What is SpaceBot?
David Turner, SpaceBot
SpaceBot is a spatial intelligence company that collects data about how people use physical buildings and spaces.
That sounds amazing. Could you provide us with some more details and examples of projects you are working on?
We have a variety of different projects/products! We have sensors that count people and understand how people are using a physical space. We deploy them in corporate workspaces, retail, and we have a couple of other pilots going on in the hospitality and hotel industry.
We've also done a little bit with the government. We did a pilot in Springfield, Illinois for early voting wait times. In Illinois, you can vote four weeks before an election at certain designated locations, and we are helping them understand foot traffic so they can allocate staff and communicate how crowded things are to prospective voters.
Also, we just finished up a big pilot with Industrious, one of the largest operators of coworking spaces. For them, we installed nearly 100 of our sensors in seven of their offices and they are in the process of building out another 30 new offices. Each of these offices has a different layout, and they want to see what adjustments they should make to improve efficiencies and member experiences. We counted how many people were in each of their common spaces for several weeks so they can understand how often the phone rooms are full, how often the big conference rooms are used by only a few people, etc. Our offering is really helping them to improve their operations.
The two main things we use our sensors for are to evaluate real estate performance and to look at experiential things, for example, journeys and crowd dynamics. We've been working with Lincoln Park Zoo, the Chicago Athletic Club, New City, and others. About 80 percent of our current clients are local to Chicagoland.
How long has SpaceBot existed?
Since November 2017. The original company was called WaitBot. We developed a bunch of applications for people and businesses to understand how long wait times were. We did that for a couple of years and made a little money, but we were also exploring additional products and sensors to figure out wait times. We had a few different deployments and our clients asked us other questions, such as, “how many people came?” During that time we started to work with the architecture firm, Gensler. They kind of opened our eyes to how we can use this data to make better performing buildings. Architects have lots of ideas – but not so much data. We would deploy sensors in the existing environments before designing the new places so architects could make more informed decisions. That's when I recruited my co-founder, Keith Besserud. We thought, let's start a new company around spatial sensors and data. The technology predates the creation of SpaceBot, but it gives us more of a chance to hit the ground running. We call it “spatial intelligence”.
Why did you decide to work at the Chicago Connectory?
There are several benefits. The most obvious one is that it is a work space that is dedicated to IoT - and since we are a sensor company - we are very much an IoT company! In addition, it's great being around other people who are thinking about the same things as you are. It is extremely beneficial from a knowledge perspective and a networking perspective.
Where can readers find more information about SpaceBot?
If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
My first instinct was to say a bird because I've always wanted to fly, but I kind of hate birds. So I'm not sure I would want to be one. I then would want to be a dolphin, but I don't like the idea of not having arms or opposable thumbs. That could get frustrating. So let's go with a panda because they are lovable but fierce.