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Software, Sensors Paired for Return-to-Office Enablement


Photo of worker in shared office space
Image: Andriy Bezuglov -
Building a connected workplace is more challenging than ever, now that we need to do so in a way that doesn’t jeopardize employee health by putting them at risk of COVID-19 exposure.
Within the organization, thought leaders across myriad disciplines such as our readers in facilities/real estate, HR, and IT are putting their minds to the challenge. And a whole external ecosystem of folks such as building architects, office designers, social researchers, technologists, and workplace consultants are bringing forth their ideas, too.
Some of the latest thinking, backed by solutions, has come from a tech sector partnership that pairs the customer relationship management (CRM) expertise of Salesforce with the engineering/Internet of Things (IoT) know-how of Siemens and a couple of companies in its Smart Infrastructure portfolio. The idea is that creating a safe office environment is achievable if you’re able to orchestrate the processes, people, and things comprising a connected workplace and enable organizational leaders to make decisions based on real-time data, as the companies shared in a joint press release issued earlier this week.
The return-to-office solutions stemming from the partnership will include:
  • Touchless office, with use of mobile “boarding passes” for building and elevator entry
  • Safe occupancy management system, for use in reserving conference room and desks
  • Contract tracing, enabled with real-time data
For these solutions, Salesforce is contributing a new suite of applications and advisory resources called, powered by its Customer 360 CRM platform. includes a variety of components, with more to come, Salesforce said. Today the suite features:
  • Workplace Command Center – for monitoring return-to-work readiness, assessing employee wellness, and streamline shift management
  • Contact tracing – for manually tracking health-related interactions; this manual process can be augmented with data pulled from the safe occupancy management system
  • Emergency response management – for allocating health, government, and private sector resources and services
  • Rapid crisis response – for maintaining connectivity to employees and customers and allowing for data-driven decision making via Salesforce Care
  • Workforce reskilling – via Salesforce myTrailhead learning management system, for training on skills necessary in new business environment
As for Siemens, it has initially tapped two of its Smart Infrastructure portfolio companies for these return-to-office solutions: Enlighted, which offers a building IoT platform, and Comfy, which has a workforce experience solution.
  • When placed around a building, Enlighted smart sensors will collect data that enterprises will be able to use to gain real-time insight and analytics on building usage and occupancy, as well as provide location services for people and assets, the companies said.
  • Comfy’s Safe Workplace solution is multipurpose, too. An employee-facing app provides management the means of keeping people informed (and productive) while enabling employees to book meeting spaces and desks, as mentioned above. In addition, employees can use the app to search for and navigate to health and safety amenities and request cleaning services, the companies said. Workplace strategists get insight to workspace use via an analytics dashboard.
In announcing this partnership, Salesforce and Siemens said they hope not only to allow real-time, data-driven decision making for re-occupancy efforts of today but also a “flexible framework for future workplace experience.” The companies are putting their money where their mouths are, so to speak. Siemens and Salesforce will be the first to deploy the new solutions in their own offices, including Siemens Smart Infrastructure headquarters in Zug, Switzerland, and Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.