Adoption of home automation technology in the workplace gives rise to the Smart Office

Feb 20, 2017 • SwitchThat Staff

There’s no doubt that advances in technology have changed how we work, with hot desking and remote working more commonplace than ever before. Technology is now also changing our work environments, as home automation and connected devices move into the office making them more intelligent and efficient.

For years we’ve been using our smartphones as our mobile office, accessing emails, documents etc. from wherever we are. Now we’re using other IoT devices to interconnect the office space and provide valuable data, with Gartner predicting businesses will use 3.1 billion connected things in 2017.

While there are great opportunities with the smart office, there are also great demands. Organisations want energy efficient workplaces that are also more pleasurable for staff and are looking at technology that offers this, while still being secure and not jeopardizing their IT infrastructure.

The main driver for smarter systems is increased energy efficiency and productivity. Advanced sensors capture data, for example on energy consumption, air quality, busiest areas and at what time of day. Facilities managers can use these insights to control the building resulting in energy savings and improved efficiency.

While many people are already familiar with the technology, which helps drive acceptance, companies are hesitant, fearing large initial outlay. Flexibility is key to the success: not every office is the same, with the same requirements. Fortunately connected devices offer scalability so you can start small, adding more devices as your smart office grows.

Deloitte’s office, The Edge, has won awards for being one of the World’s greenest buildings. Not only can employees find meeting rooms and locate their colleagues via an app, but they can also control temperature, lighting and blinds via a series of apps. Sounds great, but also sounds like a lot of apps to manage. Imagine the improved user experience if the connected devices were controlled via one app! One app control is what we thought when we created the One hub for the smart home and now we know it can improve the smart office user experience too.

A smart office is an automated office but to be truly smart it needs to be controlled via one app for end user convenience. Whilst more connected devices keep coming onto the market, usability is key to their success. It’s interesting that so many tech companies started in garages and converted barns. And now some of that tech is creating today’s smart office!