The need for occupancy management was realized on a greater scale during COVID, and increasingly businesses are leveraging occupancy management systems to achieve a wide range of benefits, such as:
- Accurate, real-time accounts of inside occupancy
- Optimized staffing hours
- Better management of environmental conditions
- and more
In this article, we’ll take a close look at occupancy management technology, examining the benefits, exploring some use cases, and covering evaluation criteria — how to get started with occupancy management.
What is occupancy management technology?
An occupancy management system uses sensor technology to give highly accurate insight into occupancy in the physical space. This can include customers, employees, passengers, attendees, anyone entering, exiting and spending time inside and outside the building.
Occupancy management technology is often paired with IoT devices, such as 3D cameras, and infrared sensors, to collect, measure and ensure the accuracy of occupancy data. This data can be used in real-time, or as a critical datapoint to analyze store operations.
When paired with digital signage solutions in real-time, the benefit of occupancy management is extended to clearly communicate with visitors and consumers. This can include messages of safety, occupancy limits, wait times and in-store health safety protocols, helping to increase brand trust and put shoppers at ease. In these use cases, displays often communicate occupancy and health messaging alongside promotional messaging.
Stores with occupancy management systems also aggregate and analyze the data to optimize efficiency and customer experience throughout the store, business or venue.
Why use occupancy management technology? What does it solve?
There are many challenges that occupancy management technology can solve in both the short and long term. For example, today businesses face obstacles when adhering to inside social-distancing guidelines and indoor capacity limitations. But businesses have always struggled to manage customer flow with operational efficiency. Occupancy management systems can be used to deliver real-time updates to managerial staff, giving leaders the lead time they need to manage queues and ensure a seamless experience.
Benefits of Real-Time and Historical Occupancy Data
Earlier we broke out the benefits of occupancy management into two camps: real-time management and data analysis. You can also look at these two uses as strategy and tactics. Real-time data allows your stores to respond tactically as occupancy rises and falls. Stores can set automated alerts to notify key roles as certain thresholds or reached. This allows prompt, decisive tactics, such as denying entry, or repositioning employees accordingly.
Strategically, leaders compare occupancy data with sales, inventory, Marketing and other operational data to help understand how their actions are influencing results. Sales data alone is not an accurate feedback mechanism; occupancy data provides a more comprehensive picture.
- Automated occupancy count — One of the major, straightforward benefits of deploying occupancy management technology.
- Real-time data accuracy — Knows a highly accurate occupancy number at any given time, in real-time. When tied to a digital signage system or employee communication platform, updates can be clearly communicated.
- Mitigate labor challenges — When stores are short-staffed, they need to anticipate increased checkout activity, and occupancy data is a leading indicator.
- Occupancy planning — Digitizing a precise occupancy number allows leaders to anticipate traffic and compare with prior years.
- Data-driven insights — Are your Marketing campaigns effective at bringing in customers but not at securing the final sale? Point of Sale data is best when paired with occupancy data.
- Security and safety — Sensors alert businesses that the indoor capacity is at its maximum limits, and they can be paired with digital signage to communicate safety to customers and employees.
See how airports use Occupancy Management >
What should you look for when evaluating occupancy management systems?
While there are different marketplace vendors, not all occupancy management technology providers are the same. It’s vital you take the time to evaluate the solutions before selecting the right technology partner.
Here are the top 4 evaluation criteria.
- Understands your business, industry and needs — Select a technology partner who is going to work with you to understand your specific needs, challenges and goals. Define what success means to you and your business. Does the occupancy management technology provider have experience working with companies within your industry? Will they work with you over time to optimize your deployment and investment? Further, a solid technology company will be knowledgeable about extending the capability and effectiveness of your occupancy management system. Are they experienced with digital signage and integrations with communications platforms? These questions are important to ensure your investment is sound and ROI is high.
- Proven, trusted technology — Partner with a technology provider who has a proven track record, experience and expertise. Occupancy management technology is inherently tied to data, so choose a company that has powerful data processing and analytics. Many providers are sourcing components of the occupancy management system from many vendors, requiring you to juggle more aspects of your solution than necessary.
- Intuitive, integrated — You want to partner with a technology provider that has an advanced system that is easy to use for the end user. Are you able to view multiple data sources in a central view? Will you be able to flow occupancy data into your preferred visualization dashboard? How easy is it to integrate POS and other data sources with occupancy? Will your team easily adapt to the new technology or abandon it? A trusted technology partner will be well versed in getting your team up to speed and is your partner well beyond tech deployment.
- Scalability and future proofing — Getting started with a POC means your technology provider comes in with sensors and starts collecting data. The technology is optimized over time. As your project grows, you need an occupancy management system that will grow with you. And that requires a sound partner.
Partner with STRATACACHE to deploy a Walkbase TREQ solution for your business
The Occupancy Management component of Walkbase TREQ meets all the evaluation criteria and delivers more.
STRATACACHE’s in-store technology platform, Walkbase TREQ, offers businesses a holistic occupancy management technology solution to gain strategic and actionable insights about their physical space. It’s important you partner with an experienced occupancy management solution provider who has a solid knowledge of the technology space, understands your industry-specific challenges (and goals), and can help you scale with confidence.
The global pandemic augmented the focus on occupancy. While there are many point solution providers, you want to team up with a partner like STRATACACHE who has vested interest in working with you to optimize your space as well as the customer experience.
Businesses can measure occupancy without tying it back to digital signage, but your system becomes a communication platform when occupancy insights are tied to digital displays. Digital displays of any kind — large- or small-format or desktop or mobile devices— are the vehicle for communicating about occupancy to your consumers and employees. Furthermore, the more real-time insights on customers means more opportunities for content customization. STRATACACHE delivers the full solution from hardware (sensors + digital signs) to software, support, expertise and beyond.
Looking for more insights on how STRATACACHE can help your business with occupancy management technology?