The Little 4-Letter Word Your Customers Want Most

Awareness of the Internet of Things and its potential to track information on just about everything has customers actually excited about and clamoring for data.

Tom LeBlanc

I walked away from the podium at an AVI-SPL Technology Day, where I discussed ways in which the workplace is evolving with an audience of end users.

I had spent a lot of time talking about analytics and room utilization data that can potentially make it easier for IT directors and facilities managers to make decisions about the types of rooms, the size of rooms and technology to invest in while predicting better return on investments.

Within seconds I was immersed in the first in a series of several conversations that began with, “How do I get that?” or “I want that.”

There was a time not long ago when room utilization data smacked of desperation. Integrators so desperately wanted to figure out what it is they have that customers would pay for on a monthly basis so they can finally enter the managed service and recurring revenue realm.

Don’t get me wrong, providing room utilization data to customers has always been a good idea. The problem was that despite available energy dashboard solutions and tools for generating information on room usage, I frankly didn’t hear about a lot of firms actually doing it. Well, it’s time to start doing it.

Awareness of the Internet of Things and its potential to track information on just about everything has customers actually excited about and clamoring for room utilization data. Integrators are well-equipped to be providers of that valuable information.

Many exhibitors at InfoComm 2016 are focused on providing tools to facilitate gathering data on room usage as well as energy consumption. Meanwhile, Kramer Electronics, which unveiled its Kramer Control at the show, seems to have designed its new automation solution with room utilization data collection as a primary goal.

The solution leans on sensors or IoT capabilities to generate information on room usage. VP of marketing Clint Hoffman says some at Kramer feel it’s the most important benefit of Kramer Control.

“It literally captures everything that happens in the control aspect of your system 100 percent of the time automatically, and you can immediately get reports on it. We’ll have a dashboard that you can customize. You can instantly see whatever you want to see to make ROI decisions,” he says, adding that Kramer Control is an “inherent ROI machine.”

Back in 2013, Aaron McArdle of Normal, Ill.-based Zdi, told me that providing room utili-zation metrics will become an important role for integrators.

“If you can add to a conference room the ability to show how often the room is used and how many people are typically using it, the company can adjust accordingly. Say a company has 300 conference rooms, when they need to add space they can figure out if they can turn 70 of those spaces into offices. Or maybe utilization is so high they realize they need more in order to drive their bottom line.”

Three years ago that may have seemed esoteric and a little pie-in-the-sky, but thanks to widespread enthusiasm and awareness of IoT it has become an expectation in 2016. It’s no longer about room utilization data becoming important for integrators to provide, it’s now about the race to see which firms can provide it in the most valuable and user-friendly way.

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