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How Indoor Maps Can Boost Safety And Efficiency For Smart Workplaces

Dec 1, 2020

11 min read

By: Mappedin

We're breaking down how an indoor mapping system can automate and report on key process within your smart building, saving you time and money.  

How Indoor Maps Can Boost Safety and Efficiency for Smart Workplaces

Smart workplaces have emerged in enterprises and businesses in recent years. The term was coined to describe the use of technology to connect, engage, and interact with their employees. To enable a smart workplace, the use of IoT, sensors, machine learning, and other technologies have made offices more efficient. 

Beyond technological devices, indoor maps have become a popular solution for businesses to improve safety and efficiency in the smart workplace. Smart buildings are products of the Internet of Things (IoT). Devices connected to the IoT can share data, meaning everything from lighting systems to garbage cans can connect, collaborate, control, and conserve. That’s where indoor maps come in. Digitally connected smart buildings can leverage indoor maps alongside IoT devices, combining automated operations with intelligent space utilization.

Smart building technology and analytics can help you to:

  • Increase on-site safety 

  • Enhance visitor experience 

  • Reduce building running costs

  • Reduce the risk of cyberattack

  • Create a productive workspace

  • Energy efficiency (across multiple indoor spaces)

Indoor mapping software can help your workplace to bring together floor plans, 3D visualizations, spatial data, location-based analytics, and more for multiple benefits. In this guide, we will explain how an indoor mapping system can automate and report on all relevant decision-making processes in real-time, saving you time and money. 

More than that, smart buildings offer an opportunity for companies, building owners, and occupants to enjoy a digitally connected workplace designed around people (employees, visitors, etc.). Where building technologies come together to create spaces that help workplace operations, staff retention and desirability. 

1. Improves Workforce Productivity

Indoor mapping data and IoT data used together can give real-time updates that companies can display in apps. That means employees can get up to date information on workplaces to help make efficient use of the space, boosting productivity. For example, apps can show current usage and future availability of conference rooms or meeting rooms across floors. 

New employees who are not yet familiar with the smart building layout will also benefit from 3D indoor navigation maps that show routes to destinations and other useful information, such as the location of the en-route toilet facilities or water fountains.

By combining indoor mapping and IoT data feed into a central hub, management and executives can easily monitor workflow within the building. The software can then offer insights and solutions over how and when space can be scheduled and used for energy-efficient productivity. 

2. Clear Visualization of Space 

Indoor mapping technology for offices connected to IoT devices delivers zero-latency access to employees. That means smart buildings can present employees with previously impossible real-time data that gives a clear visualization of the space.

For example, information employees may want to know regularly could include “which boardroom is available right now?” or “is the reception area busy at the moment?”. Physically remote staff can also benefit from easy and secure connections to conference calls from any device connected to the smart building’s network. 

Pairing indoor positioning software (IPS) with an enabled smart office benefits business owners, too. View and analyze the location and duration of workplace interactions, including all relevant energy consumption. Use analytics to plot the changes in energy consumption throughout the year. 

3. Optimizes Resource Utilization

Indoor maps can help smart buildings to spot instances of wasted resources and reduce their office footprint to reflect usage. 

For example, data shows that over half of all office seats are vacant, while offices operating at relative peak performance still only fill around 70% of seats. Unused workspace is a commonly wasted resource on a massive scale, resulting in unnecessary resource consumption and overheads. 

Analyzing occupancy levels and redistributing human resources to fill only the necessary workspace required results in optimized energy-usage and other cost savings (savings can reach up to 70% in approximately three years). 

Another way in which smart offices can optimize resource utilization is through an efficient waste collection system. Sensors fitted in waste disposal areas detect fill-levels, and collection services receive a notification when waste levels approach capacity. That means fewer journeys are required to maintain waste levels in the building, benefiting the environment.   

Resource utilization insights and optimized implementation procedures do not stop with seating and office waste management. All departments stand to benefit from better resource utilization. The integration of a mapping system with an IoT enabled office could improve working practices within your IT, human resources, or security teams, for example, where redistributed unused resources result in improved performance and better energy allocation. 

4. Improves Security and Workplace Safety

Facility managers and workers can view real-time data on a 3D map, enabling them to view data such as the operational status of resources and resource usage. 

Where facility managers can view analytics relating to building resources, they can better plan to deploy or redistribute resources across spaces more efficiently.

For example, indoor mapping technology and IoT data can help with decisions over the positioning of resources such as:

  • Security personnel 

  • Security cameras & kiosks

  • Fire alarms & fire extinguishers 

  • Emergency medical facilities, such as defibrillators, CPR kits, first aid supplies

The IoT can help to ascertain the use (or underuse) of these resources, while indoor mapping software can give insight into the most appropriate placement locations. 

Perhaps above all, this allows you to view the location and availability status of security and workplace safety features in real-time. That means faster checks for staff who would otherwise have to inspect the smart items in person.  

5. Helps With Emergency Planning

Indoor 3D maps improve emergency planning for all employees, managers, and visitors. The indoor mapping software can send notifications to every smart workplace user device should there be an emergency event to occur.

The notification could include escape routes showing indoor positioning in real-time and where to gather in groups outdoors, complete with location sharing features. The software can also highlight the availability and location of fire extinguishers and medical equipment, such as first aid kits.

Indoor maps can help smart buildings to prepare for an emergency, assisting you in drill use cases to improve your company’s preparedness. Location analysis of essential equipment, such as defibrillators, can also help to improve your emergency planning.  

Location sharing allows other smart office employees to view and share real-time data about the location of colleagues.

