Deferred Maintenance: Costly, Risky, and Common

Deferring maintenance and repairs may appear to save corporations and organizations money in the short term, but the long-term costs are significant and disruptive, even resulting in complete shutdowns of facilities. 

Strategic Space Planning teams need to know the risks and consequences associated with delaying building repairs, and that starts with understanding the basics of deferred maintenance. 

How costly is it? In a recent Higher Ed Facilities Forum article, the University of Missouri announced that they’re reducing their campus size by one million square feet due to an $881 billion backlog in deferred maintenance. That price tag was part of the university’s motivation to shrink its footprint. 

The University of Missouri announced that they’re reducing their campus size by one million square feet due to a $881 billion blacklog in deferred maintenance.



Deferred maintenance can be described as the postponement of building maintenance and repairs from an organization’s normal operating budget cycle in order to save money. Although deferring maintenance may seem like a feasible cost-saving practice, months and even years of neglecting building repairs can result in significantly greater costs and damage in the long term. Additionally, the collective cost of maintaining facilities greatly impacts an organization’s overall budget, especially as the building ages. To make this even more complicated, Facilities.Net reports that many budgets for new construction rarely include the ongoing costs for maintenance. 


One of the main reasons for deferring building maintenance is inadequate funding. Facilities managers may not be aware of all the duties and money that are required to properly maintain building assets. Additionally, they may not take into account the expenses of deferred maintenance when creating budgets. Another cause of deferred maintenance is insufficient staffing. When understaffed, there aren’t enough technicians to address every maintenance issue that emerges. 

Overall, deferred maintenance occurs when facilities management teams don’t enforce regularly scheduled maintenance repairs and improvements. These include periodic adjustments, cleanings, and parts replacements that ensure that equipment is up to code and reduces the chances of its failure.

Then, there’s the relocation and placement of people. One of the big reasons operational teams wait to close buildings is because they would be faced with relocating building occupants. How do you continue operations when a building is shut down for maintenance or repairs? Space Planning teams would be forced to find new places for employees to work or new areas for students to learn while facilities are under construction or repair. 


When a repair is delayed, properties are still used and, yes, abused by employees or students every day. This can cause a minor repair to turn into a complete replacement or even collateral damage. An organization will have to pay for fixing the original repair, but they will also have to pay for replacing all other assets damaged due to the delayed maintenance. This means that managers can lose access to multiple facilities while materials are ordered and assets are repaired, another additional cost. ​​Reactive maintenance, sometimes called corrective maintenance, is an obvious problem. Allowing facility or system fixes to linger until they are urgent can mean major disruptions during peak occupancy periods. 

Along with the disruptions, when the asset controls the timing of its repair or replacement, costs will always be exponentially higher. Studies have shown that for every dollar saved by deferring building maintenance, there comes a four-dollar increase in future capital renewal costs

Deferred maintenance can pose physical risks – from air quality to water damage and aging exteriors. Indeed, in a 2022 Higher Ed Facilities Forum (HEFF) article titled 10 Trends That Will Reshape Facilities Managementcondition-based maintenance – proactive not reactive – tops the list. 


If Space Planning teams can understand where space is underutilized, then they can reassign and relocate employees and students, and get creative with multi-purpose space. By tracking space utilization, these operational teams can deliver data for solving space disputes, and bring long-term operational plans to the C-suite.

At Armored Things, we help higher education and corporate campuses like the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Boston Scientific make decisions by delivering deep insights about how and when to make repairs and routine maintenance. Using space analytics, we are able to aid Space Planners in making data-driven decisions by showing them where underutilized spaces exist based on usage over time.  

Want to learn more about Armored Things Space Analytics Solution? You can visit our website or reach out directly to for a quick demo. 

To learn more about Space Planning teams, read our Spotlight on Higher Education Space Planning Teams blog.

Alex Trotto contributes to the Blog and Social Media channels for Armored Things. She is currently a Northeastern University student in her sophomore year.

CRE Leaders: From The Back Office To The Front Pages

Long underserved by the technology sector and sometimes sidelined by corporate leadership, Corporate Real Estate (CRE) leaders have now been thrust into the spotlight, moved into a role that connects office reopening decisions to employee satisfaction and long-term success.

The role of the CRE Management team is evolving – and fast.

