Introducing The Wireless Desk Occupancy Sensor

Introducing The Wireless Desk Occupancy Sensor

Disruptive Technologies
13. Sep 2022 | 9 min read

Introducing The Wireless Desk Occupancy Sensor


With daily work patterns changing, the need to understand real estate and office usage is critical. Hybrid working has become the norm, with employees working from home, the office, and often other locations. Flexible working and changing habits are going to further amplify these changes.

To address these modifications, accurate and up-to-date information about the building, office, and, most importantly, desk utilization must be available. Service providers want to provide better solutions, whilst optimizing real estate lease costs, but need to truly understand how the space is being used. 

Facilities Management (FM) teams require baseline data, both in the short term and over a longer period, to allow them to adjust the number of desks, meeting rooms, service hours, and, potentially, the size of their real estate to meet their actual business needs.

How can this information be obtained? Several options are available, including physical monitoring using cameras, building access control systems, and intuition. However, the simplest, most accurate, and most cost-effective solution is to use Internet of Things (IoT) desk occupancy sensors. 


What Is A Desk Occupancy Sensor?


Desk occupancy sensor

Desk occupancy sensors are an important technology in the modern workplace. They help organizations to understand how their desks are being used and can provide valuable insights into work patterns and utilization. There are many different types of desk occupancy sensors on the market, and the way in which they collect data can vary by sensor type and the data that is collected. As technology continues to evolve, desk occupancy sensors will become an increasingly important tool for managing the modern workplace.

The desk occupancy sensor developed by Disruptive Technologies (DT) is a tiny sensor (19x19x3.5mm) with an adhesive backing to allow for a simple, 30-second, peel-and-stick, installation under any desk or table. An 8-year battery life allows for low maintenance costs, and the privacy concerns of occupants are respected with anonymized data and minimal visibility of the sensors. 

The DT Desk Occupancy Sensor uses a combination of temperature measurements and machine learning to determine if a desk is occupied or not based on changes in temperature created by the presence of people. It automatically and anonymously detects if a desk is occupied within 5-10 minutes of the person arriving at the desk. Similarly, it will typically detect if a desk is not occupied within 5-10 minutes of the person leaving. 

The data is transmitted through DT’s encrypted radio protocol, SecureDataShot, and relayed through a Cloud Connector gateway to the Cloud. Using Studio, webhooks, or REST APIs, this data can be used to activate services, optimize space utilization, and provide insight for future decisions on real estate needs and design. 


What Is A Desk Occupancy Sensor Used For?


DeskO4 1 

The granular data collected by the DT Desk Occupancy Sensor provides data that is valuable for solution and service providers, tenants, employers, and landlords. This includes:

  • User comfort, health and wellbeing
    • Desk availability - identification of desk usage, both in near real-time and over more extended periods, enables employers to ensure sufficient desks are available for a more mobile workforce
    • Reduced frustration - making desk occupancy data available to users, either online or through an app, gives them a clear picture of available desks. There is no need to “hunt” for a free desk as a push message to their mobile, generated by the partner application, can advise them when a desk becomes free. 
    • Non-intrusive solution - the sensors are tiny, placed under the desk, are unobtrusive, and do not require the use of cameras to collect the relevant information.
    • Clean environment - Cleaning services focus on when and where they are needed. This provides a healthy and proper environment and provides a productive workspace for the occupants.



iStock-1225575965 1

  • Cost saving
    • Space needs and real estate requirements - Landlords and FMs can complete trend analysis of desk and space utilization over time to understand actual real estate requirements. Based on the results, they may be able to downsize real estate and thereby save money.
    • All staff and services will be optimized for how the space is being used. 
  • Cleaning
    • Analysis of space utilization - understanding desk or room usage allows cleaning schedules to be adjusted. Busy areas require more frequent cleaning.
  • Energy efficiency
    • Understanding space utilization allows for adjustments to Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems to meet actual needs. These changes result in reduced energy consumption, lower energy costs, and a reduced CO2 footprint
    • Systems are not left working when they are not needed, thereby saving energy, and cost and reducing the CO2 footprint.


Why Is The DT Desk Occupancy Sensor Important?


DO Studio

Studio dashboard for desk occupancy


  • Affordable, low cost per seat
  • Tiny, discrete size (19x19x3.5mm) - the sensors can therefore be placed exactly where they are needed whilst remaining unobtrusive and discrete.
  • Peel and stick mount for simple, quick, and affordable installation. It only takes 30 seconds to install a sensor and no technical expertise, or configuration, is required.
  • Long battery life (8 years), ensuring minimal operational costs
  • Privacy - data is collected anonymously without making employees feel uncomfortable
  • End Application - Integrate sensor data into other applications to trigger services or use Studio for simple analytics & notifications
  • Plug and play. No pairing is needed. 
  • 24/7 remote monitoring
  • Scalable - easily install hundreds of sensors
  • Compatibility - full interoperability with other DT sensors 

Typically, the data is used by an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) which will help workplaces optimize:

  • facilities management & maintenance
  • capital project management
  • real estate lifecycle management
  • resource management



The dramatic changes in working behavior makes it difficult to understand how buildings and offices are used. The technology, data, and analytics revolution is being adopted in corporate and commercial real estate, and tenants and landlords are under pressure to deliver healthy, sustainable, and optimized space to meet the needs of a hybrid workforce. 

What is required is accurate baseline data showing the occupancy and utilization of desks and tables within the organization. When are the busy periods and when are the quieter periods? Are there more busy days in the week? Desk occupancy sensors are the only way to collect this critical, granular information. 

The actionable insights generated from this data allow organizations to adjust their operations and services, such as cleaning schedules, save energy and money by adjusting HVAC systems, and reduce their CO2 footprint. This data then improves the experience and environment for the occupants. 

The data collected allows for better decision-making and provides a more comfortable and enjoyable experience for occupants. 

By understanding how space is being used, changes can be made that greatly impact all stakeholders. Typically facilities managers or Chief Financial Officers are using the collected data for lease optimization, and hence cost saving.


Curious to learn more? Dive into our Space Occupancy Solution Guide


Disruptive Technologies

Disruptive Technologies

Founded in 2013, Disruptive Technologies (DT) is the Norwegian developer of the world’s smallest wireless sensors and an award-winning innovator in the IoT market. Our small, efficient, powerful, and adaptable wireless sensors are the best in the world and designed to reach an ever greater number of operational components, making buildings intelligent and sustainable in minutes.

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