Today, nearly everything in your business can be connected to the internet and operated with a mobile app or smart hub. This is what is called the Internet of Things (IoT). In its simplest sense, the IoT consists of a network of connected devices, or “things,” fitted with sensors, software, and other technologies that enable these devices to become intelligent and communicate with one another over the internet.
If you are currently using wearable fitness trackers and voice assistants at home, you are already familiar with some ways in which you can harness the IoT.
As IoT devices steadily permeate homes, offices have been playing catch up. There are now many smart solutions out there designed to digitally transform business operations for the sake of convenience, efficiency, and productivity. In this article, we cover a variety of examples of the IoT in the workplace, broken down into the following sections:
While internet-enabled office printers are already widely in use, a new breed of network printers offers smarter solutions in terms of maintenance. Before the IoT, investigating the status of a printer required human intervention, which was often a costly effort.
IoT-powered printers continually track their paper and ink levels in real time. They then send automatic alerts to support technicians before supplies run out. By connecting to inventory systems, they can also check the amount of spare ink and paper your business has in stock, and can even place an order for new supplies on your behalf. So, no more manual requests for maintenance and inventory delivery.
Appropriate office lighting is a workplace necessity. The type and intensity of the lighting can make a huge difference in your business. Smart bulbs allow you to take complete control of your lighting situation by customising, adjusting, and scheduling lighting for greater efficiency. These lights turn on and off automatically when someone enters or leaves a room, leaving you with energy savings benefits. You can also set the brightness and colour balance to minimise eye strain and discomfort, or create a specific atmosphere.
You may find that some tasks that aren’t particularly complicated become difficult to manage due to the sheer number of other office chores that require your attention. A smart assistant has the capability to take care of these little responsibilities. They respond to voice commands and carry out tasks, from creating appointments calendars to reading emails to sending a to-do task list to multiple employees, and even checking traffic conditions.
It is often underestimated how important the indoor climate is to employee comfort and well-being. When it’s too hot or too cold inside, productivity levels may suffer. In addition to setting your office temperature for energy savings, a smart thermostat lets you control your HVAC system to create a pleasant working environment. You simply schedule your preferred temperature settings on a mobile app and the smart thermostat will do the rest. What’s more, it can even learn your temperature settings and automatically adjust the heating and cooling.
As one of the most popular drinks in the workplace today, coffee has long been used as a way to give employees the boost they need to stay on top of their tasks. With a coffee machine connected to the IoT, you can schedule your morning brew before you arrive at the office. Smart coffee machines monitor the level of milk and beans as well as the condition of important parts. And like IoT printers, they send maintenance and inventory alerts to ensure that the machine is functional and has plenty of supplies at all times.
Given the fast-paced office environments of today, investing in IoT solutions to make your day-to-day processes and workflows easier should be the next logical step for your organisation. One thing to remember though: your future IoT network is going to tap heavily into your business wireless or fibre internet. To ensure your devices perform at optimal level, you need a fast and reliable internet connection. If you believe that your current service is not ready for a smart office, have a look at Nashua’s business internet solutions which are tailored to your specific requirements.