At a recent Armored Things-sponsored Fireside Chat, CRE veteran and Armored Things advisor Robert Teed talked with Madhu Chamarty about what he’s seeing on the front lines. CRE leaders have gone “from the back office to the front pages,” according to Teed, and are faced with constant offerings from technology vendors who want to reshape the reopening process. It can be hard to sort out which ones are a good match for the long run.


In the last two years, CRE leaders have risen to the occasion – and are more strategic when it comes to workforce planning. “We’re seeing organizations embrace a more continuous approach versus a point-in-time approach to revisiting their real estate portfolio – and revisiting their headcount needs,” Madhu explained.

“We’re seeing organizations embrace a more continuous approach versus a point-in-time approach to revisiting their real estate portfolio – and revisiting their headcount needs.”


To get smarter with the ways organizations are using their spaces, CRE teams are creating strengthening alignments with HR teams. Strategic CRE leaders have a continuous pulse on talent trends across the country, not only for the purposes of space planning but for new opportunities to create opportunities to attract a wider and more diverse talent pool. 


The pandemic has created what Teed called “a gold rush effect”  for the world of workplace technology. That is, workplace reopening technologies are increasing in numbers and types.

“We went from this kind of dearth of technology to this overabundance,” Teed said.

At the start of the pandemic, it was critical to make smart software product choices to allow for cross-functional collaboration which is essential for a distributed workforce. But as employees trickle back into offices, space planning technologies that track occupancy are top of mind as CRE leaders look to design flexible, dynamic spaces.


As many CRE leaders strategize for spring and summer return-to-office plans, there’s a new vocabulary needed. An obvious start is ‘return-to-office’ rather than “return to work” – a nod to the fact that employees have been hard at work at home – sometimes working even longer hours with now boundaries between home and office.

Many corporations have been throwing around the words “remote” and “hybrid” – even using them interchangeably, said Teed. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to decipher what the idea of flexibility means anymore -and the truth is – it can mean something different for every company.

According to Chamarty, how an organization defines flexibility is dependent on two things: the  size of the company and its overall objective.

“Flexibility means how we enable some level of working from home. But also how do we make the workplace safer, more productive, and more conducive to things that you cannot do at home,” Madhu said.

“Flexibility means how do we enable some level of working from home. But also how do we make the workplace safer, more productive, and more conducive to things that you cannot do at home.”


For now, Teed encouraged CRE leaders to take time to explore their own space needs in a way that makes the most of the spaces CRE leaders manage – knowing the pressure is on CRE leaders to rely on hard data when renewing leases and spaces.

To watch Teed’s and Chamarty’s full conversation, click here

Here’s where you can learn more about how utilization software can help corporate real estate leaders reshape their offices.

Alex Trotto contributes to the Blog and Social Media channels for Armored Things. She is currently a Northeastern University student in her sophomore year.

6 Things Facilities Directors Will Tackle In 2022

Directors of facilities are no strangers to the many struggles and responsibilities that come with their job titles, but the pandemic has introduced entirely new challenges. Already a member of upper management, their strategic outlook is now vital to successful return-to-office strategies. 

On top of their pre-pandemic responsibilities, facility professionals have to figure out how to create a safe and collaborative work environment, one that encourages employees to return to the office. It can be hard to limit a Facilities Director to-do list to just a few, but here’s our take on the top 6. 


Sustainability isn’t anything new for facilities directors, who are trained to think about everything from eco-friendly supplies to whether to expand corporate footprints.  A lot of that falls into the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) bucket, and the pandemic highlighted the importance of measuring environmental impact at every turn. High-performance buildings are often talked about in terms of energy and water efficiency, high-quality indoor environments, and conservative resource use. Some estimates say sustainability efforts can improve operating profits by up to 60%. And a focus on sustainability is appealing when it comes to softer ROI numbers since consumers and potential employees often prioritize sustainability, and want to buy from and work for companies that do as well. 


Hot desking has gained traction throughout the pandemic as a way for employers to reopen with less corporate space, or in newer spaces.  Although offices are beginning to fully reopen, hybrid office schedules – with employees in the office 2-3 days a week – are increasingly popular. So how are facility directors expected to support and navigate this new way of working? 

Many facilities directors utilize schedulers to allow employees to reserve desks ahead of time on a first-come, first-serve basis, and hot-desking and hoteling software is on the rise. But both of these rely on employees and collaborative teams utilizing their reserved spaces – that is, following through on their vision to bring teams in on certain days. The challenge lies in invalidating those occupancy requests and determining the number of desks and spaces needed over time. 