6. Managing Workplace and Building Maintenance

Managing the workplace and building maintenance through the integration of indoor map software can mean reducing costs. But it can also mean a lot of other things, too. By tracking maintenance schedules, managers can monitor and prepare for many different maintenance-related situations.

Indoor mapping can streamline maintenance in your building in a number of ways:

  • Smart item maintenance alert system

  • Expedite product-recalls as necessary 

  • Company-wide equipment-specific upgrade schedules

  • ...and more 

Relevant personnel can receive alerts whenever connected devices are due for maintenance. In doing so, the resource management products available through the software reduces the number of people involved in looking over the issue before implementing a fix, saving time.   

7. Optimizes Control of the Workplace

Indoor maps enable smart facility operators to optimize the efficient and effective use of the workplace. For example, connecting your cooling, lighting, and heating systems to your smart building can indicate usage inefficiencies. Where facilities are not in use, smart building technology leverages machine learning to cut the power, save energy, and improve spatial data analytics. A connected lighting system that knows when staff are not present can save you around 50% of your current lighting bill. 

Companies that digitize management systems to automate both the monitoring and calibration of light and heat systems around workplace operations create a sustainable workspace that benefits the environment.  

8. Easy Incident Reporting

A smart workplace can mean faster and more efficient incident reporting. For example, if an employee discovers flooding occuring in the washroom, they can easily report the incident in the indoor mapping software. This can allow the managers to provide updates to other employees allowing them to avoid that specific bathroom and alert the maintenance crew to fix the issue. 

Managers and teams of all kinds may also receive real-time updates when staff uncover and report issues or faults with any other smart building feature. From broken door handles to problems with the physical IT infrastructure, fast communication means quick reporting and expedited resolutions.    

Where your staff feel that they have a voice to affect their work environment, retention rates increase, and your company will benefit from a broader appeal on the jobs market. 

9. Connecting Employees 

A greater level of interaction between coworkers in buildings helps to increase productivity. From planned boardroom meetings to chance encounters between colleagues in a corridor, research into the effectiveness of direct communication on productivity has led to decades of physical office space designs that encourage interactions. 

Smart buildings can leverage indoor maps connected to an Internet-of-Things enabled smart workplace to take this idea forward into the digital workspace. For example, smart conference rooms and smartboards allow physically present staff to exchange information using wireless content sharing technology that records the session.

People thrive in smart building environments that provide opportunities to interact and share ideas. Leveraging indoor 3D maps and IoT data can positively impact productivity. Benefits range from faster product cycles and increased sales to employee satisfaction and staff retention.   

10. Boosts Recruitment

Indoor maps are a vital component of the modern smart building. Data shows that most young people, almost two thirds, believe they will find employment within smart offices sometime in the next five years. Demonstrating indoor maps as part of your in-house digital setup allows your brand to stand out with greater appeal to your potential staff. 

Your indoor map acts as the digital twin to your physical space, helping you to:

Stand out as an employer in a noisy digital space

Your building is just an address until you can offer a high-tech 3D digitization of your indoor space. Where your progressive digital culture stands-out, job-searchers take notice, increasing your share of applications and allowing you to hire best-fit staff.

Enable candidates (interviewees) to navigate on-site 

Your indoor map can help you to enable interviewees to navigate your building. Either through the use of your app, website, or on-site information points, interviewees can quickly access indoor positioning and location data to plan their route. 

Expedited settling-in period for new staff

An indoor map of your building is the perfect way to ensure new can find their way around with ease. From on-site parking and main entrances to stairwells, elevators, and meeting rooms, your indoor map allows instant access to mobile navigation features.

The availability of indoor mapping brings familiarity to staff working across different sites. That means your global company can provide a consistent and comfortable place to work across all physical locations. 

Implementing Indoor Maps for Smart Workplaces

The time required to implement an indoor positioning system depends on data upload considerations. For example, a small single-storey office with 10 rooms or fewer represents a significantly smaller indoor 3D mapping project than a 50 story skyscraper. 

Executives and facility managers must begin by analyzing all indoor positioning system use cases in-line with business objectives. Understanding real-world positioning use cases versus expectations at this stage will prepare you for a solid analysis of preliminary space management outcomes at a later stage. 

Implementing indoor maps for smart workplaces may look something like this:

Understand the functional objectives of the project 

Gather data on business needs from stakeholders and other relevant personnel. Begin to piece together a team that understands the use cases of the mapping project and start to plan the practical requirements needed for the task.

Work to establish current realities and future expectations of the project

Workshop sessions with staff can help you to understand the current use cases of your indoor spaces. Understanding where capabilities fall short of work requirements can help you in creating a smart office that benefits users. 

The development and testing stage

This stage is the so-called sandbox stage, where ideas get tested, and analysis of outcomes gives insight. This stage is also known as the proof of concept stage. The viability of your efforts so far must be scrutinized for scalability and rollout.

Launch your mapping project and repeat the process

Implementing an indoor positioning project that integrates with your IoT enabled office will likely require ongoing testing, improvements, and redeployment. Your team can begin to repeat the process by analyzing whether the mapping project fulfills the functional objectives of all connected smart buildings.

Indoor mapping can help to transform the static feel of your building into a modern and rewarding digital experience for all users. Your implementation strategy and plans for updates and reconfiguration are critical to the measurable outcomes of your indoor mapping project.  

The possibilities of pairing your IoT enabled smart office with indoor mapping technology are endless. You stand to benefit from increased productivity, lower overheads, better talent attraction and retention, and much more.  

Interested in implementing an indoor navigation map for your office or smart building? Contact us today for a free demo!