As homes steadily adapt to smart technology, so too are offices are also increasingly adopting this trend. Also known as the responsive or digital workplace – the smart office is a space that is equipped with a number of connected devices – the internet of things (IoT) – that facilitate various operations, and generally monitor and control the office environment.
As employees increasingly value convenience, and become more confident with using new technologies, workplaces will have no choice but to adapt to the digital revolution. Factors such as a growing demand for smart office solutions, and an increasing need for safety and security systems at the workplace are propelling the growth of the smart office market. While global predictions vary, African Analysis predicted that in South Africa the IoT installed would reach 35 million by 2020.
The smart home exemplifies some of the trends that will be nested in the smart office in the future, such as the following.
Smart offices are not far behind smart homes at all when it comes to lighting. Though it’s still far from the norm, several offices are now introducing motion sensors to turn off lights in empty rooms. This trend is not only about convenience, as businesses not only become more eco-friendly in their energy use, but also save money by switching to smart lighting.
While not as common in home security solutions, smart security systems that include motion sensors, remote monitoring, smart locks and video surveillance are a common feature of modern corporate security. Corporates are increasingly looking at new technologies such as facial recognition to upgrade security and manage access for staff.
Rise of voice assistants
Among the most popular home technology are voice assistants, such as the smart speaker that one can use to switch on connected light bulbs or play music in the home. While voice technology is not yet as prevalent in the workplace, the next generation of voice tech could be more integrated into corporate systems, such as making it possible for employees to book meeting rooms or manage workplace apps at a command.
While standing desks are now a common thing in the office, in the future it is expected that desks will learn to understand people’s preferences and adjust to their needs automatically. This will help employees to be more comfortable and therefore more productive at work.
An office without walls
The idea behind the responsive workplace is to integrate operations under one system which can be empowered with machine-learning capabilities. Smart offices are expected to boost productivity by freeing up employees’ time so they can focus on the work technology can’t do.
The smart office also makes it possible to extend the office far beyond its physical walls, allowing more complete collaboration outside the four walls of the workplace. Experts in machine learning say “the smartest office may be no office at all”. Allowing employees to work where it’s most convenient for them, not only improves productivity and morale, but expenditures are also reduced.
By introducing the Internet of Things at your workplace, you can streamline routine tasks, increase workplace productivity, and make your employees happier with more convenient working environments offered to them.