What futuristic technologies are on your organization’s horizon?
In the Internet of Things, companies can collect volumes of real-time data about anything with an attached, connected sensor. As we move into the future of the digital workplace, employees will become more engaged with the IoT through new technologies including: IoT workspaces, connected furnishings, digital signage, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.
1. Coworking spaces
In the digital workforce, many employees are mobile, working remotely for an employer either on the road or from the connected office of their choice. Still other workers are freelancers working gigs for multiple client companies.
Whether traveling for work or just working remotely to avoid long commutes, not all mobile workers want to work from their homes or hotel rooms. It is predicted that nearly 1.7 million workers will be members of approximately 18,900 coworking facilities in 2018—an increase in both workers and coworking spaces.
Coworking spaces provide two interesting opportunities for companies that own their own real estate portfolio. First, if the existing corporate space can no longer accommodate additional employees in a growing organization, some employees could be moved in teams to other coworking spaces. In businesses that find themselves with a larger real estate footprint than needed, some of the space could be transformed into coworking space and leased to individuals or other organizations.
2. Digital signage
Digital signage consists of IoT connected visual displays that can sense the person in front of them. There are so many ways that digital signage can engage interactively with customers, employees, and visitors. From a workplace perspective, imagine digital bulletin boards that display specific information about social events, company announcements, or training opportunities based on the employee viewing them. Digital signage combined with office hoteling solutions could direct mobile employees to an available desk each day in an open office, while wayfinding signage can direct visitors anywhere within the corporate facilities. Digital signage outside a meeting room can change information in real-time to indicate what meeting is scheduled, its duration, and when the space is available for ad-hoc meetings.
3. AI automation through chatbots
Many industries now face a shortage of experienced, skilled employees. To address this real and growing skills gap, companies will turn to artificial intelligence (AI) to automate many routine functions. Enterprise adoption of AI has just gotten started, but it will soon transform the workplace, with employees engaging with chatbots ‘virtual assistants’ for any number of tasks, from finding out which desk to sit at to applying for an internal promotion.
4. Augmented and virtual reality
Augmented and virtual reality wearable gear, such as glasses, gloves, and headsets, will help employees interact with their workspace and their work tasks. For example, in the warehouse, a virtual reality headset can guide employees to the correct products to select when picking an order or show an employee how to connect his forklift to the battery recharging station. Field service employees can view a problem at a customer site or a remote location such as an oil platform and share that visual information in real-time with other technicians or supervisors back at the office.
5. Connected furnishings and occupancy sensors
With occupancy sensors, organizations can collect highly accurate workspace utilization data to help identify ways to more efficiency use real estate. Sensors can also be attached to furniture, such as chairs or sit/stand desks to determine how long employees stand versus sit each day as a measure of both health and furniture utilization. Asure Software’s Workspace Management solutions include occupancy sensors, expert consulting, and the analytical tools to conduct workspace utilization analysis.