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AI-Powered Space Planning to Optimize Workplaces

by Lewis Morgan / September 8, 2023

Space use has always been the heart of an organization, whether it is a storefront, office, or even a home business. Planning workspaces, offices, and meeting rooms, including the quantity and location of each, is challenging. It typically requires spreadsheets, CAD software, and extensive analysis to plan for space needs effectively. 

Over the years, space planning has improved with evolving technologies. The latest is artificial intelligence (AI).

Companies globally could save a whopping $1.5 trillion by optimizing office space. Given pandemic workplace changes and the emergency of the hybrid office, space planning is now at the forefront of many public and private organizations. The integration of space planning and AI can improve space optimization. 

Beyond traditional design, AI enables predictive analysis to determine future space needs, identifies underutilized areas within buildings, and generates alternative office designs to improve space use. In this article, we will delve into how AI transforms space planning and tailors space layouts to consumer’s needs.

Identifying Underutilized Space

Data is what drives AI. For years, organizations have been using occupancy sensors to determine space use. 

An occupancy sensor is a device that records how often a space is used. They are mounted under workstations, on chairs, in conference rooms, etc. The sensors are typically connected to software to display and analyze data. 

Other data types that reflect space use include employee surveys, Wi-Fi access logs, motion sensors, badge swipes, floor plans, etc. Available data from multiple sources can be combined into a database and fed into AI algorithms for analysis. Such analysis can include:

Occupancy Tracking: AI can better understand occupancy by analyzing the data across multiple sources. It can provide a more complete picture of how the space is used. Such analysis can be real-time, depending on the granularity of the data. Through better occupancy tracking, AI can identify underutilized spaces that can be considered for reconfiguration.

Space Reconfiguration: AI's insights into underutilized spaces can lead to creative solutions, such as converting unused spaces into functional areas. AI tools can generate the best office layout on a floor plan based on space use and tenant goals.

Predictive Analysis for Future Needs

AI can also be used for predictive analysis. Your organization may grow or shrink, but your space may remain unchanged. In the ever-evolving landscape of building management and design, understanding how space is used — or sometimes underused — holds immense potential for efficiency, sustainability, and creativity. Being able to predict growth and adapt your space is essential to success. 

Using historical data, AI can predict future space needs. Buildings can become more than static structures; they can be dynamic, responsive, and anticipatory. Here are some ways that AI can help predict space needs.

Growth Projections: Combining space data with personnel and business forecasts can enable AI models to predict expansion or contraction. AI can use the data to predict office layouts that reflect future staffing and operational demands. AI layout can show the best places to add or remove workstations and other space types.

Adaptive Planning: By analyzing how space is utilized, how employees move within that space, and where and when peak interactions occur, AI algorithms can offer design solutions tailored to an organization's operational needs and the well-being of its employees. The data-driven recommendations can include the optimal placement of workstations and collaboration spaces to the ideal lighting and acoustic conditions. The result is an intelligent, adaptive office design that maximizes space efficiency and fosters a work environment conducive to innovation, productivity, and employee satisfaction.

The Future of Space Planning

The AI tasks reviewed in this article can all be performed through traditional analytic and design methods. However, AI can complete the work faster, enabling designers and space planners to hone in on the best options and focus on implementation. In my view, AI does not replace humans in the design process – it provides us with options that can better tailor space to our clients' needs.

AI's integration into space planning brings predictive analysis to the forefront, enabling organizations to anticipate and optimize space needs. AI helps identify underutilized spaces, making the most of available resources. 

As AI advances, it will redefine how we plan, manage, and adapt spaces, ensuring they remain responsive to evolving needs. The future of space planning is AI-driven, offering innovative solutions to create smarter, more adaptive work environments.

Tags: Space planning

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Lewis Morgan

Lewis Morgan

Lewis is a computer programmer and web developer with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He enjoys rugby, the beach, and hanging out with friends and family.

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