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Want to know what’s going on outside of your desk? Here’s how the office is getting smarter.
There’s been a lot of hype around the futuristic spaces of the next few years. Whether this is driverless cars, drone-delivered post or even fridges which flag when we’ve run out of milk. But truth is, smarter, connected spaces are already creeping up on us. In most offices today, there’s already a series of connected “things” making life easier.
As IoT goes mainstream and we start to want our workspaces to be as smart as our workers, our cars and our homes, here are five IoT use cases already being seen in the connected office.
If there’s one thing we’re sure about in the workplace of the future (if not already), it’s that screens are going to play a big part.
This is because digital signage is incredibly easy to implement. Most offices probably already have a screen or two up on the wall, that they only need to connect to the right software, to add a new level of intelligence to their office spaces. Screens can be used throughout breakout areas, public spaces like lobbies, cafes and even on office walls to help disseminate information more easily.
From keeping employees more engaged with company news and figures, to sharing social media and customer reviews, to improving productivity with Trello boards and other dashboards.
When used in the right way, digital signs are an incredibly effective way to bring together office communications and manifest them in a physical environment.
How much do you know about the efficiency of your staff and office processes? Even with the information you do have, how much of that is based on subjective feedback?
By relying on the smart things in your office, you can create a much smarter workspace that tracks insights for you. This could mean collecting data on everything from everyday operations, to use of the office space and meeting rooms, which would show unknown trends and even errors that could be better adjusted to.
IoT is all about the digitization of the workplace. Therefore, it’s natural for many to feel anxious about what sort of effect this could have on wellbeing. If you look at how even the rise of social media is said to increase stress, anxiety and low self-esteem, the question many are asking is do we want more smart things in our workspaces?
To combat this, much of the IoT office use case is focused on ensuring the employee actually sees enough benefit in the solutions to minimize any risk.
There’s also a big data trade off when it comes to office IoT. Having smart devices track our every move, and use that data to analyze our performance, could be viewed as intrusive.
To get employees to buy in, there has to be even bigger benefits.
This could mean using wearables to better monitor and improve employee fitness levels, as well as using space and technology to increase meditation and relaxation areas for employees.
When a client comes to the connected office, every step they take should be personalized. From the message shown at the reception desk, through to the meeting room door with their name and logo on. Part of the appeal of the future connected office space is to create unique experiences. Long gone are the days where every office and cubicle looks the same.
Now, not only do staff members expect their physical spaces to be as personalized as their online ones, but clients are beginning to expect the same standard too.
Within the connected office space, this becomes much easier. This is because client-facing systems are connected with physical things. A Google calendar can speak to a screen outside a meeting room, a CRM tool to a display on a welcome sign. This allows you to easily collect data about your client (meeting time, company logo, Twitter header) and easily pull it through to the physical space around them.
How well optimized are the work spaces around us right now? Employees are incredibly invested in the place they spend upwards of 40 hours a week in. As a result, employers are beginning to recognize that company perks need to go beyond free fruit bowls.
Ensuring the physical workspace is setup to adapt to employee needs, natural circadian rhythms and even the weather outside, takes away much of the stress associated with being inside all day.
If an employer can quote that they offer an office space which is optimized for the best employee work conditions, and it’s all automated to boot, this could be a huge differentiator in attracting the right talent.
IoT is what enables this to happen. From smart lighting systems which change and adjust to light patterns, to room temperature controls which adjust to the weather outside, all create a more enjoyable work experience.
Today’s job market is incredibly fierce.
As smart connected offices continue to come into their own, we’ll see broader acceptance of IoT in mainstream society as well as more demand from potential employees. “How does IoT enable your company culture?” and “How smart is your office?” could both be questions asked of an organization at interview stage. It’s time more offices begin to consider how they might answer them.
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