Internet of Things (IOT) has certainly come of age and has grown beyond the smart home gadgets. The connected reality created and nourished by IOT devices, sensors and gateways ultimately is on the verge of transforming public domains like transport and workplaces. The connected office or smart office is now gaining more attention worldwide thanks to its vast promise ranging from productivity, innovation, security and pushing business growth.
In this respect, some statistics can work as an eye-opener to the future prospect of smart office solutions. A market research report when forecasting the growth predicted that the smart office market which had a global valuation of just USD 22.21 Billion in 2017 is expected to grow up to USD 46.11 Billion by the year 2023. According to the same report, several factors are responsible for the increasing adoption and popularity of smart home solutions that include energy efficiency, advancement in connected gadgets, demand of cutting-edge security solutions and favourable policy decisions at government and corporate levels.
IOT promise for workplace realised by smart office systems
The primary promise of smart office has emerged from the connected building equipped with an ecosystem of sensors and gadgets. The immediate promise of such connected buildings is that they can be utilised better for the manpower and the businesses operating from there.
The connected sensors and gadgets grossly referred to as IoT technology can enhance the efficiency of the legacy processes. With every new process, more value can be created as smart connected technologies will furnish more important data about usage and manpower. From office space management to attendance regulation to real-time activity monitoring to smart security solutions, we have entered a new era of connected solutions.
The offerings of a connected commercial building
Recently, few large-scale commercial building projects have emerged with the full promise of connected smart systems. There have been several significant players in delivering connected solutions for modern commercial buildings. One such building is the LifeCycle Tower ONE of Dornbirn, Austria. This digitally connected building has a fully equipped monitoring system capable of benchmarking and evaluating different important KPIs, ranging from energy consumption and voltage to space utilisation.
BYOD and smart office environment
Today's workplace is unthinkable without the employees using mobile devices during their working time. While there can be some restrictions on the usage of certain apps and services, mobile devices are also part of the business processes in most companies. Only 22% of corporate employees use company-provided smartphones. Naturally, there is no surprise in the fact that “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) protocol is a big success.
With the BYOD being the most popular and widely adopted device protocol for employees, it also plays a crucial role in the last mile rendering of smart office solutions. The company-owned and employee-only version of enterprise apps now can silently monitor device usage and can guide the employees to stay in sync with reminders, alerts, emails and feedbacks across the table. Mobile application developers would have unparalleled opportunities with this new breed of enterprise app that works in sync with smart office solutions.
Smart Office solutions: projects in the making
Over the years several different smart office projects are in the making. Several of them have been successfully deployed and is in use while there are quite a few waiting to be tested in workplaces. Here we picked few of these projects to show how smart offices of future are going to be made.
A Raspberry Pi based Smart Office Automation
Smart office automation solution which is run on Raspberry Pi OS requires almost no skills, but it can be highly customised to suit different needs in workplaces. The idea behind such solutions is basically to utilise the office resources to the optimum level. Such a solution can offer features like automating lights, appliances and connected gadgets, triggering automatic turning-off of the lights and gadgets, monitoring the office space through webcam and managing the whole system through an easy to use, notification based interface.
Smart Office Notification Breadboard
A smart office notification breadboard can help employees keeping track of the work in hand while delivering relevant alerts and notifications. This works with just a board where blinking LEDs give alerts and when alerts and notifications come based on scheduled tasks.
Smart Attendance System
Smart RFID based attendance management system can help to enhance efficiency and boost productivity in several workplaces and also in educational institutions. Such systems working with the RFID reader are exceptionally easy to use requiring the employees or students only to carry RFID card tags. Though such attendance system is already in use, connecting a system like this with a rigorous database of attendance and analytics solutions further can provide us valuable, actionable insights to improve attendance and spot some trends.
Smart Office Security System
A smart office security system with its surveillance mechanism and data-centric collaboration with the back-end analytics can deliver real-time actionable insights and suggestions to track security breaches and spot any unusual trends. Such systems are capable of real-time motion detection and sending a smart notification to the responsible security professionals in no time.
Smart office solutions will grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years primarily because of the overwhelming range of innovations that are taking place to make life in every sphere more connected. Frankly, there is no slow-down to innovation in connected gadget space in the near future, and so, every human habitat and endeavour is bound to feel the push of automation and smart connected technologies.