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With smarter properties as a common goal

Together with Yanzi, we offer Coor SmartSpaces, an efficient sensor solution for workspace management. We will soon offer a new version of the service, which will make it possible to optimize entire facilities rather than office areas. But the road to success has not been straight. Thanks to a mutual openness, our collaboration has grown stronger, and survived both a bankruptcy and a pandemic.

About Coor SmartSpaces

Coor SmartSpaces is a service where Yanzi’s wireless sensors measure, among other things, how many people are in the office, how many desks are occupied, and whether a booked meeting room is being used or standing empty. The sensors can also measure temperature, particle levels, noise and luminosity.

In a cloud-based program, there are pre-defined KPIs and graphs for analyses, which provide an objective decisional basis for optimization of office areas. With the help of Coor SmartSpaces, many customers have reduced their costs by 30% while increasing employee well-being and efficiency.

Yanzi and Coor met in 2014 at the Intel Ignition Lab in Kista, Sweden. Mattias Wahlgren, Innovation Manager within Workplace at Coor, and Mattias Danielsson, CEO for Yanzi Networks, have known each other almost as long. It’s noticeable when the two Mattias talk about their collaboration. The dialogue is relaxed and laid-back. Sometimes, they become nostalgic, like when they speak of milestones along the way. Even if things seem promising at present, it hasn’t always been so. Coor and Yanzi have, during their collaboration, been through a bankruptcy and a pandemic.

Extensive experience meets new ideas

Coor is striving to become the most innovative FM provider in the Nordic region and has a close collaboration with startups to develop solutions that help companies to optimise their workplaces.
“At Coor, we’re continually looking for partners who can contribute with substantial value. When we met Yanzi for the first time, we were curious about their solution, as we saw that it had potential to solve the challenges that our customers were facing. At that time, we were working with another sensor producer, and Yanzi was focused on the consumer market, explains Mattias Wahlgren, Innovation Manager within Workplace at Coor.
The story could have ended here, but the companies stayed in touch.
“Activity-based workspaces became more and more popular during this period, and there was a major need to find out which areas were actually needed. We saw major opportunities here to help companies make decisions based on facts, in line with their actual needs," says Mattias Danielsson, CEO for Nordomatic PropTech AB, who develops Yanzi.
When Yanzi shortly thereafter changed direction from B2C to B2B, the companies started to collaborate, and Coor installed Yanzi’s sensors at their head office in Kista, as well as with a pilot customer.

The following years were characterised by a close collaboration, where Yanzi further developed its service together with Coor’s workplace strategists, who provided Yanzi’s developers with insights as to what customers were demanding, and which analysis yields the most value.
“When we combine our experience and knowledge with new innovative ideas, we develop efficient solutions that help our customers to reduce their climate impact and their costs. That’s the very core of our innovation work," explains Mattias Wahlgren.
“We’ve always had a close collaboration, and thanks to Coor providing us with their customer insights, we could focus our development efforts on those functions that were most in demand. One of the advantages with our solution is that we can support multiple sensors in a large area, as well as just a few in a small area, which makes it easy to scale and adjust to different needs," says Mattias Danielsson.

Coor and Yanzi signed a commercial agreement in 2018, and launched the SmartSpaces solution in the Nordic market. Yanzi was declared a unicorn company in the same year, and acquired by an American investment fund.

The road to success is not straight

Coor’s and Yanzi’s close collaboration continued, and more and more companies saw the advantages of finding out how their office areas were used. But suddenly the American investment fund crashed and declared Yanzi bankrupt in June 2020.
“That was something that we hadn’t seen coming. I remember that it was a very shaky period where we had daily contact with Yanzi and weekly work meetings with our customers to monitor the current status," says Mattias Wahlgren.
“That openness wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t had such a good collaboration and been so open and honest during our shared journey," adds Mattias Danielsson.
After a few turbulent months, he bought the bankruptcy estate together with some former colleagues and one of the company’s founders. Yanzi was saved, and Nordomatic came in as a partner.
“The moral of that story is that the road to success is not straight. It hasn’t been all roses the entire way," says Mattias Danielsson.

New functions help the companies during and after the pandemic

But every cloud has a silver lining. Yanzi took a new approach, and development really started to pick up. Meanwhile, the world had to deal with new challenges due to the pandemic, which led to Yanzi, with the help of Coor’s experts, developing an analysis tool, Insights, a footfall sensor that measures how many people are present in a facility in real-time, and a Health sensor that measures the indoor environment.
“Demand for these solutions remains high. Many companies want to see their employees return to the office but the behavioural pattern has changed and the hybrid working practice is here to stay. We’re seeing a general trend where competition to attract employees is stronger, and so it’s important to be able to offer a good work environment," explains Mattias Danielsson.
“Demand is also increasing due to the climate challenges we’re all facing. There’s lots to be gained both from a climate perspective, work environment point of view, and purely in terms of costs for a company that understands that they can lower the temperature a little in all their meeting rooms," adds Mattias Wahlgren.

With an eye on smarter properties

The next step in the collaboration is to enable optimization of entire facilities by such means as regulating the temperature and air-conditioning. Something that is possible since Yanzi has become a part of Nordomatic, that is a leading provider of solutions for smart properties.
“Coor’s long-term vision has always been to connect the sensors to the property system. We’ve now reached this point, which means that we can offer a more extensive solution to our customers, and make a real difference for the environment," says Mattias Wahlgren.
As properties represent around 40% of global energy consumption, Coor and Yanzi see great potential for companies wishing to reduce their energy consumption, and therefore costs and climate impact.
“It’s really cool that we, along with Nordomatic, have a very extensive offering, and can help customers to succeed in their ESG work. We’re only at the beginning of the journey," concludes Mattias Danielsson.

About Yanzi

Yanzi has supplied sensor solutions since 2008. The company initially turned to small business owners who needed cost-efficient and user-friendly solutions. The first customers were farmers, who used Yanzi’s solution to monitor cattle and property. Yanzi then packaged smart home solutions for individuals, and shortly thereafter, theactivity-based offices increased the importance of mapping for companies. Covid accelerated the transformation, and the ratio of number of desks to employees became the focus. It became even more important to have the correct areas, and that employees were sure to find a place when they arrived at the office. The next major step will be the adoption of a holistic approach to entire properties.

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