07 Jun 2019
The Smart Office: Future or Fad?
It was during the Chinese New Year Holiday that I personally experimented on turning my flat into a Smart Home. After a day’s work and some online shopping from Amazon prime. I have transformed my living room into a hotbed of technology and things have changed for me ever since. Upon returning to work, I immediately got to a meeting with a client who wants some addition and alteration work done to his office premises. After hearing his requirements, I briefly mentioned my home project and would love to be able to integrate all this new smart device to his office. In short, he asked me for a proposal and arranged a meeting after a week.
What makes a Smart Office?
"A smart office consists of intelligent technologies that change the way people interact with the office and the surrounding work environment.”
Imagine a workplace designed to improve the overall environment by making offices more energy efficient, more secure, and more comfortable. It also helps companies make better decisions about the spaces that are available to employees. Produce and store data on usage and occupancy that is valuable when determining how to improve the use of existing space or deciding when to scale up or down. Eventually, this makes employees more productive, focused and happy on their workplace.
What are the latest Smart Office Technologies available?
The main component of a Smart office is IoT or Internet of Things. This technology is driven by small pieces of electronic gadgets equipped with motion-detecting sensors using infrared, ultrasonic, or microwave to detect occupancy.
Most of the IoT devices are connected to a Hub that controls lighting, HVAC, and security systems. They collect data and communicate with other platforms to analyse and provide insights on office usage, making them an integral component of an office’s smart technology strategy.
In a nutshell, smart lighting is the primary step to integrating smart technology into the workplace. It reduces a significant amount of energy consumption in the office. LED lighting, control, connectivity, analytics, and intelligence are the key factors in its implementation.
Next is intelligent climate control. Smart HVAC systems intelligently detect usage patterns within the office and automatically regulate temperature accordingly. This increases the system’s efficiency and reduces the carbon footprint while increasing employee comfort by adapting to the required temperature in a given space.
Lastly, smart security systems. This technology is dependent on motion sensors to track intruders and utilize video monitoring that adds a level of security to the office. It also helps facilities managers and administrators collect data to analyse how offices spaces are being utilised.
Smart Meeting Rooms & Desk
Besides all this smart office technology being hard-wired to a hub that is interconnected to the building utility system, there are also easy to implement technology that thrives on the cloud. A meeting management software that can be connected to the company server. Employees can find and book a room, phone booth, meeting pods or hot-desk in just a few clicks. A meeting management system also handles reservations and alerts meeting attendees and administrators of any changes in time, location, or cancellations. Like any other smart device, it can track and analyse and record usage data.
As for the smart desk, it offers sitting or standing desk options and remember each user’s preferences. Each desk’s analytics break down users’ sitting and standing data it also allows the user to set timers for different positions to be able to stay active while at work to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
Proposing the smart office transition to a client
After going through a week of research, visiting potential smart office suppliers and testing out new products. It’s amazing by how we can improve our working lives with the latest technology available. My meeting with the client went well. Thou I was not able to convince them to fully embrace the idea mainly because of the investment involved. At least I was able to drive them to try the meeting management system and smart desk.
While I was on my way home, I was contemplating whether the smart office is just a fad or is it really the future?
In my mind, no doubt it’s the future and I will be driving our company to embrace this change and make this our competitive advantage.
From this point onward every client we meet will know about what you just read and more.
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