Smart rooms are able to recognize person/persons personally as soon as they enter the room. It is indeed possible now. The conventional office setting has transformed dynamically over the years. Smart offices or connected offices have become the need of the hour in the consistently changing working environment. With technology entering every facet of our lives, offices too are embracing the new standards of agility and connectivity.
Businesses are progressively retrofitting ‘smart’ components to their existing ecosystem and the number gravitating towards the trend is likely to increase. For instance, Unilever’s offices in the U.S. were recently modernized which helped them reduce the building’s energy consumption by 50% and increased its usable space by 28%.
The Dock, consultancy giant Accenture’s technology facility in Dublin is one of the best examples of retrofitting. It is currently among the most connected buildings in the world with more than 10,000 sensors.
The smart office market is anticipated to reach USD 46.99 Bn at a CAGR of 12.16% over the forecast period of 2018-2023, projects Market Research Future (MRFR) in its latest in-depth Study. The mundane environment in any corporation can give rise to employee boredom and smart offices play an important role in reflecting the persona of the modern worker and maintaining the ambiance within the workplace. Moreover, smart offices align perfectly with energy conservation initiatives. Deployment of smart technologies help in curtailing operational expenditure considerably and stands as one of the prime reasons that are propelling the growth of the smart offices. Besides, they appeal to the aesthetic sense of millennials and new talent who link advanced digital culture with productivity.
What Makes Offices Smart?
The concept of smart office goes far beyond a purely cosmetic concept of the workplace. Bean bags, food vending machines, and ping pong tables might enjoy the reputation of attractive office perks, but high-tech solutions are what employees really need. A smart office is the creation of a collaborative and productive work environment through the deployment of beacons, sensors, and mobile applications. Incorporation of cutting-edge, Internet-enabled technology in offices enable employees to work smarter, faster, and better and also use office space efficiently and economically.
Smart offices are adapting IoT technologies to remold office spaces and while there is no definite definition of a smart office, here are some core components of the modern-day smart office:
Smart Lighting – Lights account for fundamental provision in any workplace and is key to the creation of good ergonomics. Smart lighting solutions adjust indoor ambience based on the time of the day and facilitate personalization through smartphone apps. The use of presence detectors has increased considerably in smart offices which help in energy reduction by automatically turning off lights in office spaces, corridors, and staircases when they are uninhabited.
Intelligent Temperature Control – Smart HVAC systems diligently detect usage patterns and adjust temperatures accordingly to maintain optimal working temperature.
Smart Conference Rooms – Smart conference rooms incorporate an array of smart technologies such as intelligent screens, intelligent visitor management, and meeting management systems. These technologies enable conference room scheduling, meeting recording, and connection with remote attendees and promote active collaboration of projects between partners.
Indoor Wayfinding – They assist employees and visitors in easy navigation within office buildings with the help of smartphones. Integration of IoT within the workplace environment has various other components such as sensitive planters, smart doorbells, smart locks, water gauges, motion sensors, and others.
Smart Furniture – Smart furniture is capable of processing information from their surroundings, including both users and devices. They can monitor the posture of the person sitting on them and can also calculate how long a person has been sitting or standing at their workstation.
Other than this, workplace apps such as Slack and Skype are also becoming ubiquitous in office spaces for communication.
Evolving and Emerging Office Trends
This modern workforce trend has eased in various organization policies, wherein employees take whichever place is vacant. Instead of assigning a particular place to a particular employee, hot-desking or ;hoteling approach allows a single cubicle to be used by multiple users at different times. Advantages of hot-desking include cost saving, easier collaboration, improvement of inter-departmental rapport.
BYOD or “bring your own device” is gaining momentum in workplaces. Employees are allowed to work on their own laptops or tablets as and when they please. Working on a device, they are already familiar with helps increase productivity and reduces the cost of having to equip employees with tech gear.
The smart office seems like the right way towards a greener, brighter, and connected office future. Even though technological progress in conventional offices have remained pretty stagnant, lately, enterprises are amping up their office spaces to make them more efficient and employee friendly.
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