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It’s 2020 and modern technology is making everything smart. You have smartphones, smartwatches, smart cars, and even smart homes. It’s no wonder that we are entering the era of smart spaces. Now, technology is setting its sights on another important space – the office space.

 

What is a smart workspace?

A smart workspace or smart office is a technology-optimized space designed to increase productivity and provide ease of access for individuals working within the space. Just as smart homes make living more convenient through connected thermostats, fridges, and other devices, smart offices use connected equipment and rooms to completely transform your day-to-day business.

Smart workspaces are made possible by equipping the office space with interconnected tools. This is called IoT or Internet of Things. Put simply, IoT is a collection of internet-connected devices that exchange information or data. In an office, these devices can be your front desk, which tells you all about your visitors, to door handles protected with fingerprint security.

In the same way that the Internet forever changed how we work, smart workspaces represent the next evolution: using IoT to change where we work.

 

What are smart buildings?

A study by Dell and Intel in 2016 showed that nearly half of the workforce expects to be working in an office that is enabled by IoT and smart office apps. In 2019, Microsoft entered the smart building era by introducing a tech-enabled office building in Singapore. It showcases an automated system that helps manage the building’s operations and all other systems within. The structure uses sensors to gather data and provide insights into building use. This informs managers on how to best reduce energy consumption and minimize their environmental impact.

As we transition every aspect of our daily lives into a tech-powered future, we’ll increasingly notice the influence of artificial intelligence and IoT. Automation will continue to make everything more efficient, and efficiency is key to a successful business. Most companies rely on automation when it comes to manufacturing goods inside their factories and warehouses. If entrepreneurs take that same principle into the workspace of human resources, customer service, sales, and office management, companies can start to develop a more efficient approach when it comes to business.

Automation in a smart building is all about monitoring different aspects of the structure. Imagine being able to control all aspects of a building – heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, and other daily functions in one centralized control room. This type of infrastructure allows owners and operators to easily predict and determine needs when it comes to tools and devices within the building. It collects and provides data to reduce energy consumption and maintenance while increasing reliability and performance.

 

Benefits of Smart Offices

Companies that are looking to boost productivity and maintain a competitive edge would do well to adopt the smart office concept. Here are a few reasons why:

 

Improves collaboration and increases productivity

A defining trait of successful groups or brands is how well their employees are able to collaborate. A smart office aims to provide a space that not only promotes but enhances collaboration between individuals. This would naturally lead to a more productive workspace as teams and individuals are able to share ideas at a rapid pace, eliminating unnecessary roadblocks that get in the way of communication.

Another way to look at productivity is how quickly individuals can get things done. Smart offices are equipped with software to help eliminate menial, basic tasks such as booking a conference room or looking for a space to plug in your laptop. This reduces frustrations and minor annoyances experienced by employees in the workspace and helps focus on work-related tasks.

 

Streamlines communication

For most, trying to find a space to talk and exchange ideas often takes a while, sometimes employees struggle and spend more time trying to connect than actually collaborating. Although open office spaces can foster collaboration between different companies, they can also be distracting for larger team sizes.

Smart offices don’t have this issue. These spaces are usually large enough to accommodate up to 500 people, meaning there’s plenty of room to hold a meeting, brainstorming session, or even a happy hour. This is your company’s office, so it should make company-wide communication that much easier and more convenient.

 

Provides actionable insights

One of the selling points of a smart office is that it’s easy to gather data on everything going on within the space. With enough data on how your team uses an office, you can better understand how to create the optimal conditions for a productive team.

Many smart offices are equipped with smart speakers like Amazon Alexa, which can give you updates on your office supply stock (and order them for you) or outstanding tasks on your to-do list. Smart lights and NEST thermostats can also inform you about usage, allowing you to adjust accordingly. This setup simultaneously empowers your team and lowers your company overhead.

At its core, a smart office aims to improve the working environment for employees. It aims to make each individual’s job easier, while also providing a fun environment for employees to stay motivated.

Technology is always evolving. Our parents and grandparents could never have imagined the world we live in today. Smart offices and smart buildings are simply a step in a more connected and integrated world. As technology continues to leap forward, entrepreneurs must push themselves to utilize their capabilities and integrate them into our daily work lives.