“According to AVIXA, building owners and managers are looking to smart tech, to help them welcome people back in a safe, Covid-compliant manner. Which technologies offer lasting ROI benefits that go beyond the pandemic?”
The digital workplace transformation has been accelerated in just a matter of months due to the pandemic. Building managers in the corporate sector are relying on smart tech to help shape their safe-return-to-work plans. But the past year has also offered businesses the chance to identify what they want their workplace culture to be like beyond the pandemic, with a focus on staff wellbeing and productivity, optimised space management and reduced energy consumption.
The technologies required will need to be able to work well today and evolve for tomorrow, as long-term ROI will become increasingly important moving forward. Clients are looking for scalable solutions that will grow with them, flex to respond tofuture crises, and adapt to the changing needs of staff.
The seamless integration of hardware and software solutions will be key for developing a cost-effective and intelligent space management strategy whilst making collaboration more inclusive.
Solutions that are reliable and easy-to-use, and can be accessed from anywhere on any device, will empower employees to work more efficiently and confidently, providing reassurances and matching the expectations of new, young talent.
Steven Dullaert, Sales Director at Technological Innovations Group (TIG), EMEA sales agency for premium tech brands that integrate harmoniously to form superior smart spaces, says: “By choosing scalable, integrated technology bundles that provide a well-rounded yet bespoke solution, organisations will enjoy lasting ROI benefits. They’ll automatically give themselves more options to be innovative and agile in the way they overcome and thrive on today’s challenges and prepare for tomorrow’s.”
Pre-pandemic, office managers were already implementing a hot desking or coworking strategy as part of their modern workplace initiative. Real estate costs are at a premium when space utilisation is poorly managed. With many companies looking to reduce their overheads whilst still investing in the wellbeing of their people, technologies that simplify the booking process will improve staff efficiency, boost productivity and enhance the overall employee experience. Meanwhile, the ability to capture accurate usage data will be critical for informed workplace design that makes the safest and smartest use of space.
The ideal hot desking solution will comprise of a robust and flexible scheduling platform, digital signage to communicate safety measures and reinforce protocols, occupancy sensor technology to deliver real-time availability information, and BYOD capability so staff can manage their working day from anywhere and with a zero-touch approach.
This integration is available from TIG: the Rendezvous booking app from NFS Technology Group works with the Desk Sign by Embrava to eliminate common employee concerns and anxieties when moving to a flexible office environment. With one tap check-in, Embrava indicates when a space is occupied, awaiting disinfection or available for next use, whilst NFS provides managers with real-time visibility via automated notifications on how spaces are being used. This helps manage social distancing at work whilst reducing the wastage of space, time and resources.
A recent workplace survey conducted by NFS revealed that meeting rooms will likely become technology-enabled, touchless collaboration hubs for anywhere workforces. Crestron’s CEN-ODT-C-POE occupancy sensor is a powerful component to any installation, bringing all tech to life the moment a user walks in and monitoring space usage via the cloud. Once the room has awoken, AirMedia enables wireless content sharing, securely from a personal device.
Steven predicts that BYOD will be a lasting benefit beyond the pandemic: “We’ll become so used to touchless control that it will feel odd to ever go back to manual operation. Not only does it reduce the risk of contagion, it is super convenient for the hybrid working era, providing ease of use for on-the-go workforces and empowering employees to collaborate more efficiently.”
The need for advanced yet simple-to-use unified collaboration tools will also grow as flexible working becomes more established and employers seek to make their workspaces futureproof and accessible to all. Hoylu’s digital collaboration software works with Crestron Flex to create an agile and inclusive culture that drives success! Their integration with Microsoft Teams offers flawless videoconferencing, but Hoylu’s capabilities go beyond simple screen-sharing to include an infinite canvas that offers synchronous presentation and interaction. Dynamic and engaging, this can be accessed and actively added to from anywhere, at any time – even after the meeting has ended. Interaction-tracking shows who exactly has been contributing, helping managers to determine the ROI of their hybrid working model.
When outfitting workspaces for improved collaboration, there are many options and conditions to consider, to avoid wasting time and expense. One such option is choosing the right AV furniture to streamline and futureproof the transformation of existing conference and meeting rooms. Salamander Designs’ mobile stands are compact in design, scalable and portable, so they can beautifully integrate with the UC tech already installed and can be easily shared between multiple spaces. Additionally, the need for reliable power monitoring solutions will become more important. Intelligent power distribution units from GUDE offer remote access switching and metering options for connected devices on the IT network, providing the ability to securelyprogramme and monitor power usage across the entire network from any location, on or off-site. It also supports long-term sustainability goals by reducing energy wastage and CO2 emissions – an increasing priority for businesses. The automated shutdown of devices with high standby power consumptionwill save on electricity costs whilst increasing the longevity of devices by avoiding continuous 24/7 operation.
“Beyond the quick-fix solutions we can implement today, it’s important to take a long-term view, no matter how uncertain the future may feel,” says Steven.“Achieving a strong return on investment comes from ergonomics. Integrated smart space systems provide the reliability and flexibility tonot only help bring people safely back to the workplace, but to enhance the reputation of a business by putting them ahead of the curve as a leader in employee satisfaction.”