In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, many businesses resorted to the work-from-home (WFH) model as a way to maintain both normal operation and employee health. McKinsey Global Institute's 2021 report "The future of work after COVID-19" suggests that the pandemic has accelerated three sets of trends—remote work, e-commerce and automation. In Singapore, one of Asia's vital economies, the vacancy rate of office space climbed 2.4pp fourth-quarter 2019 through third-quarter 2021 to 12.9%. Furthermore, according to Singapore's Ministry of Manpower, 49% of the country's employed residents worked remotely in 2020. This indicates that Singapore's shared space and space management markets are embracing rapidly growing demand.
With the hybrid work model becoming the new normal and employees having the flexibility of choosing where they prefer to work, employers are now reexamining the arrangement and planning of their existing workspace. For example, they may re-do their office floor plan and offer online reservations for desks and meeting rooms. This not only allows more flexible use of office space but also makes it easier for employers to comply with COVID-related restrictions on occupancy capacity. They can even sublease unused office space and adopt the co-working model to save on rent. More than 80% of Singapore's citizens live in public housing. To the citizens that need to work or learn from home during the pandemic, environmental noise and cramped space make it difficult for them to stay focused. This gives rise to the demand for shared space in the neighborhood that allows them to balance work/school and life. In view of such needs, Great Connection System (GCS) joins forces with partners to co-create smart space management solutions.
According to Jason Wang, VP, solution business group, GCS, in Singapore, employers pay high salaries so the Singapore government encourages the country's industries to leverage IoT solutions to raise operating efficiency and lower operating costs as part of its smart country planning. Driven by the government's smart city policies, shared space solutions are closely interconnected with IoT implementations in Singapore. GCS has abundant experiences and superior capabilities in IoT product development and heterogeneous system integration as well as data analytics. Its G-Pod, a smart shared space management solution working in connection with partners' IoT equipment, satisfies wide-ranging application scenarios and needs. Aside from shared space management, it can also be used in a diversity of applications including smart campus, smart sports as well as data acquisition and analysis.
Collaborating with local firms in Singapore to capture smart space management opportunities
In the post pandemic era, people in Singapore and the rest of the world adopt a new way of working and learning, giving rise to tremendous demand for shared space management solutions. In view of this, GCS, with a proven track record in IoT system integration services, has formed a smart commerce alliance with partners including Xian Shun, Li Jie Technology Hardware, Jida Computer, GSPRO, Yu Sheng Technology, Prime Electronics and Holycow Design. Under the assistance of the 2022 project to drive international expansions of SME digital innovations headed by Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs, the alliance exerts all-out efforts to promote smart commerce solutions to Singapore and further to the rest of the Southeast Asian markets.
The smart commerce alliance aims to create a quiet and comfortable environment where local citizens can engage in everyday work or learning activities. Collaborating with a work pod provider in Singapore, the alliance recently built an unmanned workspace solution (smart pod) featuring friendly costs and simple reservations that allow easy and quick access by local residents. For mid-to-long term objectives, GCS will expand the success of the unmanned workspace solution in Singapore to additional business applications and create more diversified compound business environments. Joining forces with Taiwan's leading IoT solution providers, GCS will foray into Southeast Asian markets.
"Space management has traditionally been achieved by controlling the lock using a light current system. Traditional space management solutions lack reservation systems, user interactions as well as sensors and data systems that collect various space information so they are unable to stay on top of space usage, user habits, environmental parameters, etc.…" said Wang. He added "In contrast, not only can G-Pod gather environmental data on site, but it also performs cross analysis of user data, thereby properly managing and monitoring the unmanned space and its surroundings. On top of ensuring user safety and upholding user interests, G-Pod also reduces energy waste and achieves environmentally friendly objectives."
Taiwan can learn from Singapore and expand IoT application scope
The smart unmanned space management solution jointly presented by GCS and its fellow smart commerce alliance members can effectively lower staffing costs. Most important of all, it gathers user characteristics, environmental parameters and site information. Then, it performs big data analytics at the backend for feature extraction to allow the space manager to gain insight into potential needs of specific user groups and thereby strategize marketing plans targeting different user groups. With the solution, the space manager will be able to minimize the idle time and design a suitable and precise marketing plan based on when specific user groups use the space. Moreover, the solution can take into consideration various site requirements and arrange the needed frontend features as well as the backend management systems. While satisfying user needs, the solution also maximizes the management efficacy of the unmanned space for the space manager, achieving a win-win situation.
Unlike Singapore, Taiwan's shared space market is only at the budding stage. Unmanned space management in particular is still in early development. As such, the solutions currently on the market are primarily standalone light current electronics systems. In light of this, GCS led the industry in launching the smart unmanned space management solution G-Pod. By interconnecting and integrating heterogenous systems comprising various hardware and software into an all-in-one management solution, GCS enables significant cost reduction when different types of devices and systems have to work together. A great number of interested parties have approached GCS to inquire on G-Pod.
Wang pointed out that although Taiwan boasts of a well developed ICT industry, when most businesses evaluate the adoption of IoT solutions, they often take a wait-and-see and conservative attitude because they will have to replace existing hardware systems or lack in-house capability to develop integrated systems. After GCS sales reached out to businesses, took an in-depth look into their needs and introduced G-Pod features in detail, many businesses expressed interest in G-Pod's high level of hardware software integration capability and began talks with GCS about further development. For example, a slew of colleges in Taiwan are actively advancing toward smart campus. Many colleges have approached GCS for smart campus solutions. They look to introduce G-Pod to help create a variety of smart spaces to meet students' diverse learning needs.
As part of its current-stage planning, GCS joins forces with its smart commerce alliance partners and together make all-out efforts to expand into Singapore. Furthermore, it will strive to replicate the success with Singapore to Southeast Asia and Taiwan, aiming to create whole-new digital economy opportunities for the industries with G-Pod.
An end-to-end application for a smart (unmanned) space management system