Client: Microsoft

Case Study Microsoft HQ Schiphol

Microsoft developed a new vision on today’s workplace, in which collaboration, networking and co-creation play an important role. Together with bGrid and Schiphol Real Estate, the owner of the building, Microsoft Netherlands created a smart building infrastructure to support this vision with comfort and the right office conditions for each separate task. Together with the complexity of the building and the wish to further optimize the building utilization the only solution was creating a smart building.

The challenge - 4 types of workspaces

In the new workplace concept of Microsoft the focus is on working smarter, not harder. For example, people can lose a lot of energy in meetings. Under the motto "take time to refresh" it was decided that meetings would only last 45 minutes instead of an hour. In addition, many elements have been added that encourage an active attitude to work. One of these elements is dividing the new office into four types of workspaces; silence rooms, collaboration spaces, a social hub and a customer space where employees can collaborate with people from outside Microsoft and let them experiment with the latest technological gadgets from Microsoft.

Of course Microsoft wants to know if this new way of working really works, so gaining insights on the use of the different spaces was one of the challenges. On the other hand, the complexity of the building (with a lot of windows) results in a harsh temperature, air quality and light regulation. This can also lead to energy leaks for employees. Monitoring and regulating temperature, air quality and light was therefore also one on the main challenges. Ultimately Microsoft was looking for a solution to inspire other companies with innovative ways of using (Microsoft) technology to optimize the working environment.

The solution - From floor to lighting plan to bGrid node

Intensive collaboration ensued that was built up from multiple layers. Among other things, a test set-up was installed in the old building. Lighting plans, floor plans and other plans from, among others, Steelcase, the architect and Deerns were superimposed for optimum results. bGrid provided the plan for placing the bGrid nodes. Van der Vlugt: “The cooperation between bGrid, Schiphol and Microsoft was great. We all realized that we wanted to do something new and we experimented continuously. Schiphol sees this building as a testing ground and that is how we used it.”

With the data that is collected through the bGrid sensors Microsoft can see which parts of the building are used a lot and which are not. The heat map of the occupancy rate gives a clear view. Via bGrid it’s also clear where it’s too hot or too cold and it’s easy to adjust the temperature. The next step is linking the data to several third party apps. In parallel, Microsoft started with asset tagging. For example, they have large presentation screens that roam the building, or seats that sometimes change space. By tagging these things, they can be found and returned to the right place.

Image source: D/Dock

Project client: Schiphol Real Estate

Project partners: CGI, MAPIQ, Engie, Priva, Deerns, D/Dock, Turner & Townsend, OCS+ Steelcase

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“The cooperation between bGrid, Schiphol and Microsoft was great. We all realized that we wanted to do something new and we experimented continuously. bGrid is a good product and the sensors measure what they should. I can’t wait to connect bGrid to third party apps and AI.”
Rene van der Vlugt, Microsoft, Business and Digital Transformation Lead Director
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