The post-pandemic hybrid work model has transformed how offices function. Facilities directors need a better understanding of which spaces are actually occupied and how to create a work environment that provides employees a sense of belonging and ownership. Creating occupancy reports using space utilization software is one way to do this. Occupancy analytics can help these directors determine employee density in existing spaces and decide whether office spaces are underutilized or not. These analytics can also integrate with other scheduling and collaboration tools to aid with any other space-related decisions. 


The pandemic has completely altered the way that people think about their office cleaning crews.  Facilities managers have to prioritize more thorough and oftentimes more frequent cleaning crews. The ability to communicate to workers that office spaces are professionally cleaned on a regular schedule is crucial if facility directors want to be able to persuade employees to come back to work. Most employees will be expecting to see communications around cleaning vs disinfecting and will want to know when a space was last cleaned. This can help with return-to-office choices, and help employees feel safer. 


Those of us who aren’t managing facilities don’t always fully understand how much goes into properly maintaining an office building, including how much budget needs to be assigned. These misconceptions can lead to maintenance repairs being deferred. 

Deferring maintenance changes the process from a proactive one to a reactive one. Reactive maintenance means the asset itself picking the time when it needs emergency service or total replacement. This can cause disruptions during peak occupancy hours or even a complete shutdown of the facility. Studies have shown that on average, for every dollar “saved” by deferring proper maintenance, there can be a four-dollar increase in future repair costs.  Today many facilities departments are at risk for deferred maintenance due to indecision about how and whether companies are reopening.


Offices have been left with a lot of underutilized space and less than enthusiastic employees due to the hybrid work model, so facilities directors must get creative in order to solve both issues. One way to do this is by designing flex spaces. 

Flex spaces involve creating spaces that are multi-purpose. Many businesses are replacing desks with couches and televisions in conference rooms to create more welcoming and inspiring spaces. This can help facility directors redesign the office to become a more efficient and collaborative space, subsequently boosting employee morale. Instead of separating different teams on various floors, creating flex spaces can unite teams and allow them to work more collaboratively in the office. 

In redesigning the new office space, the goal for employers is to create flexibility without adding any unnecessary space. Flex spaces are able to foster collaboration between teams while also utilizing rooms that would otherwise be left unoccupied. 

To learn more about how Armored Things is helping CRE leaders make the most of their spaces, check out our CRE Guide or reach out directly to for a quick demo.

Alex Trotto contributes to the Blog and Social Media channels for Armored Things. She is currently a Northeastern University student in her sophomore year.

Return To Office Means Rethinking Space Management

Corporations are facing the twofold challenge of having to reshape both physical offices and employee attitudes as they work to design return-to-office plans and satisfy a reluctant workforce. The challenge for the CRE industry is real – how to design for flexibility without adding more premium space that may sit unused most of the time.

In most office buildings, predicting occupancy is still an enormous obstacle. At the close of last year, 73% of full-time U.S. workers were going into the office at least once a week. This means a vast mix of employees are working remotely and in the office. And the Great Resignation – a phenomenon that describes record numbers of people leaving their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic – means HR and executive leadership teams are working overtime to bridge the gap between employee satisfaction and a return-to-office norm. 


Accenture’s Market Leader Gabe Burke highlighted the need for corporate real estate restructuring in a recent LinkedIn article. “It is clear that if those in the C-suite knew then what they know now, they would have immediately begun to reduce their real estate assets,” Burke writes, in a post titled Corporate real estate has become a black hole that devours money. Time to fix it.  

Now corporations need to reduce their office space or restructure it to accommodate a workforce that many predict will not return to a 5-day office presence soon or ever. Most workplace strategy experts agree that office design should change, which further decreases the value of holding empty space,” writes Burke.

Underutilization has always been a costly issue in corporate real estate.  According to JLL research, nearly 40% of workspaces in CRE portfolios are underutilized in a typical workday in the U.S.  That statistic was quoted prior to the pandemic, and it’s one that strategic planners and facility managers know can be hard to budge.


But cutting backspace can mean less inviting spaces and be caught off guard later.  In the first-quarter AICPA Economic Outlook Survey, 72% of business executives said that their organizations have no interest in shrinking their office footprint because they don’t want to risk needing that vacant space down the road.

