Apart from spending hours on your smartphone, there are many less obvious ways technologies penetrate our lives. From wearables, beacons, and various sensors, to smart home appliances; there are dozens of “connected things” we interact with every day.
While most people spend around 8-10 hours a day at work, it is only natural that office automation using IoT is gaining momentum. According to the latest report, the size of the smart office market is steadily growing. It amounted to $22.21 billion in 2017 and is forecasted to double by 2023, reaching $46.11 billion.
There are good reasons for the adoption of smart office technologies. By using the Internet of Things in office buildings, you can increase workplace productivity, streamline routine tasks, and make safer and more comfortable working environments for your employees.
What are the other benefits of smart office solutions and how do you build one yourself? Here are some insights into IoT development.
The Future of the Workplace: Using the Internet of Things in the Office
What is a Smart Office?
An office space equipped with IoT devices, and thus connected to the internet, is often referred to as a “smart office”. It represents an intelligent ecosystem which relies on a number of connected devices that, in general, monitor, control, and manage various operations and working conditions.
Office Automation Using IoT: the Pros and the Cons
There are many benefits of IoT for a smart office:
- Energy savings. By automatically adjusting the lighting and heating in your office, you can use your power resources more efficiently and cut back on waste.
- Efficient business operations. Using IoT office devices streamlines or completely automates a number of tasks, allowing your employees to focus on the more important ones at hand.
- Comfortable working environment. Having control over the temperature or humidity in the workplace directly from a smartphone enables your employees to tailor the office conditions to their preferences.
- Better employee productivity. As a result of increased comfort, your employees will be more productive at work.
- Increased workplace safety. A number of IoT office solutions such as security cameras, connected sensors, or access control systems, can help you make your office safer. Moreover, this can increase transparency while decreasing the likeliness of criminal activities or minor incidents among your employees.
As you can see, the benefits of IoT in an office are obvious. However, there are still some downsides to consider. The following are the most significant barriers that need to be addressed when considering the adoption of smart office solutions:
- The total cost of ownership of the IoT office devices and software
- Data privacy concerns
- Having a dependency on a steady power supply and WiFi connection
IoT for a Smart Office: Use Cases and Examples
Despite its steady growth and the huge potential that it has, the smart office market is still in its early stages of development. The IoT office application is being outpaced by the other industries benefiting from the use of IoT solutions, including home automation, health and fitness, as well as retail and inventory management.
However, there are several IoT office ideas that you can advance right from the start:
Security cameras, smart locks, and various sensors are the most popular use cases for IoT in office spaces.
In addition, you can eliminate the outdated pass system, replacing physical badges with digital ones. Thus, all you need is your smartphone with the installed app to clock in or out. The same applies to visitor management and access control.
Using IoT in the office can also make your business more energy efficient. Smart lighting solutions or automated window shades help you tailor the light intensity and color as well as cut back on waste. As soon as a sensor understands that there’s no one in the room, the lights will automatically turn off.
Furthermore, you can put yourself in complete control over the efficiency and consumption of power in your office by installing complete energy management systems.
Smart thermostats such as Nest or any of the Honeywell products will create an optimal room temperature so everybody feels comfortable working. Plus, it saves energy, just like IoT lighting solutions.
Communication and Collaboration
IoT-enabled conference rooms present a wide variety of opportunities to simplify a number of tasks, including room occupancy management. Smart scheduling systems for meeting rooms can make the office life a lot easier, solving the problem of space management and coordination.
You can even use a robot to create a telepresence experience working remotely, not to mention various smart projectors and interactive boards.
Standing desks have become a common thing in the office. There is, however, more to expect from a desk. Next up – the desks will learn to understand people’s preferences and adjust to their needs automatically, helping employees become even more productive at work.
The above listed workspace IoT solutions are only some of the possible use cases for smart offices. There are other IoT ideas for businesses that can be used in an office environment, and dozens more potentially useful use cases that are still to be introduced.
Intelligent Office: a Luxury or Necessity?
Despite the obvious benefits and a number of existing examples, smart office tech has caused some skepticism among interested consumers. Many business owners are still hesitant to invest in IoT in the workplace while some of them who have tried various products have mixed feelings about them.
Yet, having an IoT-enabled office means much more than simply being able to manage its temperature or lighting through a smartphone. It means a safer, more efficient operations, and as a result, better ROI.
It is your call whether to implement these solutions in your office or not. But keep in mind that even the slightest increase in your business efficiency can become a powerful competitive advantage over the competition, not to mention the fact that a comfortable office environment can help you attract and retain the best talent.
Written by Mariia Aleksandrova, Marketing Manager at Eastern Peak