The Internet of Things (IoT) is a revolutionary technology that is transforming how people communicate, work, shop, research, and much more. When considering the impact of IoT technology on everyday life, we initially think of "smarter" phones, home appliances, cars, and fitness trackers -- but the possibilities and created by IoT infrastructure will far surpass the life of the everyday consumer.
In fact, the IoT is positioned to transform the workplace setting; making business processes more productive, efficient, and reactive to data. Here are a few of the different ways the Internet of Things has impacted today’s office.
The Workplace Is Safer
Keeping up with maintenance schedules for your equipment and tools isn’t always easy; especially if you’re in a high-upkeep industry like manufacturing or construction, where monitoring the quality, condition, and performance of equipment is vital to keeping operations running. Routine is vital, but instead of keeping a spreadsheet with maintenance dates on it, what if the device itself were to tell you when it needed attention?
The IoT will enhance predictive maintenance within the manufacturing sector. OEMs will be alerted when various tools and equipment require maintenance or replacement, and when a part is at risk for malfunction. But this ability is not limited to the manufacturing sector. In the workplace setting, for example, your IoT connected elevators will alert maintenance technicians when it’s time for an inspection or repair. Doors and windows can alert building security if they’re left open or unlocked. All of this translates to a safer and more efficient workplace.
New Data Leads to New Challenges
Of course, while the IoT will make some things less challenging, it will also create new challenges for offices. One of these challenges comes in the form of the massive amount of data the IoT will allow you to collect. With all of this data, you may need to create new platforms for its sorting, storage, and analysis. You may also analyze the data and see that some of your long-standing processes need to be changed. While that will ultimately help your business, the challenges of creating new and better processes and then implementing them can be difficult.
It’s Easier to Go Green
As the IoT becomes more and more integrated with buildings, equipment, and other appliances, it will be easier to become more environmentally friendly. For example, devices connected to the internet can remotely be turned on and off. This means you can shut off the lights and HVAC in a building when no one is there, turn off any equipment that’s not being used, and even program appliances to power on and off at specific times. Some smart thermostats can even go online to get the weather forecast for the day and cycle on and off at optimal times to keep a building as comfortable as possible while using the least amount of electricity.
Collaboration Will Be Easier
Need to work with someone in another part of your building, across the city, or even in another country? While the internet has already made this much easier than before, the IoT will make collaboration even easier. You’ll be able to connect with others no matter where you are, share and get information from equipment in the field, and much more.
Everything Will Have Sensors
In order to fully communicate and share information, more and more devices will start coming equipped with various sensors. These sensors can do anything from telling when a door is opened to report room temperature. Sensors are able to detect light levels, check for motion, determine when a container is empty or full, and much, much more. All of this will give you more information about the state of equipment, rooms, and even your employees, while also giving you more control over just about every aspect of your workplace.
Robots Are Coming
While human-looking and acting androids may still be elements of science-fiction, robots are going to become increasingly common in the workplace. They may not be taking over people’s jobs, but they will be there to assist employees. One such use of these robots is teleconferencing. Instead of gathering employees in a conference room, a telepresence robot can navigate through the office and act as a mobile webcam and audio system. The idea is to create something similar to an in-person meeting that can occur anywhere.