A French artist in 1899 created a series of drawings imagining what the world would look like in the year 2000. It’s clear from the illustrations, published on the Public Domain Review, just how ambitious he was about how automated the world would be. The world might not look anything like it does in his pictures, but offices certainly have become a lot smarter – and they’re getting smarter all the time. Smart offices – and smart homes – are becoming an everyday phenomenon thanks to wireless internet connection and smartphones. We’ll take a look at why smart offices are the way forward and how you can make your workspace smarter.
The Internet of Things has spawned a new generation of offices.
So what is a smart office anyway? Smart offices use devices connected by wifi to automate processes we’d usually have to carry out ourselves. Not only that, but some devices can even do things we wouldn’t have been able to do in the first place – like know when a plant needs watering based on moisture levels in its soil. Printers are now able to alert you when they’re running low on ink, and Voice over IP (VoIP) phones allow us to conduct video calls via the internet with people on the other side of the planet – and at a fraction of the cost of an international phone call.
Smart offices save you money, are more efficient and are nicer places to work.
Smart offices create efficiencies in the workplace and save costs, even though the initial startup costs of smart offices might be higher than those of traditional offices. With a more technologically advanced office, you’re also less likely to suffer those technical hiccoughs that cause downtime and stress. What’s more, a smart office can motivate your workforce, helping them become more productive. After all, who wouldn’t be happy working in a more modern office? Smart offices also make it easier for teams to collaborate and work more efficiently, even if located remotely.
How can you make your office smarter? Let’s take a look at just a small selection of tools that are bringing offices into the 21st century and beyond.
1) Print anywhere with Google Cloud Print.
Google Cloud Print has made working on the move a doddle. It’s no longer necessary to be in the same place as the printer you want to use, and have to connect your computer to it with a physical wire. You can print a document in London from your iPhone while sitting on the beach in Cape Town. What’s more, there’s no limit to the number of printers you can connect to through your account. This is a great example of how the gap between technology and stationery supplies is being bridged.
2) Plant Link helps you be a better gardener.
Greenery adds cheer to any office space. But remembering to water the plants can be a challenge, especially if your colleagues haven’t been blessed with green fingers. Plant Link has created a device that sits in the soil with your plants, measures the moisture level of the soil and then alerts you when it’s time to water them. If only they’d develop an app that would tell you when your stock cupboard was running low on stationery supplies.
3) Twine is as good as being omnipresent.
With Twine you can be a fly on the wall, and then some. The durable monitor detects temperature, vibration and orientation, and then sends you alerts. You know when to turn the thermostat down, when the washing machine’s finished and even when the garage door is still open. While these might be Twine’s more domestic applications, they’ll make it easy to create an optimal office environment.
4) Never worry about leaving appliances on again, with the help of WeMo.
Belkin’s WeMo might have been designed for home automation, but it can undoubtedly be used in the workspace. It lets you turn appliances on or off remotely, so you won’t ever have to worry about leaving the aircon or lights on in the office over the weekend.
5) Be a fly on the wall, with Get Piper.
Security is another aspect of creating a safe and productive workspace that can be automated and made smarter. Rather than employing a security guard to patrol your office building after hours, why not consider Get Piper? It’s a discreet, wireless camera that you can monitor from your smartphone. It’ll even send you an SMS if it detects motion.