Our technology impacts many parts of our lives. Office spaces are no exception.
“IoT” stands for the Internet of Things, a descriptive piece of tech jargon. Broken down, it describes the way networking has permeated our everyday lives, connecting people to each other, people to things, and things to things. The use of smartphones to get directions or the employment of remote control systems for buildings are only two examples of this all-encompassing phenomenon that is shaping modern life.
Allsteel, a Global leader in office environment solutions, summarizes IoT as an expanding entity of things and people connected through devices. The Gartner Group estimates that there will be 20 billion IoT units installed by 2020, with the growth driven by more and more everyday objects becoming networked. This in turn is driven by the cheapening economy of all aspects involved in networking: the lower cost of broadband, the production of smaller and cheaper sensors, the diminishing cost of data, and the increase in the ability of systems to analyze big data.
How IoT could shape the way we function in office places
From security badges to smart watches many individuals in any given company have already embraced the IoT. At a minimum, these technologies keep tabs on the location of an individual within a building, and advanced wearables can keep track of “location, movement, alertness, productivity, and even stress levels.” This raises many possible productivity possibilities for the modern workforce, while also raising security and privacy issues.
Given the latter, there were some surprising results from Cornerstone’s 2014 State of the Workplace Productivity Report, which found 72% of US employees believe that wearable tech will eventually become standard and 76% would be willing to use wearable tech provided by their company that tracks job performance and productivity.
How this impacts office design
From an office design perspective, the growth of the systems required for IoT will also require a secure repository for the data that is collected and analyzed from such sources. While the data gathering components will be spread throughout a modern IoT office, the access points to analyze that information must be few and secure to guarantee the privacy of individuals and the security of their information.
Modern offices are now designed with IoT applications across two spectrums:
The Intelligent Building:
This IoT application includes types of sensors built into the workplace that adjust window shades for ambient light, turn off electricity when there is no motion, and various mechanical systems that improve efficiencies and proactively address problems.
Security badges already keep track of who has entered and left the building, and at what times. This could be expanding by using smartphones to track the location of an individual in real time, and actually assist another individual to find that employee, or a needed physical resource, by smartphone-enabled wayfinding. In addition, a company’s ability to track movement within the building and compare it to overall occupancy rates will enable designers to build more efficient office spaces that encourage easy exchanges of information, something that could boost worker satisfaction and have benefits to ROI.
At Compass Office Solutions, we keep close track of the growing impact IoT has on the spaces people live and work in. Our ideas and designs reflect this and our clients benefit from such efforts. Touch base with us to discuss how we can assist you with creating an office that welcomes all IoT has to offer.