Internet of Things has the potential to create unlimited opportunity as well as cause significant disruption. As per trend predictions, physical spaces like cities, factories, and offices will eventually become “smart spaces” within which people will connect through multiple touchpoints and sensory channels, leading to an ambient experience.
Factors like energy efficiency, workplace safety and higher productivity are driving the uptake in the smart office market. Faster, better, smarter has become the norm of modern workplaces.
This article deliberates on the possibilities of Internet of Things (IoT) in the workplace and the implications of the changing workplace.
Re-imagined workspaces – The implications
IoT creates renewed, agile workplaces, integrating people and technology to accelerate outcomes. However, businesses need to understand well the implications of such connectedness and ensure productive outcomes from the resulting smarter offices. Let us unravel few key consequences of connected offices:
- Proof of technology prowess
Connected enterprises need to constantly prove to their customers, partners as well as employees their agile ways of working when it comes to technology adoption, and managing multitude of devices and their complex interactions with ease. Any small incident that does not align with their vision of a connected organization might have heavy repercussions. For e.g., having a visitor wait in a long queue to park his vehicle because of manual processes, may not be in sync with the tech-savvy and forward-looking enterprise image that they want to portray.
In IoT enabled organizations, employees have access to the right tools and platforms to deliver their best at all times. Workplace dynamics, aspects of quality, connectivity, safety, etc. affect operations and the overall productivity.
- Improved work flexibility
Organizations are increasingly adopting flexible working policies. The ability to connect from anywhere at any time not only create a better work life balance, but also promote an environment of trust, innovation and collaboration. Along with flexibility, IoT also enables modern offices to focus on enabling teams to work smarter by having the right infrastructure available at the right time without incurring additional costs.
- Information security challenges
Increased connectivity of the sharing economy also poses new risks, which were not present in earlier times when information was accessed only in the office. Thus, IoT-enabled organizations must have policies and practices in place to ensure security of the connected devices, data, applications platforms and people.
Office transformation – The new possibilities
The fusion of the physical and virtual environments ushered by disruptive digital technology has created new modes of collaboration, intelligence-sharing and business efficiency (See Figure 1). Here are some of the key opportunities for connected office environments:
1. Ensuring energy efficiency
Connected devices automatically put off appliances, thereby cutting down energy expenses.
2. Building safer workplaces
Connecting cameras, sensors, and access control systems to the office IoT ecosystem ensures workplace safety, be it physical harm, malware threat or information theft.
3. Creating ambient workspaces
Smart lighting systems that adjust to light patterns, room temperature that self-regulates based on the weather outside and other such IoT based workspace solutions not only create a more enjoyable work experience but also improve employee focus and efficiency, thus increasing overall productivity.
4. Optimal workstation and meeting room allocation
With IoT connectivity, occupancy and space utilization of meeting rooms and desk allocation can be easily monitored and optimized. Dynamic seat/meeting room allocations can reduce operational costs by a great extent.
5. Streamlining visitor management, parking and catering
An IoT based system can also be used to improve visitor/customer experience by providing end-to-end support starting from finding a parking spot, quicker processing, and an enhanced office and canteen experience, leveraging data from connected devices.