Many corporations are already getting creative, turning unused conference rooms into new common areas for employees, for example. Brent Hyder, President and Chief People Officer of Salesforce, told The Wall Street Journal in an article discussing corporations’ plans to renovate office spaces titled After Covid Closures, a New Quest to Make Offices Less Awful that Salesforce is clearing desks from vacant conference rooms and replacing them with couches and televisions to create spaces for teams to collaborate.

“We’re creating spaces so that, when our teams come together, they have a place that’s inspiring to them,” Hyder told the Journal.


To better understand which spaces are actually being used and to deliver the work environments that provide employees a sense of belonging and ownership, many corporate leaders are searching for ways to create occupancy reports, see predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Space analytics software from Armored Things leverages existing WiFi, cameras, badge systems, sensors – any available data sources – to manage and monitor occupancy. When using Armored Things software, operations teams can visualize their space in a format that can be easily understood, and apply historical overlays to see predictive use cases. This type of machine learning or occupancy analytics is helping CRE customers find more value in existing spaces. Workspace analytics can also integrate with other scheduling and collaboration tools to help validate space decisions.

To learn more about how Armored Things is helping CRE leaders make the most of their spaces, check out our CRE Guide or reach out directly to for a quick demo.

Occupancy vs. Capacity: What Should You Be Tracking?

Are you selling your venue short by reporting only sell-out flatline metrics? Understanding the core differences between occupancy and capacity tracking can impact not only your food and beverage revenue but the value of sponsorship advertisements. 

There’s nothing more appealing than a sold-out event. It’s the epitome of success for sports and entertainment venues as it indicates high volumes of on-premise foot traffic. For venue managers, it’s also a flag that indicates the level of staff required to be on-site, inventory management, and the value of your advertisement placements.

 For a long time, we’ve understood capacity – how many we can fit – and occupancy – how many showed up for the game as clear indicators of success. It seems simple enough, but the advent of machine learning brings deeper insights through visualizations and predictive analytics that have the power to accelerate enhancements of the fan experience.

 So, exactly what happens when you look at occupancy data throughout the entire event to surface deeper insights? The next era of stadium technology is ushering in data like:

●      Peak periods of occupancy on the concourse throughout the duration of the event

●      Total concourse foot traffic patterns and the impact of opening two hours before a major event

●      Empty craft beer patios coinciding with long lines at higher-priced stations.

These are the types of data points the Milwaukee Bucks examined at Fiserv Forum during the 2021 NBA Championship series. With the benefits of AI and machine learning, we are able to surface deep insights that drive decision-making around fan experience and sponsor engagement.

Here’s an example: a sold-out, game three, NBA Championship event at x stadium has a maximum capacity of 18,000 seats. That’s 18,000 people with buying power. Each of those people will enter and exit the stadium through the main concourse.


During a championship basketball game, space analytics software captured a total of 90,000 visits to the concourse in six hours  five times the number of seats available for attendance. How could that be? Well, as a visitor enjoys the entire experience, they move through the concourse on their way to the shops, bathrooms and concession stands several times. When analyzed in comparison to other types of events, the total occupancy through your concourse figures can reveal and predict concession ROI.

Surfacing this number is more valuable to sponsors in understanding the true exposure to their brand. Sponsors understand the value of volume when it comes to ad placement and are willing to maximize their spend. Surfacing capacity instead of occupancy figures provides just a fragment of the total impressions available. Understanding the difference between these metrics is paramount; if there is any hesitancy towards these terms, or there’s relating to space occupancy, check out our definitions blog. Ultimately, this can validate ad spend to sponsors and partners by offering reports with accurate brand exposure and providing them with validation benchmarks for owners.


Venue operators and managers have historically run successful live events using occupancy as a percentage of capacity (how many arrived vs how many seats were available) as a main data point. That value is still a great way to kick-off event management but as the fan experience evolves, meeting the needs of venue attendees will too. In today’s world, point-of-sale is your smartphone, grab-and-go food and beverage kiosks are a norm, and the speed of gratification is ever-accelerating. A birds-eye view of space utilization can tell you how to map out your venue to optimize traffic flows, validated by historical data and predictive analytics.

When architects and design teams visualize space, they assume traffic patterns based on blueprints and design for efficacy around those assumptions. When we verify those hypothetical movements and fan behaviors through data, we are able to better optimize bottlenecks, address point-of-sale performance, or redirect movement for better flow – i.e., getting more people through lines faster – and ultimately improving the fan experience.

