XY Sense is using AI to plan the offices of the future - LaunchVic

XY Sense is using AI to plan the offices of the future

Case Studies

Last Updated: Wednesday 25 October, 2023

With more and more employees heading back to their office cubicles post-COVID and return-to-office mandates being enforced across the globe, AI-powered workplace occupancy platform XY Sense is helping companies design workplaces that people actually want to come back to.

The Melbourne-based technology company uses its smart sensor, often mounted on the ceiling of a workspace, to count the number of people in offices in real time as well as to anonymously understand dwell times in specific spaces such as at desks or in meeting rooms.

This information, served up through an intuitive workplace analytics platform, helps employers better tailor office spaces and services to employee needs, power smart building integrations for a frictionless workplace experience and reduce both the cost and carbon footprint of offices.

Founded by CEO Alex Birch and CTO Luke Murray in 2016, XY Sense spent three years in stealth mode, perfecting its next-generation AI-powered hardware and workplace analytics solution, before officially launching in Australia in July 2020.

Since then XY Sense has expanded globally to 17 different countries, across five continents, with offices in Melbourne, Sydney and the USA, and plans to expand even further.

Currently, the company has 40 employees and typically works with organisations with large corporate offices or campuses in multiple cities.

The startup offers three main products – its Area Sensors, Entry Sensors and Insights Platform – offering a coverage range of up to 1000 square feet or 20 desks per office sensor.

Coming out the other side of the pandemic, Alex said there is now almost a spotlight on the services being offered by XY Sense.

“We co-founded XY Sense and set out on this journey to build, what we thought to be, the holy grail for large enterprises, helping them to understand and optimise their second largest expense, their office space,” he said.

“So that was 2016. Fast forward to 2019, we launched a market and we saw some great traction in Australia.

“The pandemic really accelerated global interest in our solution because the status quo of planning your office space by planning one desk per employee was thrown out the window and the sheer amount of waste going on was thrown into sharp relief.

“With the shift to hybrid work and the need to earn people’s commute into the office, there’s huge demand for what we’re doing.”


The XY Sense team

Scaling Up

In recognition of their rapid growth XY were one of nine companies selected for 30X30, LaunchVic’s executive education program for C-suite leaders at Victoria’s fastest growing tech companies.

For Alex, the quality of the introductions and mentors in the 30X30 Program shone through and were testament to the strength of the program.

“You’re rubbing shoulders with like-minded companies who are growing at a similar pace, it’s been great to share ideas,” he said.

“The mentors are top notch and they have really been able to assist us in different facets of the business.”

As part of the 30X30 program and with support from Global Victoria, XY Sense also received a $6,000 grant to assist the startup in expanding to a new market.

Now, they have their eyes set on India.

“So we’ve really had a positive outcome out of the introduction to Gopi Shankar, who is the Director of Trade and Industry with Global Victoria,” Alex said.

“But India is not the only one. We’ve certainly had some positive interactions and connections. So that’s one part of 30X30 which has been really positive for us. Just connecting us to some really valuable relationships that are helping us expand internationally.”

XY Sense Head of Operations Jane Watson, who participated in the Ops stream, added that the program had helped them to lay out the company’s goals more clearly going forward.

“We had a relatively good handle on what XY Sense’s strategic goals were and we went into the program with our strategy on one page,” she said.

“We then realised that we had a lot of extraneous stuff on there that wasn’t necessarily hammering our priorities home. It was more values-based rather than ‘here’s what we’re doing.’

“We were able to get a lot more sharper on that front and that’s the practice and process that’s really carried us through from that.”

Up Next

So, what’s next for XY Sense? Alex said the startup was focusing on scaling its core technology solution offering across the world, further refining its go-to-market with stricter qualifications around XY Sense’s ideal customer profile and backing the XY team – who he says constantly punches above their weight.

“It’s all about maintaining our focus as we scale. But we’re excited about what the future holds.”