Phillip Kamungoma, Digital Specialist at About IT
We live in an ever-changing era of digital transformation. The dawn of the 4th industrial revolution has brought about changes in the way we communicate, interact, and conduct business. As we become more connected, how we work, as well as the spaces in which we do so, is altered. Internet of Things (IoT) Is influencing the traditional office space at an increasing rate.
Wow there, I think I almost lost you for a sec, let’s backtrack a little.
“What is this Internet of things you speak of?” you might ask, well this is a question on many people’s thoughts, so let’s begin with the A B C’s.
What Is IoT?
If you’ve conducted a quick Google Search on “what is IoT,” chances are you got an overly technical breakdown, Case in Point:
“The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”
—An unnecessarily technical explanation of IoT
I know, I switched off half way through as well, so let’s break it down in simpler terms.
Before we jump in, note that “The Internet of Things” and “IoT” can and will be used interchangeably. And a quick tip: avoid saying “the IoT.”
I’d Like you to compare cell phones before the smartphone and what they are today. Before you could only text, make calls (and play snake), but now you can listen to music, read books, and access information all at the tip of your fingers. The addition of Internet connectivity opened a whole new range of functionality and benefits. These Benefits have been true for everything else too. And I do mean everything.
With this in mind, the Internet of Things is simply connecting all the surrounding smart devices (things) to the internet.
These devices use sensors and actuators to communicate with each other across the internet.
IoT influence in the Workplace
With the increased connectivity of devices and the ability to manage multiple devices centrally, IoT is facilitating the rise of the Smart office. At the core of this will be the smart office censors, that will take the day to day office maintenance tasks to promote optimum employee performance. No more quarrels about the AC temperature or lighting intensity as the smart sensors will regulate these. Smart office sensors will be tracking workspace usage patterns by adjusting lighting and AC settings to suit the occupant of a room, as well as those expected to arrive soon.
An increase in wearable device usage will also occur to provide a more personalized experience. These will be used to provide Security passage (goodbye access cards), room optimization, as well as for employee well-being. If a workplace detects that an occupant has been too still for too long, it can alert a wearable device that it is time for a stretch break.
Telepresence- Look Busy, the boss’s Robot is coming
Telepresence technology changed the landscape of the conference room, removing the requirement for physical presence. Now, these robots are mobile, they come with a 360° camera and microphone, allowing users to be present in meetings despite their absence, thus ensuring maximum output. These devices are self-guided, navigating hallways on behalf of the user, and once the session is over, the robot automatically moves to its next scheduled meeting and reserved user or returns to the charging station.
In today’s average office, your hours are spent in front of your computer, sitting on your chair (I hope it’s a comfy one). The furniture in your office dictates the level of comfort you experience as you tackle your day to day tasks. Smart office furniture looks to enhance this rather bland process. Smart desks enhance this traditional space with enhanced features to better the work experience. Most come with touchscreens, adjustable posture settings should you want to change posture and come with a built-in operating system to help enhance the day to day office experience.
Here’s a sneak peek at one of these products:
Indoor Asset Tracking
“who took the printer???!!” ok maybe not the printer, but every office has critical items that move around a lot and send many an employee on wild goose chases. Asset tracking will plot them on the office map, with positioning that allows real-time detection of these critical items, whether in the office or not, saving time and potentially some working relationships.
A better-Organized Workplace
The premise behind this technology has always been to make things better and simplify tasks. IoT adds advanced connectivity and interaction to do just that. From overflowing trash bins & messy coffee makers to elevators that self-report that they are due a service, the internet of things will create a cleaner, safer and more user-friendly work environment, and as a bonus, it may finally be possible to prove exactly who’s been grabbing a nibble of your lunch from the breakroom fridge.