camaraderie, the coffee catch-ups and the brainstorming sessions? What about a trip to your favourite shopping mall? Wouldn’t it be fun if you could step into it with utter confidence, without the host of emotions swinging between excitement and anxiety?

If there’s one technology which can settle the safety doubts, it’s the occupancy or crowd tracker. Prominent signages saying “ avoid crowding/gathering”, or constant human policing to make people disperse isn’t the most effective way to return to your favourite hangout places, post pandemic.

While many technologies are at play simultaneously in assisting a safer return to work, tracking occupancy in particular, holds the key to social distancing and negating fears of unwanted proximity. 

Tracking occupants has always been the key to smart office planning. In the past, occupiers have analyzed cost per square foot, square feet per desk and used several other metrics, for important decisions on shrinking or expansion of office space. COVID 19 though, has changed the nature and need of occupancy planning dramatically. It’s time to shift from tracking occupants to occupancy tracking. And there are several tech solutions for it ranging from optical sensor cameras which determine movement and spot people, to active infrared or break-beam AIR, which have infrared emitter and receiver, to wi-fi based tracking through mobile phones. But the one solution which stands superior to cameras, apps and sensor systems, is Density a standard platform thatuses depth data, machine learning and computer vision to count people. This tech solution far beats others on one single parameter – it does its job anonymously, beating concerns over limitless worker surveillance and endless data in the hands of employers, not to mention the possibilities of a data breach.

Founded by Andrew Farah in 2015 with the modest goal of measuring the traffic and queues in a popular coffee shop, Density has raked in more business within the first 75 days of Covid than it did in all of 2019. While competitors such as Jooxter, Openpath and SafeCount offer similar tracking services, Density’s guaranteed privacy and superior algorithms have led to a $51 Million Series C Fund raise, bringing its total investments to a whopping $74 million.

 Density’s USP is effectively tracking movement without invading privacy. Nameless, faceless and eliminating all concerns of surveillance and privacy invasion, its people-counting sensors have been designed to streamline tracking and recording of all movements without the question of data concerns. Employing depth-measuring hardware and AI, this anonymous tool is able to distinguish between movement, objects and challenges posed by entryways, corners and hallways. Early adopters of this safe social distancing tracking tool, include top corporates such as Pepsi, Delta, Verizon, Uber, Marriott, and ExxonMobil. The technology fits like like a glove in the Covid era used now by fulfillment centers, grocery stores, warehouses, meat processing plants, libraries and universities among-st a plethora of other shared spaces.

Commercial asset developers and occupiers could be other large adopters of Density like solutions. Occupancy tracking provides a variety of real time data and hard statistics, which can be applied to assess not only social distancing but also emergency responses, personnel management, space utilization, thermal conditions, cost reduction and the creation of an ultimately, agile working environment. Here are the key benefits.

MAXIMIZING SPACE UTILIZATION:

Having a real-time assessment of the density on a digital floor plan as well as the historical assessment, allows you to pinpoint underutilized spaces and overcrowded areas. Monitoring usage can also assist in adapting to changes in employee headcount and engage in smart scheduling or hot desking more efficiently, when capacity is stretched at the seams or even to maximize employee productivity.

HIGHER EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY:

Occupancy tracking allows employees to reserve spaces through their smartphones or opt to work in a particular area according to the current density. Similarly, receiving a notification stating that the cafeteria is at capacity allows you to schedule your lunch break differently or eat elsewhere. These small hacks allow an employee to schedule their workday more efficiently and engage in collaborative working or retreat to privacy as per their desire and needs.

PASSIVE INCOME OPPORTUNITIES:

Studying space and reviewing the efficiency and performance of a building may lead you to find additional or cordoned off space which can further be rented to other businesses or be refurbished for collaboration or other purposes.

CARBON FOOTPRINT:

With commercial buildings and office expanses particularly being the world’s largest energy guzzlers, automated systems rely on occupancy tracking to monitor lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Reducing cost, energy consumption and carbon emissions, the office emerges as far more sustainable premises going forward.

CHALKING UP FUTURE PLANS:

Tracking space utilization allows you to better design expansion, relocation or building renovation plans and ensures that this financially burdening exercise is undertaken only when necessary.

Apart from allowing you to envision and design for future growth, it also ensures you are aware of your employee needs and behaviours, a key attribute in attracting and retaining talent.

The implications of space utilization technology are far reaching as demonstrated by the recent ventures undertaken by WeWork. Claiming to amass a trove of data on office locations, layouts and optimization, WeWork has gone one step further and is employing this technology at early stages to map optimal design and productivity within its spaces so as to provide unparalleled offerings to its clients.

Informed by granular data, employing this technology at a foundational level ensures a competitive advantage in the industry. This comes at an especially important juncture when companies are looking to for viable solutions to return people safely back to work. With India’s complicated geography, high population density and persisting data speed and connectivity issues, technologies such as Density are ideal for managing the spread of Covid, other common illnesses and keeping a track of employees for their safety and well-being. This is undoubtedly one tech solution which can prive to be the short and long-term solution to safe space management.

REFERENCE LINKS:

Read more about technologies counting people

https://medium.com/density-inc/7-technologies-that-count-people-buildings-offices-742785d2030f

Read about Density’s journey

https://fortune.com/2015/05/22/meet-density-a-startup-that-lets-you-see-if-your-favorite-coffee-shop-is-full/

Read more on tracking capabilities below

https://techcrunch.com/2020/07/28/thanks-to-covid-19-everybody-wants-densitys-technology-tracking-building-occupancy-and-use/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAFwgt6rfebfOMvjPW2lHGbfse_xkrsS3oFyzkL_fHdNow1MVbr6e-zm2j8Dgp6YFFbiipmAGMZ3DCT21v-eDHSXJNuY5Uy_QuSs-cl9iP9HSzzTu0Id_eaGC2wCjHQo2FugpPZ1LJSjp_j6yiA7DSdVzaN-JsquuNeDubuCxduNj

Read about occupancy monitoring for modern workplaces

https://www.infsoft.com/blog/occupancy-monitoring-for-modern-workplaces

Posted by: Ashwini Sharma

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