After years of hearing about the fast-approaching Internet of Things, it seems it has now arrived. Our homes and offices are full of objects which are connected to the internet. In just a few years, the notion of connecting a printer to the internet has become commonplace. The same can be said for light bulbs, cars, thermostats – even clothing.
But what about physical spaces? Can they be connected to the internet in the same way?
Smart meeting spaces
The concept of the ‘smart office’ and the IoT are deeply intertwined. By furnishing our offices with connected technologies we can create workplaces which are more habitable and productive.
An organization’s office is usually it’s second largest outlay after its staff. Businesses go to great lengths to maximize the value of that investment. Usually, this comes down to:
- Occupancy– are the number of desks and meeting spaces provided in-line with what staff need?
- Productivity– are the spaces equipped with technology that helps rather than hinders daily activities?
Meeting spaces are a key concern. They take up a lot of floorspace, they house expensive equipment and they’re often where teams come together to collaborate and solve complex problems. Often, they’re where a business’ best work happens. So, it’s vital that they create spaces which facilitate this.
Here are four ways you can use smart, connected technologies to create smarter meeting spaces.
All-in-one booking solutions
A key frustration among staff is booking meeting rooms. Or the inability to do so.
Condeco is a meeting scheduling and room booking platform that helps businesses maximize the use of their meeting spaces by streamlining booking and managing capacity. They also have solutions for desk booking to facilitate hot desking and flexible working.
On top of the digital platform, Condeco supply panels which can be fixed to the wall outside meeting rooms. They can be used to display information, telling passers-by what’s happening inside and when it’s ending. They can also display whether or not the room is booked.
On top of this, users can check in and out of meetings with RFID-enabled cards, creating a more streamlined employee experience. Once the last user has checked out, the room is displayed as free to use, increasing utilization.
Smart lighting & heating
Light and temperature have a huge effect on our mood and productivity. It’s important to get both right if you want to staff to reach peak performance.
Smart lighting systems are now able to adjust the level of light for different times of day. They can also sense when rooms are empty and switch themselves off. Similarly, smart heating systems are much more responsive than traditional thermostat or centrally managed equivalents.
And both can provide a great deal more data, helping leadership to cut waste, reduce costs and be more sustainable.
Desk and meeting room occupancy sensors are a great way of measuring and managing office utilization. They are small, unobtrusive and can be stuck to any surface using peel-and-stick sticky pads.
Once there, they are able to provide data on how much the spaces around your office are being used. They can also show you problem areas – such as rooms that have been booked for a meeting and not used, or peak times in the week when no meeting rooms are free.
You can find out all about them in this recent post.
Interactive whiteboards and videoconferencing services
While face-to-face meetings are still proven to be the most effective way to collaborate and solve problems, many meetings will also have attendees dialing in.
In order to facilitate remote working and ensure that meetings are productive, whether or not attendees are physically in the room, video conferencing solutions are a must.
Interactive whiteboards (also known as smartboards or interactive flat panel displays) are another way of helping remote teams collaborate. Not only can teams sketch out ideas just as they would on a traditional flipchart, documents and notes can be shared automatically with attendees at the end of the session.
What are the benefits of smart meeting spaces?
Smarter meeting spaces offer a range of benefits:
- A much more streamlined experience for attendees and external partners – particularly important for clients – which contributes to the overall success of the meeting
- More data which senior management can use to make more informed decisions about how to plan for the future
What will the workplace of the future look like? Frost & Sullivan predicts that by 2025, the world will have at least 3.7 billion smartphones, 700 million tablets, and 60 million unified communication platforms deployed.
This Ricoh white paper focuses on how the future of office communication is set to become a gateway to digitally empowering smart societies as seen through the lens of technological and socio-demographic megatrends in the years ahead.