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Sandra Schmitke: Understanding How Spaces and Resources Are Being Utilised, Live and Over Time

MySeat provides IoT solutions to help real estate owners, designers, and workplace managers understand how spaces and resources are being utilised, live and over time. A series of sensors and an accompanying analytic dashboard to customise your data collection, depending on what questions you have for usages of your space, becomes a tool kit for decision making; optimise, recreate or renovate?

Tell us about yourself?

I am a certified interior designer and design educator as well as an early client of the MySeat product suite. As a space planner, I understand the relevance for data in order to make design and planning decisions, alongside our experienced design thinking + intuition.

The MySeat reporting was very informative as to what our users really craved, what they needed more of, what they didn’t need at all. Combined with user perception feedback, the analytics data helped us craft an optimised user experience.

I have joined MySeat as an advisory investor because I have always been an advocate of evidence based design and a fan of the technology and analytics, which prove useful every time, and I wanted to help the company shine!

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

If I knew how the pandemic would change our world of work (along with everything else), how it would accelerate the already-booming revolution of work, I would have spent more time collecting data from fully occupied pre-pandemic spaces to have a larger databank of case studies to pull from!

What problem does your business solve?

Our business solves the questions “Which resources in our spaces are really utilised and worth the investment? Which resources are underappreciated and why?” But also, “Which conference room should I use tomorrow?”

Using IoT and data analytics, MySeat answers whatever questions you have about the performance of your spaces.

Not only spaces that are dedicated to individual work but also collaborative resources such as meeting rooms and collaborative lounges, cafeterias, fitness centres, relaxation spaces.. We have worked with workplace managers who want to monitor social spaces such as gyms, health consultancy rooms, game lounges, and relaxation spaces etc.

In the new hybrid work formula, these resources are a huge draw for employees to return to the office. Data collection throughout the shared spaces is also a good indicator of employee engagement.

We also have a mobile app, where people can pick a destination, plan a visit, and remotely book desks, rooms or any other amenities mapped by the system.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

We are using the internet for everything now, and furniture should certainly be connected too. Today is all about the user experience, and by collecting data on (always anonymous) users’ interactions with assets made available to them, we can paint a picture of the daily / weekly / monthly life of a space.

What is in high demand with your teams, and which are the unused corners? How do they occupy the square footage you plan or renovate or manage?

What is your magic sauce?

We use individual accelerometers to measure interactions with objects, connected wirelessly. All anonymous, there is no personal data whatsoever. We attach the sensor to a piece of furniture in your indoor space, then we set up the project floor plan on our interactive dashboard maps. Final step, we customise the way you would like to see the data reported. And you’re off! The dashboard is interactive and fully customizable, displaying reports as per your chosen parameters, as many modules as you need to track. The flexibility and possibilities are endless. Really.

Oh and we also have Environment Sensors, our Ambisense sensor which collects data on temperature, noise levels, and air quality. There’s a whole other story to a space in it’s environmental conditions

At MySeat we do not really worry much about competition. Our main competitive advantage remains innovation. Over the last 5 years, we have proven that collecting data on furniture addresses a wide range of applications and services a variety of business needs. For instance, none of the competitions seems to offer solutions to support remote workers to face the most important WFH challenge : Wellness; and employees abilities remain flexible and access the resources they need when they need them.

MySeat truly capitalises on innovation. Creating new features for the workplace analytic platform but also finding new ways to deliver a tangible value to its corporate clients and their people. Despite that, our detection method is now officially patented in different countries, and we have the desire to submit more new patent applications that solves major challenges for IoT data measurement, storage and accessibility.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Facility managers, now more than ever, require advanced analytical tools in order to build attractive & efficient work environments. They need to monitor, understand, and maximise their space utilisation, while facilitating resource sharing and collaboration.

Thanks to a combination of IoT sensors, web analytic tools, and mobile apps, MySeat will be the decision-making platform of choice for workspace planning and management around the globe.
The workplace analytics market is 5.4B$ as of today (https://memoori.com/portfolio/the-internet-of-things-in-smart-commercial-buildings-2020-to-2025/), and we are well equipped to capture a decent portion of it. Welcome to the Office of the Future!

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The pandemic has disrupted the workplace industry, so we had to spend lots of time with the team refining our strategic planning and pivot around existing products and services to serve in new and more interesting ways.

Also the supply chain breakdowns. We had clients requesting tens of thousands sensors, which is a good problem, but still … how do you answer that within a limited opportunity window?

As any start up, we have all the willingness and work ethic to succeed, but always hoping for strong financial support to deliver the magic!

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We want to grow our community of :

Space Planners, Interior Designers and Architects, Facility Managers, Commercial Real Estate Brokers. We simply offer them an turnkey solution to assist with their job every day.

If you are one of them, or an end user office manager who are questioning their workspace project, get in touch at : [email protected], and we will help you out!

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