We are living in a world dominated by connected devices. Smartphones, wearables, coffee makers — all of these devices can now sync together by connecting to the internet. The Internet of Things (IoT) has impacted our everyday lives, allowing the automation of everything from smart door locks to lighting and connected thermostats. IoT devices have transformed the way we live our daily routines, both at home and at work.
It is estimated that 37% of the global EAP (approximately 1.3 billion workers) will identify as a mobile workforce, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). That workforce refers to groups of employees that are located in various physical locations, with each worker being connected by computers, smartphones, and other devices to the internet. IDC also estimates that, through 2025, there may be as many as 1 trillion different types of devices connected to the web. As IoT gains momentum, it will become widely adopted within the corporate environment as well.
Innovative companies are already exploring new ways to increase productivity and cut costs through workspace automation. There are many benefits associated with the development of the automated corporate environment: from lower utility costs through managed lighting and heating, to increased communication and improved physical security of the environment. The future of IoT in enterprise companies starts with a smart workplace.
What will the connected workspace be like?
Smartphones, tablets, and wearables are already very present at home, and are starting to impact corporate life as well. In the case of smartphones and tablets, the shift to more mobile technology comes from the fact that these devices literally put your office into your pocket. Workers can now edit documents, access KPI analysis panels, and reply to emails from anywhere at any time. While this mobile device technology has been in use by individual employees for many years now, migrating to more remote, agile technology is one of the emerging commercial security systems trends we’re seeing across industries. IoT connected systems give businesses the same flexibility, centralizing operations on apps and web-based software that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time.
In addition to the immediate level of mobile functionality, there are countless professional applications designed to make managing business demands more seamless for an increasingly remote workforce. One of the most impactful benefits of mobile and cloud-based platforms is that they allow companies to gather essential data in real-time. For example, it is possible to transmit the location of a meeting through notifications on a smart watch, see who’s accessed the main door as soon as they unlock it, and receive instant notifications about the stock of supplies, energy consumption, or office occupancy rates. The reality is that many of the components required to have a connected office already exist. It’s just a matter of creating the base infrastructure to unify all the different connected devices in a meaningful way. This is where IoT comes in.
The Internet of Things and the potential of the smart workplace present a number of unique and highly rewarding opportunities for future-minded entrepreneurs. Many companies are heavily focused on developing products that work seamlessly across multiple devices, creating a platform for custom mobile applications that are easy to integrate with existing products and services. We are surrounded by different types of connected technologies and devices, but the real opportunity arises when it is possible to connect these devices together. A truly future-proof workplace is one that leverages technology for more streamlined, sustainable operations, representing the next big step in human-machine interaction.