The Internet of Things (IoT) is penetrating our working and personal lives more and more with each year. Statista estimated that in the next seven years the total number of IoT devices worldwide is going to double: from 15.14 billion in 2023 to 29.42 billion in 2030. With it, also grows the number of ways the IoT technology can be leveraged.
And one of the more popular IoT implementations in recent years has been IoT in the workplace. From smart desks to smart lighting, more and more companies are now looking to make their offices more efficiently run as well as more appealing to employees.
But in what other ways can IoT change your office? What other benefits does it offer? Are there challenges that come with IoT implementation? In this article, we’re answering all these questions and more.
How IoT Changes Workplaces
Some of the major transformations that happened to work conditions are as follows:
Enabling Smart Offices
A smart office is a workplace that makes use of advanced technology to increase employee satisfaction, productivity, and organizational efficiency. And, typically, IoT technology plays a major role in setting up one such office.
Among the most frequently used IoT-connected devices are smart sensors that regulate temperature and lighting, indoor navigation devices, smart desks, and smart kiosks. And in the software department, we have cloud-based services, HVAC control systems, and smart security systems.
Enabling Smart Building Access
On top of that, smart offices typically come with intelligent building access systems, improving entrance management automation of your workplace.
Locks, card readers, and biometric systems that are all connected are each given a distinct IP address that they use to communicate with one another. Staff members can use connected IoT mobile apps and a digital ID to enter a facility, as the system keeps track of each user's access level and time of entry. As a preventive measure, every malicious behavior causes authorized devices to produce an alert that you can act upon in a timely manner.
Overall, these tools assist workers in entering buildings or workplaces without a plastic ID while still securing workplace safety.
Changing Team Collaboration
The emergence of hybrid workplace caused by COVID-19, only highlighted the need for solid teamwork. With many employees now choosing to stay at home, it hasn’t been easy for companies to maintain the same level of connection between team members as well as team discipline and commitment. Now, some of these needs have been met by common video conferencing technologies, but sophisticated workplace IoT technology can do more.
Augmented reality and telepresence technologies are being implemented more and more often to provide communication and collaboration experiences that not only feel real, but also fun to engage in. More interactive meetings tend to boost team morale and productivity.
Benefits of IoT in the Workplace
The following are some of the main reasons why would want to adopt IoT in your workplace:
Less Operational Expenses
Smart office IoT sensors and solutions can monitor office occupancy in real time. They interact seamlessly with your or space management software, allowing the data to be shown on your digital floor layouts. This way, occupancy data assists businesses in making the most of their space - it helps make better space organization decisions, increasing office capacity while keeping rental expenses as low as possible. Another money-saving factor is predictive maintenance - with IoT keeping track of your equipment, you can perform maintenance tasks only when they are required. IoT also helps resolve such money-draining issues as overheating or excessive lighting.
Enhanced Team Performance
An IoT-powered intelligent office network improves workflows, no matter the nature of the work itself. For instance, you can install a smart lighting system that keeps staff members energized and stimulated, boosting productivity. Or you can have a smart standing desk that keeps track of how long you spend sitting at your desk while working and reminds you to stand up and stretch from time to time. You may also gather employee feedback after meetings - they can rank meetings on a scale of 1 to 5 by placing a smart kiosk outside of a conference room.
Easier Talent Attraction
As a development on our previous point, IoT has certain pulling power when hiring top class employees. The idea of a smart office is appealing to most job seekers as they see a modern working environment that can boost their productivity and streamline their work. And the more smart features your IoT-powered office can offer, the easier it will be to attract the best in their field. However, be aware that some employees still prefer a more standard approach to organizing an office as they may feel their privacy being intruded by technology.
Enabling Data-Driven Decisions
As organizations expand, so change their needs. IoT intelligent office solutions are often used to foresee these needs and make data-driven decisions rather than relying on assumptions. With the help of IoT, companies learn how employees use their spaces, the best times to work, dead zones, and the most frequently used equipment. In turn, using this data enables them to implement solutions that take into account the evolving needs of the business and its employees.
Brilliant idea! Our IoT experts will help your office become more intelligent and efficient than ever!
Challenges of IoT Implementation in the Workspace
Like with any high-end technology, practical examples of IoT in the workplace will come with a number of challenges:
Installation, configuration, deployment, and maintenance of IoT smart devices can burn a hole in your budget. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why a lot of businesses don’t integrate IoT - they just don’t see how the potential benefits outweigh the financial burdens. However, if done efficiently, IoT easily pays all the money spent back and more.
To alleviate this issue and avoid overspending, you must come to IoT implementation prepared. Before you kick this process off, construct a well-organized technical infrastructure on paper, and if you feel overwhelmed by the tasks ahead, don’t hesitate to consult an IoT implementation company.
When implementing IoT, keep in mind that not every employee of your company will be happy about the system tracking their actions such as moving around the office. Yes, monitoring staff can boost their productivity, but you need to make sure that you strike a good balance and are transparent with your corporate policy. Tell your employees exactly what you track and why you do it. Every piece of data you gather such as Internet use, resource access, GPS location must be justified.
Some companies tend to put less emphasis on the security of their IoT system simply to launch it faster. IoT providers are also sometimes at fault - they employ a default password for all devices of a particular model or give inconsistent updates. By taking advantage of flaws in IoT devices and systems, hackers can get access.to your confidential information and trade secrets. That’s why security must be your top priority, up there with cost-efficiency and transparency.
IoT is a complex ecosystem - it’s made up of hardware, software, sensors, and cloud gateways. As a result, you can hardly build an all-encompassing system with just one technology, you’ll need to use different solutions. However, the problem here is that many IoT providers create devices that are only compatible with hardware and software that is partnering with their brand. Systems from different providers are thus unable to share information or communicate with one another - and you need to be aware of those limitations when mapping out your IoT system.
IoT in the workplace opens the doors for building a proper intelligent office, organizing a secure smart building access system as well as changes the way we see team collaboration. Implementing IoT in your company, if done correctly, will reduce your operational costs, boost team productivity, help you attract top talent and enable you to make informed decisions. Yes, there are some obstacles related to costs, privacy, security and operability, when setting up a smart office; however, those shouldn’t discourage you. And if at any point you need a second opinion on how to better organize your IoT-powered workplace, get in touch with IoT implementation experts like Cogniteq.
What are the benefits of using IoT in the workplace?
Reduced operational costs is one of the top benefits, as IoT helps save money on lighting and heating. Other notable ones are increased team performance and productivity, easier hiring of top-level employees, and more efficient, data-driven decision-making processes.
What is the problem of IoT in the workplace?
IoT implementation may cost your company a lot of money, if done inefficiently. There may also be concerns related to employee privacy and data security - make sure that you’re diligent and transparent when installing IoT. Finally, there’s a range of technical operability issues that you’ll need to handle.
How does IoT impact our lives in the workplace?
IoT in the workplace has been instrumental for creating smart offices and setting up secure smart building access systems. It also serves as a response to the challenges brought about by COVID-19 - IoT technologies assist companies in maintaining pre-Covid levels of team collaboration.