It’s hard to escape any conversation about technology these days without hearing about how the Internet of Things is affecting the corporate enterprise. What exactly does the workplace IoT mean for our everyday work life, and for how commercial office building owners and architects plan and design the buildings of the future?
Most people think of IoT in relation to smart home appliances: refrigerators, toasters, coffee makers, etc. But the development hardly stops there. It’s been estimated that by the year 2020 there will be more than 20 billion devices connected to the internet. The majority of devices that come from the IoT space will incorporate sensors designed to provide actionable information.
Seamless Meeting Coordination
Let’s take a look at how IoT will reach beyond the home and into your workplace.
You’re at work, wearing a smartwatch. Suddenly, while you’re engrossed in a project, your watch buzzes to let you know that you have a meeting that had slipped your mind. This is a video conference with a client where you and the rest of the project team will be receiving feedback on your latest proposal.
The notification includes where the meeting will take place, a link to get into the meeting, and all the other pertinent information. By picking up your phone and pulling up the right app, you can access a map that lays out the most efficient way for you to get from your location to the meeting room. With a tap of the screen you’re able to log on to the meeting on your phone so you don’t miss a moment as you make your way to the room.
This is happening to all members of the project team as they navigate to the meeting room. In preparation, you’re able to identify the corresponding documents that you’ve stored on the company server so that as soon as you walk into the meeting space you’re ready to go through them line-by-line with the client.
You enter the meeting room with the rest of the team in tow and find that the space has dimmed the lights, turned on the TV, and is primed for you to display your documents both on the screen and with your client off-site. The entire system guided you through a seamless process without you having to tell it to do anything. In fact, the system has been telling you what needs to be done in order to be sure that you’re in the right place and prepared to execute.
This fundamental corporate use case illustrates how the Internet of Things promises to transform everyday work: a world where your technology systems communicate with one another to make your work more efficient and effective. Networked “things” are removing the majority of human effort from the process of execution.
Space Utilization and Workplace IoT
The IoT, though, reaches far beyond just conferencing efficiency. When it comes to deployment of audiovisual and unified communications solutions, IoT will provide responsive information about which systems are being used by the employees, how they are being used, and when they are being used.
Are employees picking a particular room at a particular time of day during the summer because it happens to be cooler? Is there an employee squatting in a meeting room, making it unavailable for its intended use, because they need more workspace to accomplish their tasks? Do employees tend to book the larger video conferencing spaces more often than the smaller huddle spaces for meetings?
With software-based management systems all of this data can be pulled and processed. Once you have that information you can make informed recommendations about what kinds of meeting spaces should be deployed on the next roll-out, where they should be located to make the most use of them, and what kinds of equipment should be installed based on current use patterns.
The Internet of Things is about being able to pull information from the smart devices we currently use, and the ones that will be created in the next few years, in order to have actionable data. While still in its infancy in the audiovisual industry, there are already systems in the world that are helping clients to make the most effective use of their technology development budget. This will only become more efficient with the deployment of more smart devices.