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VergeSense Signs of Life™ Helps Companies Prepare for the Hybrid Workplace

Jun 30 2021

In today’s workplace, companies have more access to data than ever before. This creates a foundation of intelligence for important strategic workplace management decisions. To ensure employees and workplace executives alike have accurate data they can trust for decision-making, companies must invest in smart and dynamic technology solutions that improve accuracy, visibility, security, and scalability. 

In working with clients, we realized a blind spot for previous methods of occupancy data collection. True accuracy of space utilization must account for how humans truly occupy space actively and passively. Existing sensors look for indicators of presence of a person, which measures or active occupancy, this does not account for usage and occupancy of a space even if a person is away from the seat. Leading to inaccurate data about the workplace. 

To combat this challenge, we developed the Signs of Life™ algorithm which applies object detection to distinguish between empty desks and desks containing objects such as coats that indicate workers are holding a space. This smart technology ensures that employees and executives are using accurate data to help optimize business decisions.  

Signs of Life™: Reading the Room Like a Human Would 

How Signs of Life Works

In order to predict whether or not a predefined desk area is occupied or not via the use of vision sensors, Signs of Life™ creates a feature vector to show whether or not that space is being occupied by a person, or human belongings that indicate an occupied space. Our artificially intelligent sensor is guided through this pathway: 

- Raw data is captured by device

- Object Detection Component is activated

- Feature vector of passive occupancy objects is constructed

- Occupancy prediction component is activated

- Delivers “Vacant/Occupied” answer 

Signs of Life - a Unique Offering in the Marketplace 

Workplace Strategists have historically relied on manual surveys (“bed checks”) to understand how their offices were being used, this was unreliable and unscalable. While occupancy sensors and person count sensors are able to help make this data capture more reliable and scalable, they do miss out on one key benefit: having human surveyors observe to identify unique behaviors of space use by people. 

For example, employees that get real-time occupancy data from inferior sensors may end up walking to a desk that showed no motion (and therefore showed up in the system as “available) but is clearly occupied because it has a laptop, clothing or bag on the desk.

Signs of Life™ helps identify this exact scenario based on object detection. Our AI looks specifically for leading indicators of passive occupancy, laptops, bags, and clothing.

Finding Answers with Signs of Life

VergeSense’s Signs of Life™ helps our customers gain accurate answers to the following questions, helping them optimize their real estate portfolio and enhance employee experience: 

1. How do I know if my space is available for someone to use?

An employee is using an application to find a desk to use. The employee needs to feel confident that they can locate an unoccupied desk with the kiosk for them to use. For example, if they did not book a desk, but after a 2 hour collaboration meeting they need to find a desk to sit and catch up on emails and do some heads down work. If a desk is not physically occupied by a person because the person utilizing that desk is away from it at that moment, VergeSense will report this space as being occupied or having signs of life. 

An employee is reserving a conference room for a meeting to begin immediately. Some of the unbookable huddle spaces that are designed for employees to use for ad hoc collaboration show as available, but the employee spends 10 minutes walking around finding each available room. This is a squatter’s paradise. VergeSense Signs of Life™ will report these spaces as in use, to prevent multiple people from trying to use the same space.

2. How do I know if my employees are occupying spaces unnecessarily?

Employees that attend the office infrequently set themselves up to work in smaller meeting rooms. This prevents other employees from utilizing those spaces for the entire day. Signs of Life™ allows for the detection of squatters.

3. How do I know my true desk utilization?

Signs of Life™ helps executives get a count of the total number of desks used on any given day to determine if they have the correct number of desks. In today’s workplace culture, there isn’t a time of day where all employees simultaneously sit at a desk so an accurate count can be taken. By counting desks in use using Signs of Life™, the total desk utilization can be determined.

As desk and space reservations become more popular to help support the unpredictability of hybrid working, so does the risk of wasted space due to ghost reservations. Occupancy data integrated with the space reservation system allows for an auto boot capability that will release a reservation after 10 minutes of no use. This could be a challenge for employees that step out for a coffee or restroom break. Signs of Life™ helps make this action more intelligent by only releasing the room if there is no activity, people detect OR signs of life in the space. Gone are days when optimizing your workspace for efficiency means a bad employee experience.

VergeSense Signs of Life™ is the smart technology your workplace needs today to prepare for a hybrid workplace and create the experience employees need while also gathering the data you need to ensure productivity and safety. Until now, occupancy senses have missed out on being able to read the room like a human does. VergeSense Signs of Life™ solves this by doing just that -- giving workplace executives dynamic, accurate data they can use immediately to bring people back into the office and create unparalleled employee experiences. 

Schedule a consult with a VergeSense representative to learn more about how the VergeSense workplace analytics platform provides the granular, accurate data you need and the seamless workplace experience employees expect.

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