An answer to space utilization woes, etc.

FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel O. Abalos (The Freeman) - October 10, 2020 - 12:00am

Though a few are celebrating that a vaccine may be available soon, the rest aren’t so excited about it. Most of us, in fact, are so cautious and apprehensive even if this vaccine is allegedly endorsed by the government. Why? Because as announced, the first available vaccine will be coming from China. 

We can’t really blame our countrymen if they reacted that way. Remember, China is a country not known to innovate but imitate. A country whose businesses are known to have embraced the “imitation model” to rake in heaps of money. Therefore, to say, that China is the first to have it (when there is nothing yet to imitate) is, indeed, highly questionable.

Therefore, setting that aside, momentarily, is the most logical thing to do. Instead, we should talk about real innovation or should, we say, product differentiation. 

Again, whether we call it differentiation strategy or product differentiation, it really doesn’t matter. What matters most is how we understand it in this time when disruptions, good and bad, are prevalent. In a time when most businesses, just to survive, are flooding the market with almost similar products and services.

So what is differentiation strategy? This is a methodology or an approach that a business takes to develop a distinctive product or service that customers will find superior or better than or in another way unique from products or services that are currently offered by existing suppliers.  The ultimate objective is for a business to distinguish itself from the competition.

Talking about something different in addressing space utilization woes, “Density Open Area” fits the bill. Needless to say, due to the pandemic, space utilization is already a big challenge. Sadly though, once this pandemic is over, space utilization woes will still remain.  This new tool, however, can surely make a difference.

The Density Open Area, in simple term, is a radar system. It tracks people in a certain area, or a given office desk or a dining table every second of the day precisely but anonymously.  Then “use these gathered clustered data points to count people and observe movement anonymously.”

The sensor (which fits in the palm of one’s hand) is “accurate up to 20 feet off the ground and can handle 1,325 square feet, and has a dynamic field of view configurable through a web app.”  It can be mounted in the ceiling in just a few minutes. Moreover, it is scalable or can be expanded depending on the size of the space or area.

This technology is truly an answer to our space utilization woes. Take a restaurant for instance. Through this technology, every dining table can be monitored in terms of its utilization every second of the day. Therefore, the occupancy rate per table is available real time. So much so that concerns about why some tables have fewer turnovers than the others can be easily addressed. Probably, those problematic tables are so near the toilet (which door is so visible) that customers avoid them. Therefore, the business owner can probably put some barriers to conceal the toilet or rearrange the tables.

The same is true in offices. Each desk as well as pantries can be monitored every second of the day. Therefore, the employee’s movements can be well tracked. So much so that if an employee leaves his desk so often and spends more time in the pantry (resulting to inefficiency) he can be tracked. Again, the employer can see all these real time.

More importantly, it is also useful in government offices or institutions. In fact, this will be very useful in the House of Representatives. Remember, there are more than 200 lawmakers.  Therefore, they are too many to monitor. Undeniably, some of them will leave their desks right after the rollcall. Yet, they still receive the same amount of taxpayers’ money monthly. Through this technology, we will know whether our districts’ representatives are indeed worthy of what we are paying them for since every desk (occupied by the congressmen) inside the hall of congress can be tracked or monitored. 

In retail stores, this can be most useful. Through this technology, the most visited departments or sections can be determined. Therefore, it will be easy for them to expand those heavily visited and reduce those that are not. Thus, maximizing space and optimize profits.

Sadly though, this technology will render cameras, badge data, Wi-Fi tracking, seat sensors and manual counts pedestrian and inefficient. But that’s what differentiation is all about.  Isn’t it?


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