How data analytics supports businesses during the pandemic

Kelly Harlin, Sharp NEC Display Solutions

In the early days of the pandemic, many frantic, reactionary decisions were made. IT departments were purchasing solutions quickly with limited applications – typically to solve for this problem or that. While many solutions worked, they only provided a short-term benefit.

Using data analytics long-term gives businesses the opportunity to make intelligent and strategic decisions – not just reactionary. By using meaningful data with a goal in mind, you can effectively plan for purchases. The goal should never be to just have data. It’s only useful if you are able to do something with it – in this case, make purchasing decisions.

How to manage your environment

COVID changes that are most impacting the workplace are directly affectinghow people are able to safely deign and use spaces. To be able to ensure a safe environment, companies must have the ability to communicate safe practices to workers – using data - on how to navigate through workspaces, social distance and practice proper protocols.

It’s important to first considerwhich challenges are going to arise in the physical environment. How will you provide a safe environment? How are people utilizing the space with new safety measures in place? Data enables business to make changes to spaces based on safety and adaptations needed to accommodate a hybrid workforce.Sensors can capture data to make these decisions. Data from sensors detect traffic, age, gender, air quality and occupancy management of a space, providing more meaningful data points. For example, organizations can track traffic patterns and use demographic sensors to see which areas are being utilized and by whom. Sensors can also be used to detect occupancy of conference rooms and meeting spaces to establish if the spaces are being optimized to their fullest potential.How many people are in the space at any given time? Is the space being under-utilized? Armed with this data, decision-makers can make adjustments to ensure a safe environment and a fully utilized space.

Using what you’ve got

Many businesses already have sensors of some kind in place. Most are under-utilized, and can be integrated into the existing framework. Having conversations with the right partners about the technology already in place, and the goals you have for a long-term IT strategyand how to use your physical space is the sweet spot for data analytics.

Using predictive analytics to understand how people are actually using a given space helpsensure a hybrid approach to business can continue to work moving forward. Utilizing data and the right partner creates the opportunity to fully implement collaboration tools to provide a full solution for employees rather than short-term solutions to quickly connect when it was needed.

Finding the right solution

We hear from a number of customers that are stuck in an indecision loop, many times because they do not know what is available to them.

At Sharp/NEC, we work with a variety of partners on projects to ensure we provide the right solutions to meet our customers’ needs. It’s not a one-size-fits-all type of market, and we don’t just sell products. A complete solution that fits each customers’ individual needs now – but can grow and evolve with the needs of the business – is so important when looking at how best to incorporate data analytics into your business – both post-COVID and into the future.

Now is the time to take a step back and work to implement and invest in technology that will benefit your business for years to come. Using an agile approach and building a foundation of technology taking into consideration what you currently have in place to integrate with – and then building out and researching a foundation – finding a solution that will grow with your business.

Kelly Harlin is Analytics Platform Strategist for Sharp NEC Display Solutions. For more information, visit

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