Elements of the Smart Office

Over the last few years, the term “smart” has been used more and more frequently to describe the technology that has become integrated into our daily lives. Now, smartphones and smartwatches are practically ubiquitous, smart cars are starting to hit the pavement and smart homes are becoming the norm.  The “smart” trend is becoming equally as present in our workplaces as well. Smart technology is making the transition from our personal lives to our workplace, and in doing so, this technology is reshaping the modern office. It is not only changing the way we meet, present and collaborate, it is changing the physical environment in which we work as well.

And because of this rapid infiltration of smart technology, it is important to be up to date on this rapidly evolving technology— a seemingly daunting task. But don’t fear! PGi is here to present you with the elements that are beginning to integrate together to build one incredibly smart office of the future. Check out the SlideShare below to learn more.

 

Smart Furniture

Let’s start with the physical environment. Today’s office has been reshaped many times over the last few decades. Once closed-off offices and conference rooms, today’s workspace typically consist of open spaces built for collaboration. Cubicles walls have been torn down and replaced with shared desks or unassigned seating areas.

And while the physical set up of these environments has changed, so has the furniture we use on a daily basis. Cue ambient intelligence technology (AmI), a paradigm built on pervasive computing and human-centric interaction design. Together, these characteristics create an abstract network of devices that can anticipate and change in response to your behavioral patterns; recognize you and your situational context; and are integrated into the environment.

And while this technology has been apparent in smart homes for years, its place in the workplace is becoming more popular than ever. Companies are utilizing this technology to help confirm your presence in conference rooms and to indicate your presence at your desk and in the office. Not only has this type of tech helped with understanding employee behavior inside the workspace (like which conference rooms are actually being used during the day), but it has given companies an opportunity to save on energy consumption — a $38 billion a year bill.

Moreover, other examples of AmI are just here to make our office a little more comfortable. Like standing desks that remember your particular adjustment settings, or chairs that can register your heart rate and can cue music to relieve your stress. In the future, it is not hard to believe that furniture in our offices will have the ability to communicate from one room to another, adapting to employee’s specific needs and requirements as they walk around their office.

Smart Meetings

Everyone has a love/hate relationship with meetings. At times they’re inherently important for project completion, and at other times they’re so pointless and inefficient it is mind-numbing. But what if the guesswork of scheduling meetings, taking notes and following up was taken out of the equation? Wouldn’t that make meetings that much more pleasant and efficient?

Smart meetings are a new paradigm of meetings that aim to act as productivity tools in their own right – instead of being productivity antagonists. These types of meetings will take on the meticulous and often tedious tasks of daily meetings.

Before your meeting even begins, artificial intelligence tools could take over scheduling requirements. These scheduling tools work like a personal assistant, scanning each member’s calendar to find the right time and place for everyone to meet, ultimately saving you the average seven emails it takes to set up a meeting.

During the call, the most obvious manual process to be displaced is the taking and distributing of notes or minutes. This type of note-taking service in the smart meeting of the future could evolve from mere transcription to providing breakdowns of deliverables to due dates and notifications, all automatically sent to respective meeting attendees. Notes and recordings of a smart meeting would be immediately available within a shared workspace. Additionally, automated tagging could make it easier to find said notes at a later date — putting an end to email chains titled, “What Did I Miss in the Meeting?”

Smart meetings are all about efficiencies — all about avoiding the estimated $37 billion lost each year due to inefficient meetings. As the pivotal tools that make up smart meetings continue to evolve, our perceptions of meetings will continue to evolve as well, creating a better, more interconnected process rather than the busywork-generating clutter on our calendars.

Smart Presentations

Gone are the days of flipping through slide decks of boring, two-toned colored graphs and terrible word art. The future of presentations has taken on a more engaging and collaborative feel, especially over the last few years. It’s no secret that virtual reality (VR) has steadily become one of the most sought after pieces of consumer technology. But VR isn’t far off from becoming a cornerstone in changing the way we host conference calls, present information and collaborate together.

One company, WorldViz, is already trying to change the way we present information with their virtual reality platform, Skofield, which is in alpha testing. The tool utilizes VR’s inherent ability to provide user “presence” within a virtual environment to bring people together in a virtual meeting setting. This type of technology could be especially important for the manufacturing sector; disparate teams will be able to better collaborate on the design of products, leading to increased output and reduced cost.

Skofield represents just one example of how VR might reinvent the global workplace and collaboration. VR technology has the power to improve collaboration and productivity while facilitating increased concentration through VR’s immersive environments.

To learn more about the different technologies becoming prevalent in the workplace of the future, check out our newest free eBook, 2017 Future of Business Collaboration.

About Andrea Duke

Andrea Duke
Andrea is a Georgia-native who specializes in communications. When she's not blogging for PGi, you can catch her playing or watching soccer, hiking or attempting crafts from Pinterest.

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