- 5G can help operators innovate and operate safely.
- 5G enables a range of super-smart technologies, providing a competitive advantage.
- But 5G also poses a threat to operators, if it’s not used properly.
Let’s get one thing straight. 5G does not cause COVID-19. But this next-generation wireless network could help your building unlock real value and, somewhat fittingly, provide you with a competitive edge in the post-COVID world of work.
How? Let’s start with the concept of the touchless office. As our offices slowly reopen, operators must comply with social distancing rules and take other preventative measures to curb the spread of germs and safely bring members back into the space.
The touchless office – where technologies and other solutions are put into place to minimise contact in your workspace – is a primary enabler to achieve this.
But a touchless office relies on ubiquitous connectivity, where members can use smart devices to open doors, check-in, pay for items, and complete other such tasks. This is where 5G can help operators provide seamless connectivity in their workspaces.
5G can also help you monitor your members, allowing you to collect data to optimise your space. Research from analyst house Gartner reveals 16% of employers are using technologies more frequently to monitor their employees, including tracking work computer usage and allowing staff to virtually check-in and check-out of the office.
The research states: “While some companies track productivity, others monitor employee engagement and well-being to better understand employee experience.”
What’s more, Gartner predicts employee monitoring will increase in our post-COVID world, as the research adds: “Even before the pandemic, organisations were increasingly using nontraditional employee monitoring tools, but that trend will be accelerated by new monitoring of remote workers and the collection of employee health and safety data.”
For workspace operators, 5G can help you collect massive amounts of data. This could ultimately help you enhance your building, to better meet the needs of your members. You could, for example, monitor how members use your space to optimise its usage or monitor individuals to provide a personalised experience.
The speed of connection will be transformed by 5G, with some estimates claiming 5G could be 100 times faster than existing 4G networks.
The benefits from a user perspective are clear. Your members will be able to interact with your space at lightning speed. They will be able to do their work, quicker. Surf the net, quicker. Do everything, quicker. Research reveals 5G could increase productivity in the UK workforce by 2%, which is the equivalent of a £3.7+ billion contribution.
At last year’s Flex Summit, 5G devices were also predicted to further transform the workforce, allowing users to capture videos, take notes on a digital white board, record their voice, and share their work around the world via the cloud.
That’s not all. Using the Internet of Things, everything can now be connected in your workspace. “5G technology is ideal for connecting vast numbers of Internet of Things devices from movement sensors to smart printers in order to create the fully digital workplace,” says Ziad Banyamin, Solutions Architect at JLL, speaking in a statement.
There is a downside to the wonders of 5G for workspace operators. In a world of limitless connectivity, how are you going to attract members to your space?
Think about it. A recent Gartner poll revealed 48% of employees are likely to work remotely in some capacity after COVID-19, versus 30% before the pandemic. 5G will open up greater opportunities for remote working, even in areas where cellular connectivity issues currently exist. So, homeworking will be enabled for the masses.
What’s more, super-fast connectivity will not be a differentiating feature for shared workspaces in our 5G-enabled world of work. It will be an expectation for every workspace around the world, as 5G is slowly rolled out across the globe.
That’s why you need to think outside the box to attract and retain members into your space, using limitless connectivity to your advantage. 5G is only an enabler for these differentiating technologies. But how you choose to use 5G will ultimately decide the future of your workspace.