A smart work environment uses sensors to collect information about the physical environment and the users in it, and in turn leverages that data to achieve a strategic advance. BIG DATA. We are living in a time where we have access to lots of fast data. Utilizing the traditional method of capturing information via time utilization studies, on-site observations and stakeholder interviews can take time and yield limited comparative data. Thick data on the other hand is the compilation of data taken from multiple viewpoints, queried by human understanding with logic applied and addresses the question, “Why?” For example, data taken from an occupancy sensor might indicate that a room is occupied and therefore unavailable, leading to the notion that more space is needed. An investment in data collection needs to be well thought out as it is an investment in time, money and technology. The first question is why are you collecting the data? Is it to achieve a specific business objective or to provide information that will be acted upon to rethink the workplace? Is it to look for cost savings or to look for ways to enhance occupant experience? Understanding the ‘why’ is essential to taking the right path forward. Once you understand the ‘why’, then you need to consider the how should you collect the data.
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