AI – is the genie finally out of the bottle?

HomeResourcesBlogAI – is the genie finally out of the bottle?
AI robot
The impact of AI
Our philosophy
Empowering our clients

With its phenomenal rate of adoption, AI is set to change the world at a rate unprecedented since the early days of the internet. While it is easy to follow the doom merchants, robots are not taking over – but they can make work a more pleasurable experience.

Let’s explore some of the ways this is making an impact, and the exciting plans NFS has to augment our workplace management software with our new AI assistant.

The impact of AI

AI is ushering in tremendous productivity and societal change, and like the internet and social media it will be a disruptor creating new roles as well as replacing old ones.

Microsoft are bang on the money with their approach to AI. CEO Satya Nadella says:

Satya Nadella

“I see these technologies acting as a co-pilot, helping people do more with less.”

Away from the hype around ChatGPT, organizations have quietly been using AI for some time to improve and augment their existing operations.

Recent Gartner research* found:

“In 2023, 33% of CIOs indicated their organization had already deployed artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and 15% more believed they will deploy AI within the next year.”

Here are just three examples of how AI is already changing the world for the better:

  1. Thanks to AI, programmers can speed up coding time by 500% – a week’s worth of human coding tasks can be done in a day – in fact, it can be done by lunchtime Monday. By having vision and shifting focus from production to creative ideas – programmers can free their time and headspace for innovative ideas and improving the user experience.
  2. In the field of healthcare AI is also shifting the needle. Leading educators such as Harvard Medical School are already preparing for digital transformation. Harvard is using AI to accurately predict pancreatic cancer three years earlier than was previously possible – giving patients potentially up to five years more life than is it was undetected.
  3. The United Nations aims to halve the number of road deaths by 2030. AI improves the quality of crash data collection and analysis, providing insights on how to avert collisions, while improving the response after crashes. The resulting insights help shape more effective regulatory frameworks for road safety.

AI is making an impact in the workplace. AI can make light work of tasks such as:

Workforce planning – this needs to be dynamic. Relying on spreadsheets will no longer suffice as the change in pace renders them obsolete. As McKinsey notes:

“AI-driven solutions take significantly less time to schedule the workforce than current spreadsheet-based models do and can capture unexpected changes in operations more efficiently.”

Thanks to AI, this complex and necessary task can be accomplished in moments.

Making meetings more meaningful – a Microsoft survey found people’s top motivation for a meeting was to get information to help them do their job. With AI transcription embedded in Microsoft Teams staff don’t even need to be physically present – they can access the information they need as and when. Imagine the focus time that this creates when meetings become digital artifacts rather than events staff “must” attend for fear of missing out.

Finding information – the same Microsoft survey found 62% of survey respondents say they struggle with too much time spent searching for information in their workday. With AI this time sink can be managed more effectively. AI can process and present information at a much faster pace. Rather than being a threat, AI is the tool that knowledge workers need to take of their admin and free up their time for creativity.

Increasing productivity – companies are supercharging productivity. Leading UK energy firm, Octopus Energy, are using AI to help respond to 44% of customer emails while leading law firm Allen & Overy is a bespoke AI service using it to save 1-2 hours per lawyer per week – with 3500 lawyers worldwide that’s a significant time saving!

Our philosophy

NFS see AI as a force for good. And we suggest everyone needs to embrace it in their business sooner rather than later.

Rather than viewing AI through the lens of job losses, our view is that leaders need to look at it as an aid to productivity freeing workers from tedious admin, helping them to make sense of the mountains of data generated every working day and freeing their time for the human tasks that AI can’t do yet – organizations need strategists, not note-takers!

With that positive reframing in mind, leaders should embrace as much AI as possible and look to how AI can work within and enhance their current workflow.

Having said that, we take an ethical stance on AI and have developed a framework for our AI development encompassing:

Data governance: we ensure that data used to train our AI models is accurate, complete, and representative of the users that the model will be used on.

Model development: we ensure that AI models are developed in a transparent and accountable way, and that they are subject to rigorous testing.

Model deployment: our AI models are deployed in a way that minimizes risks, and that they are subject to ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

User engagement: we ensure that users are aware of the risks and benefits of AI, and that they have the ability to control how their data is used.

Empowering our clients

At NFS, we aim to help make our clients’ working day as productive as possible while offering a great digital employee experience. We are enhancing our solution with great AI features which we plan to roll out over the next 12 months or so.

Empowering our clients

We envisage AI being used in three distinct ways to achieve these aims:

Advisory – our desk and room booking solutions already capture many data points around how individual users interact with their workspace. While facilities and real estate leaders can already run dashboards on utilization and occupancy with AI it becomes an automated and seamless process with the added benefit of actionable insights. The AI can warn of capacity, cost or environmental issues before they arise. For example, if all meeting rooms are booked it could suggest you tell your staff that no more meeting rooms are available, and they need to make meetings online only.

With AI embedded into our Rendezvous solution, users will receive useful advice about where to sit or which type of meeting space to book. It can even suggest when their colleagues and teams are going to be in the office – saving time coordinating schedules. The decision-making process can be reduced to mere seconds.

Assistive – taking this one step further, with our new AI assistant, users will also have the option to book desks and meeting space automatically. The user just asks the assistant a few questions and voila! The space is found and booked with little effort.

The AI can even schedule meetings and desks weeks or months in advance taking into account the users’ personal preferences, teams and working days. It will also suggest the resources the user needs to get the job done – room and desk booking with AV and catering can be done in one simple automated process.

Data enhancement – with AI, the ability to interrogate and analyze data at scale enables facilities and real estate leaders to get answers to complex questions within seconds, presented in beautiful dashboards.

Leaders have a wealth of data at their disposal but neither the time nor skill set to convert it into something actionable. AI takes that raw data and converts it into a convincing data story.

Managers can ask the embedded AI important questions about how the space is being utilized, what the occupancy patterns are, when the peaks and troughs in demand are etc. This can be actioned quickly – for example if the third floor is empty next Wednesday, then it can be shut off completely – saving time and money in terms of maintenance and power.

For the C-suite the AI assistant is ideal, taking the raw computations around utilization, occupancy and bookings and creating meaningful data insights and predicting future savings potential with ease.


The NFS view is that AI is a force for good and it’s important to focus on the positive benefits it will bring to human creativity and productivity.

We are practicing what we preach by introducing a number of exciting features that will enable the AI-powered knowledge worker to plan their day with purpose while giving real estate leaders all the data they need to improve the workspace experience and to drive occupancy and utilization. In the near future, our vision is for every user to have their own personalized and intelligent booking assistant/data scientist to help them plan their day and improve their workplace.

We believe AI is a tool that exists to serve us and for it to bring the utmost benefits it requires the application of human intuition and cognitive intelligence. Those who realize this will be the ones to capitalize on its potential.

*Gartner – What CIOs Need to Know About AI