In industry circles, the discussions around adopting smart office solutions predominantly focus on two aspects – technologies which can automate processes related to lighting management, energy usage & statistics, HVAC infrastructure management, and common spaces (conference/meeting rooms, pantry area, sick bays etc.) usage, which are collectively known as ‘smart building technology’ and two, on workforce collaboration tools designed to enhance productivity while keeping staff notified on latest developments at the office.
While they seem most relevant, these smart office technologies are not dynamic. These are needed by today’s offices, of course, especially by large ones. However, for tomorrow’s offices, infrastructure & operations managers need to look at emerging technologies which are truly smart.
The need is to look at real-time technologies which combine flexible hardware with a user-friendly application interface. For that, we need to look beyond tech that guarantees isolated management of devices and bring into the picture a robust, dynamic tech which integrates varied processes into one comprehensive unit
Simply put, smart office technology is the combination of smart buildings and workforce communication tools.
Smart Office Technology
Popular notions about smart office technology look at solutions aimed at cutting through redundancies generated from lighting, security systems or the HVAC infrastructure. Market analysis & projection firm Market Insights Reports’ latest release focusing on the global smart office market scenario from 2020-25 looks at these aspects as well.
However, emerging technologies for deft management of office spaces, especially large ones, includes management of both hot and cold, movable and immovable assets located within the facility. While lighting, HVAC, tables & chairs, paper printers, conference rooms, telecommunication devices can be considered ‘cold’ assets as they do not move frequently within the building. In contrast, the workforce, products, stationery & pantry ware can be considered ‘hot’ assets as their movements are more frequent.
Sensor Based Smart Office Solutions… And Beyond
Research in the area of smart office solutions indicates that smart device based applications can control various aspects of the office environment. Use of appropriate hardware in combination with a user-friendly interface is the solution – sensors can be used for hardware for this office control system.
Aspects of the office environment include:
- Temperature & Lighting Control
- Conference/Meeting Room Attendance & Usage Statistics
- Top-Down Communication
In addition to sensors, beacons or RFID can also be used as hardware to tag assets and track them in real-time in an office space. While there are hardware options which aid ‘smart’ management of the office, the choices for a software or APK are limited.
You either get an application-based system for regulating few of the issues related to temperature, lighting & usage, or gather historical data through CCTV footage. What is needed is an interactive indoor collaboration app for office spaces which can give you data points from a 360-degree office management perspective, in real-time.
A really ‘smart’ office solution should aid office management in:
- Real-time Asset Tracking
- Hoteling & Reservation
- Decentralized, Instant Communication for Events
- Location-based Services for Positioning & Navigation
Smart Office Solutions – Dynamic Apps
As has been suggested in this post earlier, there are quite a few apps from which one can select an app for gauging building performance in an office environment.
However, the need of the hour is a holistic, responsive application which can be used across smart devices (phones & tablets) and web browsers. What becomes the key benefit is the availability of building usage data in real-time.
As a facility manager or the head of operations, imagine the edge you will have when you are precisely aware of who’s using the conference room and when, crowd concentration in specific areas compared to others, average usage of electrical equipment, etc. – all on the screen of a smart device!
These are dynamic apps – made using innovative & interactive technology, smart office solutions support data-driven decision making of an office space, especially large corporate campuses which are spread over an expansive area.