Boston – Armored Things, a provider of AI software for smart space planning, has released new research that indicates that space planning professionals lack the data they need to optimize use of today’s corporate and education campuses.
The research indicates that, as businesses and higher education institutions continue to adapt to changes in the way space is used on their campuses post-pandemic, they are running into critical blind spots when it comes to collecting and analyzing the information they need to adjust.
Armored Things interviewed 255 space planners in the U.S. to better understand their challenges and needs related to how they optimize their use of space and inform their real estate planning decisions in the current environment. Of the respondents, 175 were from companies with at least 500 employees, and 80 were from higher education institutions with at least 500 students.
“Getting a handle on the best use of physical space is really difficult in the current hybrid environment, yet it has a tremendous impact on the productivity and efficiency of businesses and schools,” said Richard Scannell, CEO, Armored Things. “You can’t do it without the right data. A lot of the spatial intelligence available today is point-in-time data that doesn’t provide space planners with the analytics and insights they need to make the right decisions about facilities today and for the future.”
In the report:
Space Planning Needs are Evolving and Businesses and Schools are Struggling
Almost 90% of the space planning professionals surveyed indicated that return to “normal” operations on their corporate or education campus have been a struggle. And they find themselves at the center of many challenges related to space allocation. At the same time, they are scrambling to address the changing needs of their constituents.
On the corporate side, space planners are focused on trying to create effective hybrid work environments that balance the use of hoteling with cubicles and create equitable workspaces for different groups and teams. Additionally, they are trying to reallocate extra space for new needs.
For space planners in higher education, coordinating space for online versus on-campus instruction has been a significant effort. Schools are also looking closely at their real estate footprint and trying to balance what they should own, lease and rent to best meet their needs. Leaving enough space for social distancing is also still an important consideration.
Space Utilization Data is Severely Lacking
Almost all of those surveyed reported a lack of effective space planning data for specific needs. Planners are currently cobbling together data on space usage from a variety of moment-in-time data points such as survey data from service providers, entry badging data, occupancy sensors that track utilization, and various homegrown people-counting tools. Unfortunately, none are providing the strategic data space planners need to meet their organizations’ goals.
Intelligent, AI-Based Space Planning Can Close the Data Gap
Those space planners surveyed indicated a strong interest in tools that could: accurately track space utilization (95%), support and track the use of new workspaces and learning environments (94%), centralize all usage data (93%), offer a way to share data with multiple stakeholders (92%), and scale according to their organization’s needs (93%).
There was also a high degree of comfort in using AI to achieve their space planning goals. Ninety percent of corporate space planning professionals said they would be interested in using AI to provide, capture and analyze the occupancy data, and 76% of space planning professionals in education said the same.
“There is clearly a need for a more modern approach to space management and that’s exactly what Armored Things is focused on,” added Scannell. “Our AI-powered software helps space planning professionals see their physical spaces in entirely new ways by surfacing powerful insights for decisions related to utilization, workplace and student experiences, leases, and maintenance.”