The internet of things, or IoT, encompasses a huge realm of smart devices ranging from smartphones to smart buildings. The smart office market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 13% through 2023, with offices across all industries using smart devices to boost efficiency, promote employee comfort and safety, drive smart business decisions, and more.
If you’re looking to implement IoT devices in your organization, consider starting with these IoT devices designed to improve your office.
Nothing beats the feeling of arriving at your office to find a fresh pot of coffee waiting for you — and nothing’s worse than going to pour yourself a cup and finding only dregs. A smart coffee maker will not only boost productivity and morale with a constant flow of caffeine but will also save employees the time and monotony of making coffee. Most smart coffee machines will also alert you when stock levels are low so you never run out.
Intelligent lighting can make your office more energy-efficient and more comfortable. For example, both motion sensor light bulbs and light bulbs that can learn employees’ schedules can ensure that lights are only on when the space is being used, reducing energy usage. Other options allow you to adjust color balance and brightness as the day progresses, minimizing eye discomfort, stress, and strain.
Smart window shades are also a good option to prevent glare, utilize natural light when possible, and reduce heat from sunlight on warm days.
Smart thermostats from brands such as Honeywell, Nest, and Ecobee can connect to your building’s HVAC system to control the temperature in different areas, saving energy and keeping everyone comfortable. Studies have found that temperature and employee productivity are directly related, so maintaining an optimal temperature can have big payoffs.
Most smart thermostats are easy to use, and some can even be controlled by an Alexa, Siri, or voice command.
Studies have found that a hygienic and healthy work environment is important to the happiness of nearly all employees (94%), yet custodial staff can be disruptive to concentration (not to mention expensive). Many offices are now turning to smart vacuums to streamline part of their custodial work and save money.
Robotic vacuums from companies such as Roomba or Eufy will even alert you when they’re full, giving you one less thing to worry about. And for other tasks, you can always call in a custodian once a month or as needed.
Managing conference room occupancy becomes a lot easier when IoT enters the picture. Employees can see which rooms are available at any given time from a website or app, and many IoT-enabled conference rooms offer on-site hardware for booking as well, so last-minute meetings are reflected in the master schedule. If a meeting ends early or runs over, some IoT conference rooms will even automatically update the schedule to show that they’re available once more or still booked.
Interactive boards and smart projectors even benefit those attending a meeting remotely, allowing them to see what’s physically displayed in the conference room without a shared screen.
IoT security solutions — including alarms, security cameras, sensors, and locks — are a smart investment for any company, especially if your area has a history of break-ins. Electronic access control systems even allow employees to use their smartphones to unlock doors, replacing keys, fobs, cards, and badges. Simply have employees, clients, and visitors install the mobile app, and you can control permissions in real-time — no more changing locks or issuing new keys or badges.
Many offices are already using smart printers and MFP’s that can monitor ink and paper levels and alert support staff when they’re low or there is a service issue. IoT printers and MFP’s that are connected to inventory systems can even track inventory levels and make orders before supplies run out, all without human interaction.
However, scanners are also making headway in the IoT to improve office efficiency. For example, with IoT scanners from Kodak Alaris, you can configure them with a simple QR code scan, and content can be onboarded directly into business processes and the real-time acknowledgment received at the point of scanning. Thanks to immediate exception notifications, missing forms, signatures, and other crucial information can be caught and corrected instantly, saving money and improving the customer experience.
Document scanners from Kodak Alaris also allow IT organizations to automate access to the scanner's data which is ideal for remote management of large fleets. This includes usage reporting and/or alert management as well as configuration and operational data such as device model, serial #, and firmware version. The result is higher productivity and investment yield.
These features, like those of all office IoT devices, save you time and money without compromising on usability.