The Internet of Things (IOT) is, broadly speaking, a term for everything connected to the internet. Over the past few years it has been increasingly used to describe objects that effectively ‘talk’ to each other.
From vacuum cleaners to thermostats and activity trackers, our homes have become ‘smart’ thanks to rapid technological advances.
In the UK, one of the most common uses of the IOT is home energy. This enables users to control heating and lighting remotely. Another popular home product is Amazon’s Alexa – the voice-activated device which responds to users’ hands-free commands. Alexa helps with anything from playing music, providing traffic reports, sharing recipes and reading books.
So how will the IOT shape traditional offices? A report by Markets and Markets predicted that the smart office market will be worth $46.11 billion by the end of 2023, which would be a growth of 12.94% since 2017. This figure shows the impact smart products combined with the IOT are set to have on the traditional market
Here’s our predictions…
Smartphones and wearable devices already offer a myriad of apps which vastly help productivity. From accessing documents on the move to checking into conference calls whilst abroad. They have provided users with an increased level of flexibility, removing the need to be in a conventional office to get tasks done.
Now, with the introduction of apps from the likes of Salesforce.com, employees can access vital company data on the move. Users can manage leads, accounts and opportunities all from their smartphones, which means tasks can be managed remotely.
Advancements like this are likely to increase staff productivity, making remote working far easier and more streamlined than before.
Amazon is already paving the way when it comes to voice control in the office with the Alexa for Business programme. Dubbed as the system that enables teams to ‘get more work done’, Alexa has a range of applications in the office.
Staff can ask if meeting rooms are free and book them through the device. It can also be used instead of speaker phones when on calls in meetings. Those who already have a home device can also link up to the company network and access corporate applications.
With the rise of hot-desking, it can be a pain having to adjust a workstation every time you move. Fear not though, as it’s predicted that smart furniture will be able to recognise a user and automatically adjust the set-up to suit their preferences.
Some desks will also know when it’s time to change position, helping users to avoid stiffness or posture related issues.
Improved Energy Efficiency
Often something of a bug-bear for many business owners – especially when staff embark on air con wars during extreme weather. There’s always someone in the office who’s piping hot whilst another person sits in ‘arctic’ conditions. The crux of the problem being that everyone has their own personal thermostat and keeping the whole office happy can be tricky.
However, with the introduction of ‘smart thermostat’ apps, air con disputes could soon become a thing of the past. Google’s Nest Thermostat, for example, learns from people and gets to know the optimum temperature for them. It turns itself down when the office is empty and has helped save over 8 billion kWh of energy since 2011.
Things to Keep in Mind
Whilst the IOT has and will continue to help the workplace, there are a few important elements to keep in mind.
Whilst employees may be happy to share personal details like purchasing habits with smart devices at home, they may not be as comfortable with this at work. If you are considering introducing new smart devices into the office, be sure to brief staff first so they understand what it means for them and their privacy.
Have a backup plan for WiFi:
As advanced as these smart, connected offices are, they are all dependent on WiFi. Be sure to have a backup plan in the case that your power or internet goes down.
If you would like to find out more about the IOT and how it could shape your office for the better, we’d be happy to help. give us a call on 0115 939 7572. Alternatively, drop [email protected] an email. We cover Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and surrounding areas!