With dashboards that visualize your entire arena, spatial planning and optimization is more easily understood by everyone at your facility. Back-of-the-house crews can use alerting features to identify bottlenecks and re-route traffic, cleaning facilities can become more efficient, and apps can surface queuing needs to attendees. Executives, operations managers, marketing teams, and financial analysts can strategize optimal ad placements and sponsorship tiers, validate costly redesigns, and project F&B revenue more accurately.

About the Author

Madelaine Moeke is Director of Insights & Analytics at Armored Things, a company specializing in space analytics and crowd intelligence. She has been working in the sports industry for over a decade with a focus on turning raw data into actionable insights that drive everything from food and beverage sales to improving the fan experience. Her immersion in the sports venue management industry is helping premium entertainment venues redefine the next generation of live events.

Workspace Analytics Is Critical For Hybrid Work

Data indicates that organizations plan to continue a hybrid work model for the near term. Mercer survey last May found 70% of companies said a blend of in-person and remote working will be the new normal.

But this hybrid model will also place greater onus on employers and facility managers to provide a healthy and safe working environment when employees are in the office.

That’s a tall order when 52% of employers said that they are only “somewhat prepared” to provide safe and healthy environments for their tenants and employees.

There are no easy answers to make workplaces, universities or other gathering spots safe and productive. But one important aspect of office and public health involves workspace analytics software, which helps organizations better safeguard workers in the office and make them more productive. 

Workspace analytics technology provides insight into employee density in a given physical space. By issuing alerts when the number of workers reaches capacity in a given space, the technology can ensure that workers’ social distance from one another. The technology can also queue up cleaning services or other workflows as necessary when spaces are used. Workspace analytics can also integrate with other workplace scheduling and collaboration tools to schedule meetings, create capacity alerts, or to trigger follow-up activities.

Technologies such as Armored Things have become increasingly critical to determining worker density, and environmental factors, such as building temperature, electricity used on a given floor or in a room. The software can enlist an organization’s existing cameras, sensors or other hardware, then derive data from these devices to track how many people have entered a facility.

We sat down with Chris Lord, Co-founder and CTO, to discuss the value of workplace analytics in organizations today.


Chris Lord: The pandemic that we’ve all lived through is probably one of the driving forces behind it. Two years ago, space utilization was an important part, but it wasn’t a necessary part. 

The pandemic has really shifted people’s thinking in terms of what is necessary [vis-à-vis a physical presence in the office].

 It’s forced us to reconsider how we use space [and to ask questions like], “When do we need to meet and why?” And “How often do we need to be in the office together?”

That’s really forced us to collect data to understand and ultimately to optimize what we do. Then the big questions are, “What is it that we’re trying to optimize?” and “Are we trying to optimize employee experience? Operational costs? Capital costs?”

You don’t just need data, you need the right data to inform the decisions you’re trying to make. 

In some cases, we need precise data to help with hot-desking [a shared-desk system for hybrid office/remote work models].

So, you may need that data to develop a hot-desking model, or you may need to understand overall utilization patterns and patterns of life within your space so that you can make coarse-grained decisions: “Do I have enough space or too much? Is it underutilized? That’s what’s driving a lot of corporate clients toward [workspace analytics] and where we obviously play a big role.


CL: We have a set of proven use cases that can help customers. That can direct the conversation, but at the end of the day, it’s really trying to understand what it is that [customers] want to do and what are the questions that they’re asking? 

So, the value of Armored Things is that you get continuous information about your environment, and how it’s being used. It’s something that’s there all the time. Sometimes that requires a deeper conversation on the facility side. [Companies] are used to these one-off studies that are a point-in-time snapshot and given the rapid change around us, has a shelf life. 

A point-in-time study that [I] did two years ago has very little bearing on what [I] need to do today. We can provide the look-back to last month, last year, last quarter, but the value of it every day and that opens up new opportunities.

I like to talk about democratization [of data], taking our data and making it available to your employees, to tenants, to whoever needs to make a decision. Our vision was three years ago, four years ago, to be the Google maps of people, not cars: Being able to show you where people are at any point in time. That’s the democratization of data.


CL: Most people don’t have the time to swim in all the data. It’s not their job to be exploring data. What they need to do is figure out how to do what they’re doing better, faster, easier with fewer people at less expense than they did before. 

