How Spatial Representation Can Bring Density Data to Life

With higher education back on campus and employees returning (slowly) to offices and corporate campuses, we can look forward to a lot more human interaction. How much exactly remains to be seen though. How long will ‘hybrid” operations continue? Is contactless everything necessary? How cautious will people be returning to indoor spaces for extended periods?

For facilities and operations management professionals, the return of larger groups of people creates a whole new set of challenges related to crowd density and sanitation. And addressing them requires a lot more than counting people going in and out of the building. That’s a good start, but meeting expectations for space utilization will require more. They will also need to understand how people are moving about in and around the building to ensure safety and compliance. 


They say seeing is believing. Imagine a bird’s eye view of your building space with zoomed-in views of floor maps, and alerts and occupancy heatmaps to track overall crowd flow now and over time. This type of “crowd intelligence” can alert personnel to capacity issues, whether a space is getting too crowded, or an entire floor is at capacity. Knowing that a hotspot is forming is extremely powerful for facilities staff. Likewise, leveraging existing historical foot traffic in different spaces can inform space optimization and utilization strategies for the future. Looking back on how crowds move and evolve over time can help optimize staff: how much is needed and when. Sanitation schedules become smarter after seeing typical flow throughout a building, and security schedules can be more efficient after reviewing space use for events on the calendar. This intelligence can also help rethink corporate real estate usage, inform down-sizing or subletting decisions, and potentially save millions of dollars in building rental fees. 

Spatial representation of your entire venue is the best way to bring density metrics to life and get the most out of your space. It changes the narrative from what we think we know to what we actually know. It can come with surprises, too. For example, finding out that students are more likely to hit the library at 3 a.m. instead of 3 p.m., or that a weekly meeting has been drawing more people than the space allows. Actionable intelligence of this sort can alleviate resource-strapped teams, prove space optimization strategies, and enable low-involvement monitoring and easy incident response.  

And don’t be fooled into thinking that the challenges of crowds expire with COVID. The way we understand crowds and the decisions we make based on them is simply going to become more complex over time. 

The crowd intelligence enabled by spatial presentation provides a better understanding of how people are interacting with building spaces and moving through them. It provides actionable intelligence like real-time alerts for overcrowding and can predict traffic flow patterns at future dates based on historical data. It can also be deployed leveraging the existing security infrastructure already in place in most buildings today.

Facilities and operations managers and their partners in IT need the right tools to ensure safe and compliant use of buildings in the new normal. Spatial presentation and crowd intelligence can take the guesswork out of their decision-making and ensure a better and safer experience for all involved. 

About the Author

Ben Patterson is Senior Director of Engineering at Armored Things.

Three Considerations For Creating Flexible Architecture

Flexible architecture design allows buildings and spaces to evolve over time. As technology and the way we work shifts changes, the spaces we use need to keep up with changes or risk becoming obsolete. 

Facilities management, design, and architecture teams traditionally bucket flexible architecture into three categories: adaptability, transformability, and convertibility. But knowing when to adapt or entirely convert can be a guessing game without data-validated, full-venue transparency. 

Knowing when to adapt or entirely convert can be a guessing game without data-validated, full-venue transparency.


Adaptability is defined as the ability to change and evolve as needed. In a more spatial context, adaptability is a building’s ability to service a multitude of its occupant’s needs without altering the architecture. Some spatial adaptations are intuitive, a designer or office manager reconfigures desks to fit more seats. Room to grow has always equaled more space requirements. However, by adding capabilities to track room, floor, or area occupancy and harnessing machine learning tools, you can identify underutilized spaces which can inform and validate your redesign


Transformability, in a similar vein to adaptability, has to do with interior and exterior changes without the need for construction. Unlike adaptability, however, these changes have the potential to be permanent. Key components of a transformable structure include movability and responsiveness. Moveable objects, like fabric wall partitions, can be repositioned to better accommodate health guidelines, and increase efficiency. Responsive structures are able to react to external stimuli like the weather. Data and machine learning can help identify underused spaces and transform them into something useful. For example, your data may show a cafeteria is underused, prompting a redesign into a conference room in only a few steps.


Unlike its predecessors, convertibility involves constructing and altering the physical appearance of a building. Moreover, the changes are almost always permanent. This might include erecting a new building from a vacant lot on campus or converting a rooftop into a dining space. As these changes are costly and require heavy construction, validating decisions with dependable data will help stakeholders sign off on large-scale changes. 


When designing flexible workspaces, cross-departmental teams are envisioning not just the near future but the capacity for change. Full-venue transparency with data validation lets you see the spaces you manage in a whole new way. Space analytics software – which provides real-time occupancy data with historical overlays – helps you predict future utilization and design. 

Layering our Armored Things software over existing infrastructure turns data into actionable intelligence. Our software enhances decision-making for the reallocation of existing spaces and the construction of new ones. Armored Things AI and people counting software will only aid in ensuring a given space are being used to its fullest potential.

To learn more about how Armored Things helps facilities teams deliver on priorities like this, schedule time with one of our experts today.

4 Tips to Reshape the New Workplace

This summer several high-end tech companies – Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter to name a few – have pushed back their return to office dates, or paused until further notice. Google, one of the first companies to completely pull their employees from the workplace at the start of COVID, is pushing their return back to January 2022.

According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly 14% of 400 U.S. employers surveyed in late July and early August said they would or already do require all staff to be vaccinated in order to work in person. Mary Kay O’Neill, a partner in Mercer’s health business, told the Journal, “a number of companies who have taken a conservative line on this may feel that it’s time that they can make the mandate”.

Major tech companies aren’t the only ones suffering delays, as return-to-office plans continue to change with the spread of the Delta variant. Now, CIOs, Facilities Managers, and Corporate Realtors are left to figure out how to get back on track, even as new restrictions are coming down that vary from state to state. 


Armored Things is encouraging customers to focus on four areas of concentration for designing and understanding their new corporate reopening strategies. 

  1. Space optimization. Optimizing your workplace should be an immediate priority for facility managers, who should continue to familiarize themselves with space management terminology. Physically, incorporating a new layout strategy to minimize close contact and make the most of new employee schedules will help things flow more smoothly. Evaluating underutilized spaces will help optimise the workplace from an efficiency standpoint. 
  2. Reporting. It would be hard to deliver on the top priority-optimization without being able to see results and reports quickly. The ability to surface critical data will inform space redesign in the workplace. Real-time data can be viewed in historical context for help identifying trouble spots and making informed decisions when it comes to assessing and redesigning the workplace.
  3. New Leasing Goals. Informed leasing decisions should also be an area of focus; using data, facility managers should consider the type and amount of real estate required by their company both at this point in time, and for the future.
  4. Crowd analysis. Finally, we strongly encourage customers to remember the power of knowing the number of people in offices and on campuses at any one time. Knowing how many people are using different spaces in real time can help manage overcrowding and minimize risk. 

To learn more about how Armored Things helps facilities teams deliver on priorities like this, schedule time with one of our experts today.

Armored Things uses AI and machine learning to manage crowds, foot traffic, and wait times throughout professional sports venues, higher education institutions, and corporate campuses.