2.12B Workplace as a Service
Thursday, October 19, 2017 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Venue: George R. Brown Convention Center
Room: 320A

Creating the workplace of the future is not just about a new physical way of laying it out, but also about digitalization of the workplace. Some companies are going from refurbishing every 3 years to refurbishing every 3 months, moving furniture around based on the actual needs and ways of collaboration. The physical workplace is becoming more agile, to the point where people call it Workplace as a Service. Companies are no longer renting space and then doing a fixed layout in it, they are renting an adaptable, fit-for-purpose workplace concept. Hence it becomes essential to continuously measure and monitor not just presence, but also collaboration. Furthermore users are now free to do whatever they want, sit wherever they want, come to work or not. That increases the need for guidance through what is called a virtual private assistant that will guide the users in how to optimally spend their day. It can be about where to go sit, who to interact with, or even helping them with health and wellbeing, sitting in a place that is the right temperature. A virtual private assistant can for example be an avatar on Skype because people already use this as a communication tool. Digital assistants can answer questions and complete basic tasks like search in real time the right room for a specific activity. They can also order a certain service like catering based on the activity you are about to do. Learning over time, they become more useful every day. Skype is one channel for that, but it can also be a mobile device that you talk to in the way you talk to Siri, Cortana or Alexa. You talk to your phone and say what you would like to get in terms of assistance from your building, from your workplace. That is the virtual private assistant concept that is coming to the workplace today, with technologies like mobile apps or Skype that are in the hands of the users already. A lot of the data required to make those decisions based on business rules is also already available, whether it comes from reservations software or sensors that capture occupancy or comfort or presence of individuals, or calendar information or personal preferences information – those are all inputs into the decision making algorithm and then the artificial intelligence, that is becoming more and more affordable and accessible to guide decision making. If the workplace of the future is about providing an optimal work experience, there is a physical component to it, which is measuring people’s occupancy and collaboration and then guiding the decision making on more agile redesign and re-layout of furniture. But also a digital component, which is then based on behaviour, based on feedback, based on preferences, guiding the user through the already available communication channels to have the most optimal experience in the workplace.

Learning Objectives/Outcomes:
Understanding the concept of Workplace as a Service
Recognizing the importance of workplace measurements to create an optimal working environment
Understanding the physical and digital dimensions of the workplace and how they increasingly interact
Describing what a virtual private assistant can do for building occupants
Levels of Learning
300 level
Topic Category:
Carl Fransman, MCS Solutions
Eric Van Bael, MCS Solutions