Most people don’t have the time to swim in all the data. It’s not their job to be exploring data. What they need to do is figure out how to do what they’re doing better, faster, easier with fewer people at less expense than they did before. 


The shift for us has been one of building our application, the set of features within the application, and through our partners to directly address what that looks like. Some of that is simple. So some of that is you know rather than present you a lot of charts and graphs, we present you the KPIs [key performance indicators]. So right at the top are the set of KPIs that tell you, what’s happening at a glance. Some of it is building in capabilities like alerting, right? Rather than having to let you look at the data and make a decision we’re just telling you about the decision that needs to be made, based on the triggers that are important to your organization to your environment. And so that’s, that’s one way, you know, you don’t have to be living in the dashboard. 

We can target the data experience to the persona—to a role, a function. When you come in you self-identify as I’m a facilities manager, “I’m in charge of operations, I have a staff that is there on game day, I am–whatever [the role] is. You identify, and then your experience is tailored to your needs. 

Then our software asks you, “What changes would you make if you had dynamic and new information all the time?” If I’m a university, I’m scheduling custodial services, if I’m an office place. I’m scheduling the same sort of thing, and I’m making determinations as to whether I clean these rooms, don’t clean these rooms, have to have more people on staff, because there’s more people there. All these things are things that we’re used to thinking of and doing in a very static way.


CL: Our earliest customers were in the university space. The safety and the security of students is foremost in [universities’] mind all the time, and we were an effective part of that. But those conversations opened up opportunities in better use of space. 

And they’ve also shifted into opportunities around, “How can we improve the outcomes of students?”  “Are we providing the right resources based on where they’re spending their time? “Are there things that we can learn about how groups of students are spending their time, respecting their privacy, that will inform better space and better information delivery to our students?” 

And so we started there. And now, sports stadiums are a huge customer for us, and other venues where we bring people together. People are their core business, right? And if people are your core business. you want to know where they’re spending their time, you want to know where those opportunities are. 

Establishing The Deer District With Robert Cordova

“If you build it, they will come.” Well, now that CTO of the Milwaukee Bucks, Robert Cordova has established the 30-acre Deer District surrounding the FiServ Forum, how does he ensure that people will not only come to their event but think of the facility as the go-to meeting spot for Milwaukee? Cordova sat down with Stadium Tech Report editorialist, Paul Kapustka after his 2021 ALSD Conference panel to dig in. 

During the interview, Cordova discusses the use of crowd intelligence—essentially occupancy analytics—to uncover hidden patterns to crowd behavior. As he says “[it’s] what I call the uncommon sense. It’s the things you didn’t expect and that’s what you really want to use crowd intelligence to really help us do those heat maps so we can understand the behavior of the crowd for a variety of things, not just basketball.”

Armored Things is proud to partner with the Fiserv Forum to bring actionable insights to the Deer District through historical occupancy and predictive analytics. We’re helping to uncover Cordova’s “uncommon sense” aha moments so Fiserv Forum can design the ultimate fan experience. 

Space Utilization: Defining The Basics

When it comes to reopening corporate spaces, there are still many unknowns. Should I renew my prior lease? Who will work full time in the office? Will they all get desks? But one thing is for sure: Space utilization will be top of mind for anyone managing an office building or campus.

Our glossary of Space Utilization terms, which includes occupancy and capacity, is helpful to keep handy as you assess the buildings and spaces you manage. And this year, facilities managers and space planning teams are likely to also year about something called occupancy analytics.


In its simplest terms, space utilization is occupancy divided by capacity as measured over time. Let’s say you know 150 people use the cafeteria each Monday 8 am-12 pm and your capacity for the space is 300. Well, this one is simple: cafeteria space utilization Monday mornings is 50%.

But that’s just the first layer. There are numerous ways in which space utilization can be influenced. How a space is used, for how many purposes, and how often its full capacity is needed, are all factors to consider. Facilities managers considering priorities for 2021 likely also want to look at things like crowd density and restricting occupancy to help meet safer social distancing standards.


Space occupancy is defined as the number of people in the office (or any space) at any given time. This is a simple one but perhaps the most important, especially at a time when the number of people can be limited due to restrictions around distance. For space occupancy, real-time metrics are invaluable, and AI can help surface instant views rather than relying on manual counts of each room or meeting space.


