There are a lot of corporate trends that either don’t work or are, well, kind of lame. But every now and again there’s a trend that makes sense and holds a lot of promise. The new smart office is one of those. While there’s been an emphasis on tech-enabled, interconnected smart homes over the years, office spaces were largely left out of the conversation until recently. But now, smart office solutions abound. Here are a few creative ways to use them to your advantage.
We all want to use energy more wisely, and cut costs at the same time. Luckily, a smart office can help you accomplish both things. Depending on the specific system, you can coordinate your lighting with the alarm system, so the lights turn on when the security system is disarmed. If your hours of operation aren’t always consistent, this can save electricity since the lights would only work when someone presumably enters the office. Another idea is to use smart lights and automated window shades hand-in-hand, to reduce energy waste and costs.
Other smart office solutions are really out of the box. They can sync up with the weather outside (not even kidding), changing color or brightness based on whether or not the skies are clear or stormy. This can be just plain fun, but it can also provide storm warnings. And, if you have skylights in your building, you could coordinate your lighting to dim or turn off when the sun is shining, then back on when it’s cloudy out. Boom – more energy and cost savings. Plus, it makes a great party trick.
Additionally, smart office solutions can tie together your different systems that are typically kept separate. For example, most businesses handle their scheduling in one software program while their phones are managed elsewhere and HVAC settings are housed in their own silo as well. New solutions make it possible to unite some, many or all of these systems for improved results and ease through automation.
For instance, consider onsite meetings. Through smart systems, you can coordinate your scheduling to alert your lighting and HVAC systems 10 minutes prior to the start of a meeting. This can kick off a gradual brightening of the lights and cooling of the space so it’s ready to go when your visitors arrive. If you know how long the meeting will last, you can automatically cue the converse of this (darkening of the lights and turning off the A/C) as well. You could even take it a step further and loop a smart vacuum into the system. A set period of time prior to a customer coming onsite or a visit from an important partner, the vacuum could be initiated to clean the lobby and meeting room floors.
Data For Future Designs
Ok, so all of this that we’ve covered is pretty damn cool. But perhaps what everyone is most excited about with smart offices is the data it provides. Smart office systems can track who spends how much time in which portions of the building, when they arrive and where they go. It can offer strong clues into how the office design impacts workflow and efficiency. And, it can identify ways to optimize.
For example, think about how many doors your office building has. Smart office data might reveal that only two of your six doors get the lion’s share of use, two others get occasional use and two are never used at all. This information can help you redesign and optimize your office, or make key adjustments for the future.
Many enterprise companies already have their smart offices well underway, but midsize companies are starting to take note. The best part is this technology is accessible to brands of all sizes, with various solutions available at affordable price points based on complexity and functionality. You can spend big bucks and do it all, or you can choose a couple of simple things to try first. However you decide to proceed, we recommend looking into the options.
This space is only going to grow in popularity – and results. We’re big fans. Give us a call if you’d like help reconfiguring your office space or just want to talk to someone else who gets as jazzed as you do about cool trends like this one.