Digital transformation is now firmly on the agenda of facility managers as we've seen intelligent or smart buildings make smart use of the new connected technology. The next step is smart offices. Using sensors, cameras, software and new singular purpose devices you can support, strengthen and streamline daily office operations. In this article we will take you through a variety of examples of how technology will revolutionize the office.
Wearables – a new part of your office suite?
Tech is now small enough to wear on your wrist. This is already used for communication with alerts appearing on our digital watches, but imagine an office that uses these watches for important internal communications. In addition, promoting staff wellbeing by encouraging physical movement or setting up a meal plan.
Think SIRI for the office. Voice assistance could be a feature incorporated almost anywhere in the smart office. Imagine not needing to press elevator buttons when you’re carrying a laptop, or avoiding germs during flu season by not touching the fridge or bathroom door. Perhaps most impressive, not needing to figure out and learn how to use different meeting room devices but simply using voice commands to turn on the projector.
Office supplies – no longer a hindrance
Using sensors to measure office supplies, such as waste baskets and paper levels, can alert maintenance staff to the location or item that needs emptying or refilling. Technology for ordering new items or repairing broken equipment can be placed anywhere. Milk running out? Press a button in the fridge. Whiteboard pencils missing? Press a button in the meeting room.
Automatic room preparation
A lot of time is spent setting-up a meeting room before the meeting starts. Some feel they need to be in the room 15 minutes before the meeting starts to ensure that all the equipment works. This means that they book the room for longer, just to prepare. Sensors or electronic passes can identify when people walk in and out of a room and automatically turn on or off lights and the air conditioning. They can also turn on the projector and connect to the network and phone system, saving a lot of time and energy.
Coworking and hot desking solved
With the coworking and hot desking trend firmly established, the next step is to optimize the management of the desks that change owners on a daily basis. Using sensors and intelligent software, employees can find a free desk, book it remotely and be guided to it via the phone. You can also use the same system to find power outlets or look up individuals in the building for a face-to-face chat.
Find out the best office layout and floor plans
Using sensors, cameras and meeting room software, companies can measure how employees move around the office, monitor the spaces that become crowded at certain times and what equipment is used the most. This data is a great tool for floor managers or facility managers to support their decisions in changing the desk and workspace structure of the office.
Wayfinders prevent you getting lost
When it comes to large office complexes, both visitors and employees can benefit from quickly locating power outlets, workspaces and people. A wayfinder, typically found in a mall, is a screen that incorporates an interactive map. This can save time and money by relieving the reception desk staff. Using compatible software, mobile devices such as phones or wrist watches can become maps, guiding you every step of the way through a busy environment.
Deliver a united message to the office
Using an internal messaging system is great tool to promote important messages to everyone. It could be about security, new events or to announce when external visitors are expected in the building. Moreover, displaying real time statistics can engage and motivate staff to work towards common goals. With the right software, the smart screens will display targeted and relevant information for each work area.
Greet external visitors with finesse
First impressions matter. Using an internal messaging system, clients or visitors can navigate the office in a spectacular way. They canbook a parking spot in advance, share their lunch or beverage preference for the meeting, receive a personalized greeting through text and then be guided all the way from the reception to the meeting room using internal screens.
Using a visitor management system, you can guide visitors to you office in a spectacular way. Let them book a parking spot in advance, share their lunch or beverage preference for the meeting, get a personalized greeting through text and then have them guided all the way from the reception to the meeting room, using internal screens that tell them where to go.
The ultimate working climate
In addition to tinting the glass or using sun shades to keep distracting sunlight at bay, offices in smart building can automatically adjust the lights depending on outside weather to create a perfectly lit working environment. The same goes for creating a comfortable temperature no matter where you go. Sensors can track how many people are in a room and intelligently adjust the temperature to the optimal level.
Making workspaces feel personal – wherever you go
Using facial recognition or a electronic pass, you can play the favorite song of an employee as they enter the cloak room in the smart office of tomorrow. An empty desk can be personalized. If an employee sits down, their desk can be lit with colored LED lights and the seat and desk height can automatically adjusted to their set preference. It can “talk” and greet them with relevant information about how many unread emails they have or what the local weather is.
Make it easier to work on remote
Imagine if every employee had to report if they were planning to work from home, partly at home or in the office on a daily basis. In this instance, or if they were sick, a meeting room booking system, would cancel any meetings they had booked This would also notify any attendees that the meeting had been cancelled and update the internal communication system and intranet, to avoid employees sending unnecessary emails.
Streamlining lunch orders – to make time for socializing
Companies with in-house catering,can use the intelligent office to help gather information on what the employees like to eat in order to better confirm the menu. It can also save time with a customized ordering system. Payments can eaily be taken using phones or with a digital office currency. If the buying process is smooth, employees can focus on socializing or recuperation instead. Busier office restaurants could invest in a ticket system and digital signage instead of lines for increased comfort, much like fast food restaurants.
If you do not have an in-house restaurant, technology can still help save time by connecting to a local food delivery service and accelerating the order process. When several people want to eat the same things, you can coordinate lunch groups by food choices. Imagine a lunch reminder can pop-up on the workspaces of the ones who most frequently makes the food orders to encourage this behavior.