To measure underutilization, you’d have to know your capacity and occupancy over time and set a goal for acceptable utilization at your company. The biggest problem with underutilized space is obvious: you’re paying for it. When considering new leases, knowing your underutilized space metrics is crucial. When looking at space management software, look for options to see historical and predictive analytics to determine how and when you can avoid underutilization.


This is on everyone’s mind much more than it used to be. When space planners talk about density, they mean the number of people per square foot. But welcoming back students and employees to safe campuses means understanding density in real-time. That means real-time occupancy counts but also setting acceptable occupancy standards with new distancing expectations so that people are comfortable in large crowds. Many corporate property management advisors will tell clients to determine a density goal by predicting the number of people utilizing a workspace, and then multiplying it by the average square footage required by each employee (i.e., between 125-250 square feet). 


Peak usage allows facility managers to track which sector of the workplace – or any shared space – receives the most traffic. These space utilization metrics can show which spaces hold the most value at any given point in time.  Armored Things do this by collecting real-time data from wi-fi and cameras to provide a historical overlay to show how a space is used over time.


In the new flexible workspace, everyone is talking about hot-desking – a system that limits the number of desks in the office space. This means multiple employees will use the same physical workstations at different points in the day in order to limit contact and maximize space. To determine if you need a hot-desking option, space managers should have a clear understanding of their space utilization and density figures.


In 2022, monitoring occupancy is a top priority for many teams, and understanding what occupancy analytics means will help them get off to a good start. For help defining Occupancy Analytics, we asked Armored Things CTO Chris Lord to answer two key questions about it.

Chris Lord: When we talk about analytics in this context, it’s all about understanding patterns of life. It’s understanding how people are using your space over time and then using that information in order to drive business value and decisions.

There are many dimensions that occupancy analytics can inform. There’s the classic operation use; this could be help-desk staffing, security staffing, custodial staffing. Make sure you’re doing it at the right time with the right number of people based on how people are using a space. It can be long-term, like capital planning or deciding whether or not to renew a lease.

Overall it helps inform whether you have too much, or too little space, or the right kind of space… 

The information we extract from patterns of life can inform major spatial decisions in the workplace that ultimately should lead to greater employee satisfaction.

“The information we extract from patterns of life can inform major spatial decisions in the workplace that ultimately should lead to greater employee satisfaction.”


Armored Things employs two layers of analytics. The first takes high-volume real-time sensor streams and disparate data sources and combines them into a cohesive view of people and movement in space. This work relies on a lot of machine learning techniques and models.

The second layer uses that data to understand the patterns of life in space, and to combine it with contextual data (like weather or how space is allocated/reserved/scheduled) to extract insights that can directly drive business decisions about staffing, resource allocation, or space utilization.


Chris Lord: Capacity is a static measure of how many people a space can support under a set of conditions (varies for an auditorium vs conference room vs coworking vs hallway) and, if unspecified, can be inferred from use and size. 

Occupancy is a point-in-time measure sampled over time and density is a function of occupancy and space or capacity.

Analytics can be done with either occupancy or density because they represent how something changes over time. 

For more on safely reopening offices and workspaces against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, read the Armored Things blog found here.

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. To learn more about Armored Things, check out our Solution Overview Video or connect with our Sales Team at

Stadium Innovation: Supply Chain Issues Make No-Hardware Solutions A No-Brainer

A new Front Office Sports Special Report highlights this year’s huge hardware supply chain issues as a driving force behind stadium operations teams looking to IoT solutions to meet technology innovation goals.

The report, titled IoTs Impact on the Sports Economy, cites a McKinsey report on the growing influence of the IoT market, and points to a Bloomberg article on the growing number of out-of-stock hardware and technology items. 

Front Office Sports also highlighted the Armored Things intelligent software solution, and deployments at premier venues such as Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, as a way for stadium operators to drive value with IoT technology.

Front Office Sports predicts the category of Stadium Intelligence has emerged as one of the top ways IoT will influence the sports and stadium markets.

Here are some additional key excerpts from the report:

  • The IoT industry could provide outsized returns in the sports and sports adjacent industries over the next decade.
  • Manufacturers and advertisers alike are struggling to deal with the various supply chain issues across the board including truck driver shortages, port delays, and outright factory closures. 
  • Armored Things provides a direct use case for potential sports and entertainment specific functions. The company’s software allows for smarter decisions related to crowd size, space utilization, security, maintenance, and fan experience while providing easy access to valuable data trends for space management.  

