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31 Jan - 03 Feb 2023

Three challenges for smart workplaces

Of the numerous factors driving current developments in the smart workplace, three of the most important are health; collaboration and productivity; and the Internet of Things. Here’s how the smart workplace sector is responding to these challenges.

 

Health: The relationship most companies have with their physical spaces is going to change profoundly over the next few years – and that has huge implications for AV. You can read thousands of articles about the ‘new workplace’ which all agree on one point: the pandemic has changed the workplace forever. People want to feel safe at work in an office and so the workplace environment is stepping up with innovations.

Yes, the pandemic accelerated the distance economy, the work-from-home and business activities that don’t rely on face-to-face activity. But also consider how companies like Amazon invested $11.5 billion in 2020 in COVID response, making 150 significant process changes to keep teams safe, such as reimagining how to conduct meetings and trainings; reconfiguring and adding more break rooms; staggering shifts and breaks; and re-evaluating how workers clock in and out for shifts. Tech is a critical part of introducing, tracking and managing when you change of processes.

And the latest solutions come from places the AV might not be looking. For one example, KONE, a global leader in the elevators and escalators, has introduced a new range of people flow solutions. A start-up in Holland has the world’s first and only employee smart locker platform: a self-service, SaaS system powered by data, and integrated into any IT ecosystem. And facility managers are gobbling up Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) software.

Collaboration & Productivity: The recent push to improve remote work has a double-edge. Let’s call it the quantum law of work: you push here and something changes over there: you can’t improve the remote work experience without affecting the office experience. For example, Porsche Design say they will embrace “Remote first, but not remote only.” Yet that only makes them cherish more the importance of in-person meetings. Their office of New Normal will look a little different as they will no longer consider having one large office space. They want “… to design the offices themselves differently. They are to become places of encounter where employees can work together to find the best solution for their needs. To achieve this, we need larger and, above all, more meeting rooms. We also need small retreats where colleagues can have calls or work on a task in peace.”

The industry is exploding with new and more wonderful collaboration devices and tools while the pandemic gives us the motivation to learn how to use them.

Internet of Things: While we recognise the huge boost that the pandemic gave to video conferencing and collaboration, it gave an equally important stimulus to IoT. The Internet of Things – with its network of sensors, meters and other devices capable of sending and receiving data via IP – has become an important part of return-to-offices.

The CEO of Occuspace recently said: “What moved the needle for the internet was creating comprehensive analytics on why people come to a site, how long they spend in each area, what they focus on etc. We have only just begun to do the same in the physical world.”

For example, you can’t talk about improving the air quality index without enabling the measuring and monitoring of air quality. IoT is, of course, more than just air quality – it’s becoming for the office building the airport control tower for building access, meeting room availability, personalised climate comfort, and so much more.

At ISE 2022’s Smart Workspace Summit, attendees can expect to hear from top-tier companies and clever start-ups about new products, technologies and solutions available now that help organisations with Return-to-Office and remote work. You’ll walk away with a sharper focus on what’s happening in the smart workplace, learning from the experiences already made by the companies leading the way.

For more details and to register, go to https://www.iseurope.org/conferences-2022

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