Digitally Enabled and Collaborative Workspace of the Future

“It is the long history of humankind that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed” – Charles Darwin

With the onset of activity based/ agile working and the sudden boom in the start-up industry, flexible work-spaces have emerged as one of the key growth drivers in the history of workplace evolution. Co-working has now become a feasible and an economical alternative to the conventional employer’s office with the real-estate industry witnessing an exponential increase in the renting and leasing of shared workspaces.

The future of workplace – shared, flexible and reliable

The latest global statistics by leading global market watchers give us a view about the rapid proliferation and expansion of the flexible market space.

According to Global Co-working Unconference Conference (GCUC) , 2017 forecast for co-working spaces, the year-end projection for 2019 touches at 21, 306 co-working spaces which in itself is a big leap from 7,805 co-working spaces back in 2015 (GCUC, 2017). Adding to this exponential rise is the prediction of this market further growing by 43% between 2019 – 2022.1

It is interesting to note that the co-working space sector is generally made up of new spaces (brand-new businesses), expansions (companies opening their second location or more) and chains (large co-working chains and franchises). A study from a leading co-working research publication indicates nearly 65% of all new co-working spaces every year is attributable to new businesses (CoWorking Resources, 2019).2

This suggests that the key driving factor for growth is from first time market entrants. With over 50% of millennials joining the work-force by 2020 (pwc)3, constituting almost half the workforce, demand for more immersive, accessible, interactive and automated work-space is inevitable.

Technology turns co-working into smart spaces

Smart Space, is an innovative model, that caters to the increase in demand of shared workplace by leveraging technology to build and deliver cutting-edge solutions for users working across virtual, physical and connected environments. Co-working and smart spaces are two sides of the same coin. Smart spaces encompass of people, processes, services and things strongly integrated with technologies like, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) to co-exist in a flexible workplace across the globe.

According to the latest market reports published by Markets and Markets, the expected market growth for Smart Spaces is forecasted at a CAGR of 18.5% leading to USD 19,802 million by 2024 from USD 8,465 million in 2019.4 Smart spaces is expanding beyond the traditional office building into smart offices in airports, cafes, sports stadiums, shopping complexes and malls to name a few.

With major IT services companies offering digital capabilities to this rapidly growing smart space sector, let us understand how technology is a key enabler in the co-working space:

ADigitally Enabled and Collaborative Workspace of the Future

IoT and green building initiatives are major contributors to the smart space revolution. Environmental concerns, are becoming the corner stone for creating differentiation in the related services and offerings. IoT is transforming every aspect of an office building/ space spanning from its construction, habitation to its management. Projections from a recent research department (Statista, 2016)shows a five-fold increase in the global base of installed IoT devices amounting to 75.44 billion devices by 2025 from 15.4 billion in 2015.5

It is quintessential for any organization opting for co-working spaces, to make their workplaces IoT-enabled. This would essentially cover technological amenities such as – access control, augmented workplace environment, telepresence, to name a few.

The IT solutions in the co-working space aim to create customer value, provide branding of space and increase attractiveness of commercial assets and can be categorized as per the basic amenities shown in the figure.

Digitally Enabled and Collaborative Workspace of the Future

Security & access control

Providing a secured environment to customers brings one of the highest customer value. A less cumbersome system with more convenience, scalability and minimalistic intervention can now be attained with various service providers, for e.g., Kisi (Modern Cloud-Based Access Control System, n.d.), a key-less access control system on cloud which enables direct communication between entry and exit doors using smart biometrics with an access control panel accessible over mobile phones, delivers a bird’s-eye view of the complete workspace.

Smart energy & waste management

Energy utilization and conservation are universal concerns. Smart space builders and service providers have well adopted energy conserving methods using smart technologies (Motion sensor technology, remote dashboard control with real-time alerts to detect faulty electrical equipment, etc.), to achieve cost saving goals and positive ROI on IoT investments.

There are many service providers who are actively contributing in smart energy technology implementation in smart-spaces, such as Smartoes (How it Works, n.d.)6 with its patented products providing simple solutions in identifying potential sources of energy waste and enabling automatic shut-off for idle devices and during least productive and occupied durations along with inculcating energy-saving etiquettes amongst its customers.

Space management & automation controls

Automated dashboard controls are now available to address the challenges faced by facility managers when it comes to operations and serviceability, that eases their job by helping them analyze performance and improve their reflexes while interacting with buildings. One such solution is designed by 75F system (75F How it Works, n.d.)7 which aims in increasing operational efficiency and enhance occupant experience. Their products like 75F Facilisight, 75F Smart Stat proactively predict anomalies which might go undetected and help in saving time and effort in maintaining all possible facilities within the workspace.

Flexible leasing and procurement services

Property owners can make use of smarter technology with complete flexibility of accessing multiple payment methods from any mobile device, which makes the process of leasing and renting out spaces convenient and less time consuming. Various software solutions are available to provide seamless rental solutions catering specifically to the co-working spaces leasing requirements. Domuso (Domuso Technology Forward, n.d.)8 provides rent payment and management technology platform with 100% electronic capture of property’s all receivables.

Customer care and recreational services

With this current surge in co-working space utilization, it becomes imperative to recognize the need for including recreational services for its customers. Providing customized mobile applications and connected devices to push online notifications to stay connected with co-working community and access various services being offered in these spaces is a smart approach to maintaining and attracting more business. Various organizations are now rendering services such as flexible booking system, food and beverage ordering systems and outlets, subscription for office supplies, recreational classes and events along with its smart spaces for customers to enjoy an end-to-end experience at their workplace.

Infosys’ role in the future of smart space

Infosys has realized the significance of IoT in building the future of smart spaces at the outset, and has embarked on providing comprehensive end-to-end solutions to our customers with physical spaces and assets, and to facility operation organizations. We cover a vast span of services ranging from consulting and advisory to cloud/on-premise data center infrastructure with collaboration from IoT expertise from our existing service lines.

At Infosys, our Enterprise Asset Management practice has provided holistic solutions towards every stage of optimal life cycle management of physical assets in client organizations with implementation services in Facilities & Real Estate Management. The next phase is to adopt Natural Language processing (NLP) integrated with IoT solutions in order to help our customers with industry specific assessment for such implementations. With our strong partner eco-system in place, we look forward to driving the smart asset management space across industries in terms of creating new business models, industry disruptions and providing smarter opportunities to our customers to excel in this digital world.

1 GCUC. (2017)
2 CoWorking Resources. (2019).
3 pwc. (n.d.). Millennials at work Reshaping the workplace.
4 Market Watch. (2019).
5 Statista. (2016).
6 How it Works. (n.d.).
7 75F How it Works. (n.d.).
8 Domuso Technology Forward. (n.d.).