The French automaker deploys sensors in 2,300 meeting rooms and 24,000 workstations to turn its offices into a digital workplace.
At Renault, IoT is not just connecting vehicles, it’s redefining workspaces as well. The French automaker, which sold part of Technocentre in Guyancourt – its research and development center at Yvelines – is benefiting from a reorganization to improve working environments and ensure it meets occupant expectations. An agreement on remote work was officially announced on June 18, supposed to allow the group to save money on its properties. The Internet of Things will be used in this context to tangibly estimate space occupation to manage remote work, scale of flexible office configurations, and generate ROI from buildings, particularly by optimizing their energy consumption.
The group has chosen to rely on Insiteo Solutions, a Toulouse publisher that specializes in improving work environments and providing digital services to residents, in operation since September 2020. Insiteo teams first drew on existing measurement sources in the technical building management (BMS) field to retrieve data. “We discovered that the bulbs deployed by Renault have the ability to detect presence thanks to the occupancy sensor that makes them light up,” says Matteo Mandagot, Director of Operations. Approximately 600 sensors connected to Renault’s LoRa network have been added to complement the hardware, for example carbon dioxide sensors to ensure air quality or parking sensors to manage locations in the car park, as well as a network of Bluetooth signals for internal geolocation. Two sites were prepared during the last quarter of 2020, and efforts in 2021 focused on the Technical Center and two other sites. In all, six locations in the Paris region will be equipped, ie 2,300 meeting rooms and 24,000 work stations on an area of 350,000 square metres.
When they return next September, employees will be provided with a mobile app provided by Insiteo to book their meeting room and check in real time their availability, what equipment is available inside, whether they have been cleaned and what the air quality is. Service providers (maintenance, cleaning, etc.) will also have their own applications to manage their business, geolocation of equipment, or directing them to the place of their intervention. Just like visitors, who at Technocentre can be guided to their meeting place using 3D maps.
This big project mobilized only three people on the part of Renault. “The only difficulty with this type of project is that it involves several departments that do not talk to each other. In general, this slows down deployments. Fortunately, at Renault, the departments agreed immediately”, says Georges-Etienne Madamet, Commercial Director company on site. Technically, it is also necessary for the publisher to clearly define the naming rules in order to create geolocation maps.
Bring new services and comfort
On the user side, the main questions from Insiteo customers are related to the acceptance of Flex Desk. “A lot of people are worried about how to escalate if they don’t have a land line (e.g. in case of a computer problem, editor’s note). Therefore care should be taken to facilitate such feedback on the mobile application. In addition, one of the keys to adopting a flexible office is the provision of convenience and additional services, with the creation of a concierge service “built back into the application,” Georges-Etienne Madamet quotes as an illustration, noting that if specifications are often limited at the start of the projects they support The return of about 30,000 Renault employees in September will allow adjustments to be made.
The cost of the project remains secret, Georges-Etienne Madamet recalls that it is necessary to take into account the subscription to the platform in SaaS mode and the deployment of sensors. ‘Platform cost size is 2 to 3% of significant rooftop savings.’ Equipment maintenance is provided by Insiteo in its device management services.
The health crisis has accelerated the transition to the flexible office. “Companies are realizing that the office must become a complement to working at home. So far, the space has been divided between 60% offices and 40% meeting rooms. Now when you go back to the office, it’s for meetings, and many September have set deadlines for the turnaround,” he asserts. Georges-Etienne Madamet, who has led projects at Bouygues Energie Services, Groupama and SNCF Fret.