But let’s leave out the frightening
complications which come with Shadow or Stealth IT and apply equally to
authorized IT solutions during any roll-out. All new solutions have a potential
risk of data loss and leaks or dysfunctions. Systems get better and safer over
time – so let’s assume all mentioned solutions below are consistent with the
business logic and “safe” during individual application. And let’s assume you
have no major data privacy concerns, a steady power supply and bandwidth/WiFi
connection as well as the budget
to ensure the cost of ownership of the IoT office devices and software.

First of all, the Internet of Things makes it
easier for companies to reduce their carbon
footprint
. Smart metering for the heating, connected lightning and aligned
energy utilization with building occupancy, outside temperature, degree of
sunlight and other variables transform new buildings into Green Houses. In this
way, sustainability becomes manageable and scalable with true business impact. Just
imagine a cohort of facility trainees rushing around the office to shade the
windows or turn off the light in a 18-floor building. Or even funnier, imagine
employees taking care of closing the curtains before a sunny weekend or turning
off the light when leaving a room. Human performance is unreliable in such
situations. But a sensor has no weekend, the internet doesn’t sleep either do
the smart sensors or devices. What a bless.
I couldn’t find any numbers, I just can assume that smart houses don’t kill
jobs. Cause they are fulfilling demands humankind hadn’t have before, so there
were no people doing it and can accordingly not be dismissed. Instead, higher
skilled employees are needed in IT and facility management to install and
maintain the smart systems. And employees can concentrate on their duties – as
they did before – not caring about the carbon footprint of their company; actually,
it might happen that they work better and more efficient when they are
comfortable.
Sensors and pattern detection offer a great
variety of security-related services and business purposes. Just think about
the hot desk policy, some companies experiment with. Wouldn’t it be great to
lead each employee to the best spot, gather them together to save energy in
non-busy moments, track the usage of common spacing to find optimum usage etc.
pp.

As well on the cost and energy saving side but
with high impact on the collaboration
are the conference and meeting tools which work more reliable and with a better
user experience from month to month. I still remember the frozen faces of my
interview partners when I did my first remote interviews in2007. It was a
bummer and far away from the face to face presence dedicated product manager
promoted.
Lately I experienced the Meeting Owl – an adorable device
with a 360° intelligent video conferencing camera. It amazed me as much as
Google’s Jamboard
or Microsoft’s Surface
Hub
. All of them are very smart devices, which make sense, if remote
collaboration and teamwork don’t need a price tag.

That we have to reframe our attitude towards
remote-present-colleagues shows this TED talk:

 

This “Skype on a stick on wheels” scenario
might not be the best solution. But it shows two things: the power of face2face
presence and the lag of functional human-robot interaction.
The Mandarin
Oriental
in Las Vegas operates with Pepper
at the minute. And I am positive that our office management wouldn’t mind to
hand over all postal service inquiries to a robot – preferably tomorrow. But if
you experienced Pepper yourself at a fair or wherever, you will agree that’s
still a long way to go – apart from telling a joke, displaying information and
being an adorable piece of plastic, Pepper doesn’t stand out conversational wise.

Many experts claim that voice-controlled devices are the next big thing in our offices. Alexa
for Business
e.g. will read out loud your schedule, take notes,
remind you of tasks or set up a conference call. With private skills every
company can enhance the services provided. The only remaining question is how
comfortable the colleagues will be with virtual assistants who just did as they
were told and who are continuously under suspicion of spying on their
surroundings.

Apropos spying: All that sensors and online
check-ins would be an excellent measurement of productivity. Just imagine your
next review would be fuelled not just by your browser history (which of course
no one tracks), by your movement record (which comes with that nice smartwatch
you were rewarded with) or by the sentiment analysis of your latest client calls
(operated with Alexa). The all-seeing-office IT and deep quantification might
become your darkest nightmare.
On the other hand, the slightest increase in our business efficiency can become
a powerful competitive advantage (personally and companywide). A comfortable
office environment can help being more productive and attracts best talents. Personally,
I have mixed feelings towards the IoT-enabled office and I am not sure if all
parties (employers, employees, their lobbies and all the tech guys) are ready
to discuss the issues evolving in depth yet. But let’s see and “hey google,
turn on the light, please!”

Stefanie Wibbeke

Stefanie Wibbeke

Marketing & Communications

Stefanie spearheads our communication and content marketing spreading the word about us via every channel. Residing in Hamburg by choice, she couldn’t live without her daily dose of crocheting.

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