Posted on November 25, 2016 by staff

The smart office space saving firms millions of pounds


Cutting-edge technology which books meeting rooms and connects Skype calls through your mere presence could make huge savings for large-scale businesses.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Consulting is carrying out workplace transformations for big clients with tech at their core.

Its worldwide workplace and mobility strategist Jordan Whitmarsh spoke to BusinessCloud reporter Katherine Lofthouse at Microsoft’s Future Decoded conference at the ExCeL in London.

“I haven’t seen the BusinessCloud offices but I can imagine what the conference rooms might look like: a TV on the wall, a desk with a nest of cables in the middle and maybe a spider phone,” he says. “That’s what they’re like around the world.

“Typical enterprise organisations use Microsoft Exchange to book their meeting rooms. They sit there on the calendar, an hour long, and the people who booked it may or may not turn up.

“Research has shown that 95 per cent of meeting rooms are booked 95 per cent of the time, but everyone in a large organisation knows that if you walk around you’ll be able to find up to 10 empty meeting rooms. It’s a total waste of space.”

HPE Consulting showcased a glass cube office at the Microsoft event, part of its ‘intelligent spaces’ initiative. The firm helps its clients – companies which employ more than 10,000 people – use indoor location services to improve efficiency.

“Google Maps is great until you’re inside a building,” says Whitmarsh. “HPE Aruba Meridian is based on Bluetooth low-energy beacons which allow you to triangulate your position indoors.

“If this room is available, the lights will be green. When you walk in, it will book it automatically for 30 minutes; if we overstay our welcome and no one else has booked it, the booking will roll on. If we leave, the booking is ended.

“The calendar shows a real-time view of how this space is being used: the number of people in a room at a particular time.

“We can start to ask, for example, why a conference meeting room designed for 20 people is only ever used by a maximum of six, or why the rooms on the west side of the building are never used in the afternoon – perhaps when the sun shines they are too hot.

“Since mobility has taken hold, we can work anywhere: you can choose the space where you want to be inspired, or private, or open and collaborative.

“With the aggregation of data, you can return unused spaces back to the dynamic pool or close entire floors – in central London that floor could cost millions of dollars.”

Legacy telephony systems are still in widespread use in the business world, which Whitmarsh says needs to change.

“When you walk into our space, it kicks off a Skype for Business call automatically and dials you in. Instead of fighting for the pin number or looking through your calendar for the right Skype link to click, the room just dials you and you accept the call,” he adds.

“In the call you can invite someone in from New York, or the room next door, with a single button click.”

Research from Microsoft found that calls on legacy systems which include technology waste 12 minutes on average.

“Add all that up, and you get a two-and-a-half week productivity saving per employee, per year,” Whitmarsh continues.

“For a 10,000-person organisation, that is $50m worth of productivity.

“Reducing the downstream friction increases the adoption of these technologies and reduces frustration and the amount of time wasted.”