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Space Management Is All The Rage But What Will Deliver The Big Real Estate Savings?

Real estate directors and heads of estates are always on the lookout for what will drive the next wave of office improvements and cost efficiency. Space management is one of those hot topics at the moment. There has certainly been a flurry of deals between vendors offering space management solutions, all aiming to offer end-users more options on how to make better use of every square foot they occupy. But behind all the deals there are two distinct questions being answered: how do I reduce space-related inconveniences like occupants struggling to find spare meeting rooms or desks, and how do I reduce the amount of space I use whilst allowing my business operations to run smoothly?

Vendor activity addressing space-related daily inconveniences has been aplenty. Condeco acquired Nexxt Solutions, which integrates room bookings with Outlook, smart devices and local intranets. RedstoneConnect acquired room management specialist Easter Road Holdings. FM:Systems updated its space reservation app and floor plan viewer, and Condeco integrated its room booking module with Creston’s scheduling software and touch screens. ISS is piloting a self-service app for room booking. iOffice launched Hummingbird, which offers wayfinding and reservations through an app.

Solutions measuring occupancy levels, space use, layout design and the arrangement of who sits where and why, such as locating HR adjacent to finance, have also seen recent activity. FM:Systems developed new functionalities for scenario planning and utilization data capture via seat sensors. AgilQuest upgraded its platform to allow closer tracking of how employees use their workspaces, and Trackplan and Mobiess jointly launched a platform offering multi-departmental operations planning. IWMS vendors like Accruent are also tapping space utilization vendors such as Serraview for reseller partnerships.

Both types of solutions have their uses – one of the major trends has been to allow building users to have a much better functional interaction with the buildings they occupy, driving effectiveness and wellbeing – but the big pay offs are coming from the rationalisation of space through real time monitoring of how employee effectively use the space. Witness Serraview helping insurance firm Suncorp to cut their space use by 30% and increase occupancy levels from 80% to 120% across 650 buildings through a flexible working environment.

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