How to turn your boring office into a ‘smart office’

When you think of an office environment it’s hardly the most exhilarating thing you can imagine. A plethora of desktops, printers, stale coffee mugs and workers monotonously clicking away waiting for the clock to strike 5pm; it may seem bleak, but for most offices this is reality.

People turn up for 8 hours a day, carry out their daily tasks and then leave. The machines power down, the kettle stops boiling, the staff stop clicking and the lights go off. That’s an office as many people know it.

But what if there was a way to make offices across the world less boring; to make them more efficient and a more enjoyable place for people to be?

With the advancement in technology over recent years the ‘smart office’ is no longer just an idea thought up by somebody in a lab-coat, it’s real. It’s now time for us to begin taking advantage of the technology and turn our out-of-date office spaces into ‘smart offices’.

Making the change from drab, boring office to smart office is not as complex as you’d have once thought. By investing in just a few innovative IoT products you can transform your employee’s days from dull and boring, to new and exciting.

As generation we’re now expecting processes to be automated. The recent release of bettingexpert SmartBets is a great example of how we’re moving into a time where we want the thinking to be done for us; even when it comes to recreational activities.

The power of smart devices

In modern society the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart, connected devices will soon become the new norm.

More and more devices that we use on a day-to-day basis come with embedded M2M SIM Cards. This allows them to send and receive data, not only to and from us, but also other devices. Having devices that can communicate with each other without human intervention opens a large number of doors when it comes to autonomous processing.

Today the majority of new household appliances can be equipped with smart capabilities in order to make our lives easier. However, it’s not at home where IoT will have the biggest impact on society overall.

Connected devices have the power to revolutionise the way we do business across a number of major industries. In fact, in many cases IoT is already playing a huge part in the way people do business.

Connecting to the cloud

Getting connected to the cloud is a critical step for any business when they’re looking at ‘getting smart’. There are a huge number of cloud services available that give your business maximum flexibility.

Exciting ‘smart office’ products

NestThe Nest Thermostat is undoubtedly one of the most widely known and implemented smart devices in offices around the world. Its simple interface and app integration allows you to set rules and control the temperature of your office remotely via your mobile phone.

This kind of flexibility means that you can guarantee employees aren’t wandering into a freezing cold office in the mornings, or overheating in the afternoons during summer. It also allows one person (or a few people) to be in charge, meaning there are no more thermostat wars.

Another bonus to having a connected thermostat is that is allows you to monitor energy usage, see where there it’s being wasted and therefore save money on your bills.

Ring Video DoorbellThe ring video doorbell is an innovative twist on other modern internet-enabled security camera. As well as offering motion-responsive video recording and alerts, Ring also acts as the doorbell itself.

This means you can have doorbell alerts show up on an office mobile, so even if you’re short staffed at weekends you’ll never miss a visitor. Ring also allows you to talk back to visitors via your phone; meaning you can leave instructions for couriers if the package isn’t of optimum importance.

Although Ring isn’t the only device that offers these features, it’s definitely among the easiest to effectively implement.

Sonos Connect:AMPAlthough it may seem trivial, adding small technological perks to the office such as this can make a real difference.

You can control the music in your office or break room by installing a Wi-Fi stereo system. The Sonos CONNECT:AMP lets you stream music from your smartphone, tablet or computer to give you complete control.

Sonos can connect with up to 32 devices using a secure wireless mesh network called Sonosnet; meaning you can have many potential users. Technology like this is great if you have different areas of the office with differing music tastes.

Phillips Hue Lighting  – Mass amounts of research into lighting in offices has been done over the years. The consensus view is that ‘good lighting’ is enough illumination that allows people to see printed or handwritten documents clearly, however not too much that it creates a glare on screens.

Phillips Hue Lighting allows you to set and adjust lighting levels that can adapt to the level of natural light entering the room. Employees are consistently working in an environment that won’t damage their eyes.

Another benefit of connected lighting is that it gives building owners and facility managers the opportunity to monitor and manage a building’s occupancy patterns. With access to this information they can simplify business processes, optimize energy efficiency and save money.

Amazon EchoDevices such as the Amazon Echo are fantastic to have in the office. They can carry out a number of daily mundane daily tasks such as adding events to your calendar with its voice activated software.

Echo can also provide the role of office assistant when it comes to certain things. It will be able to follow news and social media feeds for mention of certain named keywords, and then is able to read them to you when asked.

On top of this, Echo will be able to sort through emails for you using sender names and keywords, alerting you out loud when certain important emails come in. It also has the capabilities to transcribe a whole conversation, meaning you don’t need a note taker in meetings.

However, despite all of this, the key benefit of an Amazon Echo is its integration capabilities. You should be able to link your Echo to all of your other devices, allowing you to control heating, lighting etc. via voice.

Connected offices of the future

At this moment in time, technology is at a point where our office can be connected in many aspects; however, as we move forward there’ll be more and more ‘smart’ devices available to us.

It’s feasible that within the next 10 years or so workplace wearables will be rolled out on a large scale. In some industries these wearables could be used as simple replacements for our key fobs and badges; however in some areas they may go a bit further.

There is definitely a case for employees that work in high risk jobs, such as police officers or firefighters to be equipped with tracking devices as a safety measure, but the use of wearables in our office environments may be widely introduced to monitor employees’ health and wellness. There’s also an argument that employers may just want to keep tabs on their employees, which brings up a whole host of ethical discussion points.

There are concerns amongst certain people that going smart will eventually lead to us (humans) having jobs taken by robots. Although there may be a few jobs that are under threat by the evolution of smart technology, the theory that a large number of people will find themselves out of work is false.

The development in our technology and devices will help employees carry out their daily tasks, not render them redundant.

Are ‘smart offices’ a good thing for employees or employers?

Transforming your ordinary office into a ‘smart office’ can help improve employee productivity by making their lives easier. With many of the daily distractions and tasks now catered to by your devices, employees will be free to concentrate on their designated role.

On top of this the added flexibility offered by a ‘smart office’ will inevitably make for a happy workplace; and we all know happy employees work harder. Bearing this in mind, going smart is a no brainer for most businesses.

Overall converting to a ‘smart office’ should, in theory, benefit all parties involved. Business owners will be able to reduce costs and increase staff productivity, while staff members will have access to new simplified processes as well as the ideal working environment.

Category: B2B News

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