Spaces as a Service

Spaces As A Service was a revolutionary concept set up by Antony Slumbers at BMP’19 conference.

What this concept means? Spaces as a service, described by Antony, can be defined in two ways:

  • Provide the spaces and services appropriate to the job to be done
  • Procured on-demand

It is a broad definition although it will have deep impact on how spaces can be considered, and thus, manage. How this concept will affect Commercial Real Estate?

Old Real Estate is dead

Technology has changed the way that people work. No doubt about it. And it has also changed how spaces must be designed, even if you think it is not in that way. Hopefully you are not one of the negationist of this change. If you are, just keep in mind that old work style will be obsolete in short time.

What space designers must do is thinking on them with a different approach. People do things in spaces and so, we should design them based on Activity-Based Working (ABW) to adapt them to employee’s behavior.

And this is a great leap. The main goal of the ABW mindset is being able to do this transformation for Commercial Real Estate. Companies, and overall people don’t want an office, a physical space to work in. They want a productive workforce and even, sometimes happy employees. And that means spaces should be transformed to address new demanding business skills and new people mindsets. The space should work for people, not upside down.

“Don`t work for the space, make the space work for you”

The days when people had to adapt to the space have gone. It doesn’t make sense anymore. It is time to make workplaces, the assets, helping people be more productive, happier and even be a healthier environment for jobs. It is a new era.

But is Commercial Real Estate ready for this transformation?

What does Commercial Real Estate need?

Flexible working will be the future of Commercial Real Estate and the concept of “Space as a Service” is the main trend within this sector. But what does Real Estate need to make this transformation real?

As Mr. Slumbers explained at BMP’19 conference, there will be three main pillars:

  1. Building: understand the building: temperature, air quality, light, noise. Summing up, comfortability.
  2. How people are using the building: desire and most used paths, occupancy, utilizations, footfall, relations between them, etc
  3. How people are: jobs to be done, wants, needs, desires…

It will be crucial to adapt space to these bases along the time in an iterative way of build-measure-learn and start again. A highly lean approach. Nowadays, Commercial Real Estate developments stop at the building phase, after designing and construction, and it is necessary to move forward and complete the circle.


How Technology will help Commercial Real Estate

The approach of “Space as a Service” must be based on technology. There is no other way. Once again, technology as a mean not as a goal.

We need to adapt the space to this new paradigm, how are we going to measure the use of the space without technology in an objective and scientists way?

It will be necessary to look for the proper technology in order to manage our space as a service and refocused the space around people.

Technologies as AI, IoT, advanced analytics, etc are helping Commercial Real Estate managers and operators and Digital Transformation Departments to improve user and employees experience, increase productivity, raise the income per square meter… and this is just the beginning. We should be sure that this new mindset will transform the way that we manage and use the space.

There are a pretty bunch of possibilities. How can we increase user experience? Imagine that you have a 5th floor building office and almost 80% of your employees have flexible space for work. When they arrive early in the morning to the building they must decide where they work that day, and they have several situations:

  1. Without any additional information, they go directly to one of the floors and look for a place there. Maybe they are right, and this floor is just what they need but maybe not, and they must wait for a free workstation. This could be frustrating and for sure, it is a waste of time.
  2. The second way is to see in the entrance a screen with the free and occupied workstations and decide previously if they want to be in a more crowded floor or in more private one if we need more concentration for the day tasks.

If you allow people to choose their workday experience, they will improve their productivity and their engagement.


In summary, Old Commercial Real Estate is dead. A new paradigm is already here. It has arrived to have a long and fruitful life. Workplaces and offices and Real Estate in general, need to adapt their spaces to this situation. And they have in technology the best friend to achieve the transformation.

If you want to dig deeper into this “Spaces as a Service” concept, we encourage you to watch the conference called “Space as a Service re-thinking business model in Real Estate” driven by Antony Slumbers in the Nordic PropTech Summit 2017 in this video.