You can read the complete report here, and you can find out more about how Armored Things is helping premier customers like the Milwaukee Bucks, LAFC, and the Cleveland Cavaliers harness visitor data and transform their stadiums with deep insights into fan and crowd behavior by scheduling a quick demo.

To learn more about how we are helping partners and clients around the globe, check out this blog from my colleague David Smentek Real World Crowd Intelligence at Your Campus or Venue. 

Find John McNamara on Linked In to join his professional network and see regular Armored Things updates.

Curious about how Armored Things helps stadiums, corporate real estate, and higher education campuses do more with the data they have? Reach out today to connect with a sales specialist and learn more.

AI as Infrastructure: The Future of Stadiums

Due to our success in premier sports venues such as the Fiserv Forum and teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks, we are partnered with the Sports Innovation Lab (SIL) to help venues better understand how fans and technology interact with venues. Chris Lord, Armored Things co-founder and CTO, is featured alongside SIL stadium partners in SIL’s latest research project – dedicated to using AI to plan, build and expand stadiums.

Hear what Lord has to say about the democratization of data, and how we’re empowering venue managers to make ROI-related decisions relating to crowd management. You can also check out the entire report for key takeaways on how AI is empowering smart stadiums.



AI is technology that has been and will continue to work in conjunction with humans to improve overall human performance. Artificial intelligence leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind (IBM, 2021). Robert Muehlbauer, Senior Manager of Business Development at Axis Communications described artificial intelligence in its simplest form as using a machine or a computer to do tasks that a human would. The benefits are myriad and significant—with AI and computation, we can make workflows quicker and more efficient. Over the years, popular conceptions of AI and Machine Learning have been shaped, for better or worse, by depictions in popular media such as film, television, games, and beyond.

Sometimes presented as a seemingly endless futuristic possibility space, sometimes presented as a great threat to humanity, AI captivates popular imaginations. Not surprisingly, the realities of AI and ML do not conform to popular media depictions. AI is neither a technological panacea nor an existential threat. AI and ML are computational tools that have the power to make us more efficient and to make us smarter. At the end of the day, AI and Machine Learning exist to make our work and our lives easier and better.


The thrill of standing shoulder to shoulder with other fans, on your feet as the game clock expires, as your team buries the buzzer-beater, is inimitable and irreplaceable. It’s this feeling of shared experience and the “power of togetherness” that keeps live sports, with attendant fans, a primary pillar of the sports industry. The global COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 that continues to shake the world has not only forced the sports industry to take a closer look at how we construct and design our live sports entertainment, it has also shaken the confidence of fans who continue to want the power of togetherness but who harbor concerns about the safety of attending live sports. The“return to play” has forced the whole of sports, from the professionals producing the contests to the fans adoring the action, to rethink our priorities and the role technology plays in bringing us all back together.

It is incumbent upon stadia operators and sports properties to change their thinking about the design of fan experience, and new pandemic-generated challenges that need to be addressed to ensure fan health, safety, and security. AI provides a suite of technologies, specific to problem-solving. that will play a foundational role in this change. Today, because of the rapid evolution of AI technologies, we can consider the impact of AI on a larger scale. AI is the future of sports stadium infrastructure—replacing traditional building and repair practices and implementing data solutions to create a live sports environment that is healthier, safer, and more secure for fans. To address the essential needs of fans, sports venues need to reimagine AI technologies as a new form of infrastructure, solving problems that used to be addressed through brick, mortar, pipe, and personnel.

To address the essential needs of fans, sports venues need to reimagine AI technologies as a new form of infrastructure, solving problems that used to be addressed through brick, mortar, pipe, and personnel.


AI and Machine Learning are being implemented in every facet of security. Physical and cyber security will continually be a main focus for venue operators and fans. Knowledge is power, so the more that technology knows, the better it will be able to output improved processes. In return, when the knowledge is made public, fans are able to digest it and change their behaviors to feel more secure. CTO and co-founder of Armored Things, Chris Lord, spoke on the democratic nature of data and the importance of understanding the problem, resources, partner companies, and areas to scale in order to be successful. The idea that data is a democracy, and understanding the problem, resources, and partner companies you want to scale can differentiate success.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are no longer “nice to have” technologies in the smart venue network, they are increasingly essential. AI and ML are infrastructure—critical systems that, together and as part of the broader infrastructure of a venue, provide the platform for fan experience.

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