Recent leaps in technology, data speed, and cloud storage are making the office much more efficient these days. Modern office design is utilizing IoT technology in order to keep the workplace running smoothly. You might be wondering what IoT technology is exactly. Well, it's simple, IoT stands for Internet of Things and it is the connectivity of any smart object to other smart objects when paired to a Wi-fi network. If you're still confused, take any modern device such as, a smartphone, apple watch, or a computer and then connect it with any random electronic device in your office. These can include a coffee machine, lamps, photocopiers, doors, etc. This type of technology is going to become increasingly valuable in your workplace because it reflects something about your company culture. Efficiency is the keyword here, just imagine being able to control your entire office with your phone. Getting text-like notifications when printer ink is running low, or when guests are at your front door. Let's take a look at some more ways IoT technology is influencing office design.
What the Future Office Looks Like
According to Gartner, an IT consulting company, by the year 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices. A huge portion of IoT implementation in the office is security technology. There are plenty of situations in which a workplace needs top notch security, such as for employees who work late, or large buildings with many people to keep track of. Employees, CEOs, or security guards can utilize there smart phones to look at the security camera feed to monitor who is coming and going. Smart locks are another way to insure quality security, as they are eliminating the need for keys or lock changes, as all you need is a code.
Other IoT implementation includes smart light bulbs that can wow guests or potential clients with dramatic lighting, then can be switched back to normal lighting when it's time to work. Temperature can also be controlled by individual people for their individual needs. Each of these can shut down automatically when the sensors detect a room isn't being used, saving you money. Conference room booking systems coordinate between phones and computers to remind employees about upcoming meetings as well as queue up your PowerPoint presentation upon your arrival to the meeting.
Advantages to Connectivity in the Office
IoT has many advantages, one being fewer mistakes. Data entry, inventory tracking, and customer order fulfillment and billing information will all be organized and easily accessible. Energy savings and safety are the next big advantage. We already talked about security, but another example for safety would be machinery. If someone were to get too close to a forklift, employee ID badges would set off the sensor on the machine and it would be able to apply the breaks on its own, saving the employee and company expenses on workplace hazards.
Employees will be able to customize their work space, which will make them feel appreciated. Smart rooms are able to control temperature, music, lighting levels, and even white noise. These elements can increase your employee's productivity and comfort.
Challenges to Consider for your Office Design
Challenges of this technology are the complexity of the office systems. This can include the need to train people to use the technology at hand, as well as hiring a special IT staff to maintain, repair, and install these intricate systems. Some sensors can also be sort of pointless. These include a smartphone having the ability to close and open your blinds, when people are perfectly capable of performing a mindless task such as this by themselves. These not so important features are included in the big price tag that IoT comes with, which is a big reason people aren't buying in just yet.
IoT and Employee Privacy
There is a controversy that surrounds IoT technology. Although this is not meant to be Big Brother-esk, some employees might perceive it this way. This technology will be able to track everything you do from your smartphone, which will then be entered into the databases it's connected to. It's okay though because it's all anonymous and not made for employee monitoring.
The Internet of Things has great potential in the office place, offering wonderful opportunities to society both in our offices and personal lives. Efficiency is going to skyrocket, and tasks will become increasingly easier. Employee comfort, job satisfaction, and creativity will rise as this technology sets in. It's not really something we can stop, for this technology will be taking over in the years to come.