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Measuring and optimising workspace with sense_

Imagine a self-regulating workspace that is kind to the environment. The newest addition to the lab_ collective, _sense, is making that a reality.


4 min read

Since discussing their journey to improve workplaces with sensor technology, Spacelab have launched a whole new business: sense_. Nathan Lonsdale, Co-Founder of Spacelab, tells us more.

In a nutshell, sense_ is a platform that uses the latest and best in class sensor technologies to gather insights for how space can be optimised, as well as reduce energy consumption and measure your carbon footprint, so you can see for yourself how your space is being used in real-time. All of which means you can adapt, evolve and optimise your space to support your people’s wellbeing, minimise your impact on the environment and save money.

But before we delve into the story of sense_, here’s a little background on us. We’re the lab_ – a collective of free thinkers; architects, designers, developers, engineers, social scientists, educators and technologists – constantly experimenting and reshaping the boundaries so that we can live our lives better. We constantly ask ourselves the question. ‘Is there a better way?’ And this thinking has been the driving purpose behind the lab_ collective, and the start of each business within it, including sense_.

Over the past 18 years, we’ve provided insights and data-driven design solutions for over 60,000 people, across 150 businesses, transforming over 6,000,000 sq ft of space. And we’ve come to notice some fundamental problems with buildings and how they’re used.

Firstly, the vast majority of businesses have no idea how their space is actually used. Even before lockdown, our research showed that, on average, at any one time, over a third of employees are not in the office. Yet workspaces were still predominantly designed and set up for full capacity. Already, businesses were wasting money on space they didn’t need, simply because they don’t have the data or insights to understand how it’s being used.

Post-lockdown, occupancy levels are predicted to drop even lower, with 72% of people stating they would like to work from home at least two days per week moving forward.

Some business leaders are questioning the need for an HQ altogether, having seen that it is possible for their team to get their work done whilst working remotely. Whilst we firmly believe there will always be a need for the office as a place for face-to-face collaboration and socialising – an essential part of any organisation’s culture – the main purpose of the office will shift to just this; a place for collaboration. Whilst none of us can say for certain what the world of work will look like post-lockdown, undoubtedly the workplace will need to change. For a business, measuring their space and understanding exactly how it is used so that they can make informed decisions has never mattered more.

And then there’s the climate crisis. Human activity is producing CO2 emissions at a record high, and buildings currently contribute to a whopping 39% of this. The construction industry alone accounts for 60% of all materials used (that’s a staggering 400 million tonnes per annum), whilst creating a third of all waste. Simply put, buildings (and the process of building them) are bad for the planet. One thing is clear: we have to change how we design, use and adapt buildings – fast – if we’re going to win the race against climate change.

So, what’s the solution? Whilst these problems might seem mutually exclusive, they are both compounded by a lack of understanding of how space is occupied and used within buildings, and how energy is consumed. That’s where sense_ comes in.

Over the past few years we’ve been developing, testing, and developing sense_, fine-tuning it along the way. We’ve now designed a target-driven solution that truly works, and that, we believe, is going to completely change how space is used. It uses infrared sensor technology that connects via Bluetooth over a standalone network to continuously measure your space and how it is occupied. It’s not just another sensor; it comes with our 18 years’ experience and knowledge to provide you with expert insights along the way, defined by targets identified and set out by you to meet your specific business requirements – all surfaced in your easy to use dashboard within the sense_ app, so that you can adapt and optimise your building to support your team and your business goals.

It also remotes into your building’s BMS and overlays AI technology that continually evolves over time, helping to reduce your building’s energy consumption by up to 20% – saving you money whilst also reducing your impact on the planet.

There’s no doubt that these are uncertain times. But one thing is certain – we can’t continue as before. More than ever, we need an informed approach as to how we use space – one that’s sustainable and enables space to adapt to the changing world we’re living in. One that saves you money, makes your life simpler, and helps ensure you achieve specific targets. That’s why we founded sense_.

To see the benefits of sense_ for yourselves, simply drop a note through the website – sensespace.com

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