When the phrase “smart building” crops up in an article, it usually comes accompanied with the same example function: how the heating and lighting can be controlled inside one.
Though smart offices pose many more functions, heating and lighting are generally the sticking point returned to in articles. They are simple to understand and directly relate to sustainability, one of the key advantages of the smart building experience. Such articles do not address, however, the full breadth of the smart office’s potential. In some ways it would not be possible to do so. The real core tenet of the smart office is its adaptability; the ease with which it can adopt future innovation.
Also neglected are the logistical means by which a business may create a smart office. How may any company, of any size, put these principles into practice?
Why Smart Offices Matter
Smart offices are a bastion of modernity unlike any other in business, given how central they are to operations. They use technology to simplify the running of a building and the working lives of business employees.
As alluded to above, they are sustainable, energy-friendly premises – even powered entirely through self-generated renewable sources in some cases. They are flexible premises, offering users a blank canvas on which to integrate their own personal technologies. Every modern employee enters the workplace with personal devices; many of them use them regularly to complete tasks. The smart office supports, encourages and exploits that new trend. That flexibility should also cover the long-term future. The ability to swiftly, and easily, assimilate new technologies as they develop is crucial. We may well have only scratched the surface so far, in terms of the smart office’s full technological potential.
How A Smart Office Develops
The most important transition that smart offices undergo is moving to a big-data-centric environment. In many ways, automation is the key here. This is both in terms of data analytics that help advise important business decisions, and integrating employees’ personal devices into the network so that they may interact with it fully.
Enter the Internet of Things. Long touted as the technological platform of the future, IoT defines the smart office concept. A cloud-based network, it enables all connected devices to interact with each other – fixed, portable or wearable.
For example, a fixed AV screen in the office could be controlled with a user’s personal smartphone, via an application that has integrated that device. This would make internal company presentation and real-time interaction between colleagues far more efficient, user-friendly and productive. That same network could be used for various different function, depending on the devices a business deems appropriate in its workplace. Whether that be electronic locks, connected coffee machines or available workspace locators, IoT puts every function at your fingertips. The smart office is built around that principle.
The Future Of Work
The efficiency, ease of use and cost-effectiveness of an IoT-powered smart office is projected to become the norm in workplace strategy. This comes partly because of its flexibility for businesses of all sizes. The beauty of such a strategy is that the hardware involved is not universalised. The business may select whatever equipment suits them – though any such equipment will rely on a standardised, cloud-based IoT network. Moreover, the smart office template allows businesses to swiftly adopt new technological innovation on its release. It therefore provides a platform to steam ahead of market rivals, provided they have their finger on the scientific pulse.
Furthermore, business owners and investors need to look at technology requirements as a new revenue stream in its own right. Depending on the industry in question, integrated big data holds crucial insights into such issues as consumer behaviour. This may inform how the business moves in the future and support its competing in the market. In terms of environmental impact, it is also absolutely true to contend that controls over temperature, air quality and lighting can both drive energy efficiency and produce a boost in workforce morale and output.
Smart offices are a trend that has had a relatively short life so far. It is, however, on the cusp of breaking into standard business practice. The choice that every dynamic, ambitious enterprise now faces is the same one. They may wait for the trend to pass them by, and find later that it has become a necessity simply to exist commercially. Or they may leap ahead of the curve now, in the safe knowledge that they have taken a step towards a slicker, more inspiring, data-driven world.
Viastak work to support businesses looking to leverage technology, in order to streamline the way they operate. We believe in creating flexible, dynamic enterprises that are equipped to deal with the demands of the modern global economy. To find out more, please get in touch.
Written by Oliver Kiddell
Oliver Kiddell, Author at Viastak Technologists.