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What's the Benefits of a Big Brother Approach?

17 July 2017 | Updated 01 January 1970

What is indoor positioning?

An indoor positioning system (IPS) is a system that enables companies to locate objects and people inside a building or an office using radio waves, acoustic signals or other sensory information collected by mobile devices.

A common way for an indoor positioning setup at offices, involves implementing Wi-Fi or Bluetooth beacons in conference rooms or at desks. In combination, internal sensors in smartphones are used to feed information about the owners’ location.

Indoor positioning systems are mainly used at large offices with a high flow of employees and number of meeting rooms. An IPS aims to make everyday life easier for employees, in terms of finding fellow colleagues or suitable workplaces and equipment, such as desks or printers.


Why should employees use indoor positioning?

Companies are becoming more mobile in their way of working, which rubs off on the employees that spend less and less time at their desks. In large mobile offices, finding each other can therefore be challenging.

An indoor positioning system, communicates the location of each colleague. By using a system such as Flowscape, employees become searchable through a smartphone app, or on a billboard that displays the office and its employees in real time. This saves time - time that the employees can spend on their actual work tasks.


Reserve desks or rooms

By using indoor positioning, employees get a complete overview of the location and availability status of rooms and desks in the office. On  Flowmap, employees can spot available rooms by a green colour, and booked rooms by red. With a click on the smartphone or the billboard a suitable workplace is booked instantly. By reserving desks, employees do not have to worry about losing their seat if they are going to a quick meeting or lunch.



Imagine that you are new to an office, or that you have booked a meeting room without knowing where it is. One option is to ask your colleagues for directions, another is to simply search for it yourself. With indoor positioning however, the wayfinding feature directs employees to equipment, desks, rooms or colleagues in a large office with several floors. It is easy to use and works exactly like a GPS.


Statistics to optimise office

The system gathers the flow of how staff are moving around the office, which zones that are most popular or unpopular and what desks or rooms that are being booked the most. This data is displayed in graphs and heatmaps, simplifying the facility manager’s job to optimize the office in terms of the employees' behavior and desires. Read our article about Flowmanager that explains how statistics can help you to optimize the office.

On the Flowmap employees can book rooms or desks, and search for their colleagues


Does it jeopardise employee’s personal integrity?

An indoor positioning system generates real-time updates of employees' location, which might feel scary for some. If the employees feel like they are being monitored, it might trigger them to stop sharing their positions. Flowscape has therefore implemented a few measures in the system that prevents this from happening.


Non-traceable data

The system cannot track unique employees or their movements around the office. Rather, indoor positioning systems aim to track the total activity. The data is stored anonymously in a protected database, from which reports only can be generated on an aggregated level.


Non-monitored zones

To protect the employees’ personal integrity, companies can select zones in the office where the positioning is not activated. On default, employees’ positions always disappears as soon as they enter a bathroom.


Invisible mood

An IPS should give employees the possibility to become invisible whenever wanting to work undisturbed. In Flowscape's system an invisible mode is the default setting in each person’s app. The employee can at all times decide to make him or her visible on the map by changing the mode in the app.

Picture: Indoor positioning makes it possible to optimise the office. But it is also an useful tool that helps employees to easier find each other, equipment and work stations

Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 17 July 2017


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