The Internet of Things is expanding daily. Workspace operators already hold the main elements required: objects (things) and connectivity (internet). The next step is to bring it all together – and the functionality is already at your fingertips.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is already a multi-billion pound industry, and the opportunities for the workplace industry are seemingly limitless. Best of all, this is just the beginning of an exciting revolution.
First, a brief explanation.
The Internet of Things is a vast collection of physical objects connected through an online network. “Things,” in this sense, is virtually anything with the ability to connect to the Internet: smartphones, smart TVs, monitoring implants, fitness bracelets, cars with built-in bluetooth, tracking sensors…the list is endless.
When you consider the ease at which inanimate objects can be connected – for instance, plugging a Chromecast dongle into your TV to watch Netflix, or using a smartphone app to control your heating at home – it’s easy to see how this library of objects, or things, is expanding so rapidly.
“IoT is an ever-expanding universe of everyday objects, connected with sensors and communicating with each other wirelessly over the internet,” explained Joe Murray, Channel Director at essensys, in his blog post. “It’s about to transform the way we live and work.”
What does this have to do with workspace operators?
Potentially, everything. Workspaces are connected in more ways than you think. There are massive opportunities to use wireless connectivity to create a sleeker, smoother and more efficient experience for your clients. And it can help you manage your workspace better by reducing time-intensive tasks and by keeping your finger firmly on the pulse of your centre’s performance.
essensys’ whitepaper, ‘A New Era of Smart Buildings‘, delves deeper into the Internet of Things and highlights some of the immediate benefits it represents for workspace operators.
On the ground level, here are a few simple examples of how greater connectivity between the items and objects in your business centre – printers, lights, even office doors – can improve office management:
- Energy metering, like the smart meters in your home, transmit data to help you generate more accurate client billing on energy usage.
- Real-time tracking capabilities, such as ‘recognising’ a client as they walk through the door, enables operators to know how much time specific users spend in their space and can bill accordingly. It also helps coworking operators to better understand their most valuable clients.
- When your printer runs low on ink or toner, the machine itself can automatically re-order the correct items.
- Motion detectors dim lights when the office is vacant, helping to save power and energy. This can also be applied to window blinds, heating, and natural ventilation.
- A system for secure access on building and office doors – for instance, if a user attempts to enter without approved access – send images to the operator’s smartphone. The door can also be locked remotely.
- During an emergency, staff presence and location in the office building can be tracked with GPS technology.
- Parking sensors guide drivers through a smartphone app or car navigation panel to the nearest available spot.
You probably already have some of this functionality in place. The next step is to connect these separate entities in such a way that allows data to be transmitted to a single portal that’s user-friendly and easily accessible.
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This part of the process is still in its early days, but it is only a matter of time before a choice of solutions hit the market.
essensys is one service provider that’s already doing it. Their Bluefin platform (the engine room of JEFF) has this functionality in place – and they are beginning to work with building and workspace operators to bring the strings of IoT together.
In the UK alone, IoT technology is already installed in approximately 40 million devices. By 2020, Gartner predicts that there will be close to 30 billion connected things worldwide, generating trillions of dollars in economic value.
It’s a big vision, but most business centre and workspace operators already have ownership of the “things” required – notably, the objects and the communication channels. The next step is to make it ‘smart’, and by doing so, to join an exciting revolution of connectivity and synchronised workspaces. Now that’s a smart move.