Smart office: luxury or necessity in 2020-30?
The introduction of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and processing of large amounts of information became the growth points of the smart office several years ago. But, according to all the laws of evolution, changes penetrated the masses gradually. However, 2020 quickly and irrevocably turned the global economy upside down: even the most conservative businessmen embraced changes. Let’s take a look at what constitutes a smart office in the post-pandemic era: luxury or necessity?
What is a smart office?
The term “smart office” refers to a kind of intelligent ecosystem that manages and controls the living conditions of the office.
A smart office encompasses a variety of products and technologies that enhance staff productivity and, consequently, reduce business costs. This is the main task of a smart office. In practice, this happens due to a number of smart devices connected to the Internet and combined into one single system.
In addition, the benefits of a smart office are:
- providing increased security. This is facilitated by an office video surveillance system and integration with other sensors (security, fire), with access control systems. Due to the introduction of integration structures, the likelihood of unlawful acts and occurrence of conflict situations in the office is reduced;
- maintaining a comfortable working environment (temperature, humidity, lighting). In particular, it is worth paying attention to the research of Cornell University (USA). Scientists have found that a room temperature of 20 degrees Celsius leads to office workers making 44% more mistakes than at a more comfortable ambient temperature (25 degrees). Explanation: The physiological characteristics of the human body determine the concentration of forces to maintain body heat when the ambient temperature is low. Accordingly, labor productivity falls;
- saving energy resources due to automatic regulation;
- general increase in labor productivity and optimization of business processes.
But, obviously, there are also disadvantages of a smart system:
- dependence on power supply;
- high cost of maintaining the office and its software;
- possible problems with maintaining the confidentiality of personal data.
Impact of the pandemic on office operations. 3 new trends
COVID-19 has affected all aspects of people’s lives. However, the global pandemic opened a window for rebooting and rethinking the world around us: conditions appeared for a different, more meaningful format of life. And it is precisely in the workplace and in business that this window of opportunity will have to be fully exploited.
This is facilitated by 3 important trends:
- Increased competition in the office real estate market.
The forced transition to remote work influenced the demand for office real estate: it dropped to record lows.
It can be assumed that after COVID-19 retreats, everyone will return back. However, the heads of the largest companies (such as Facebook, Slack, Twitter, Zillow, Square, Shopify) suggested that their employees never return to the office. They set trends and others pick them up.
- Increased speed of automation.
Today, the importance of such an issue as reducing the risks associated with the mass morbidity of personnel is at maximum. And it is the automation of processes that can increase a company’s stability in the market and protect it from future (possible) epidemics.
- Ensuring the standards of epidemiological safety.
Contactless technologies are our future. We are talking about technologies for access systems, door opening, contactless elevator control, innovative ventilation systems and intelligent video surveillance. If we talk about the last point, then the installation of office video surveillance will necessarily complement the video with analytical systems for face recognition, listing, segmentation and classification of visitors. Details here.
Luxury or necessity? Expert arguments
Based on a research report from MarketsandMarkets, the smart office market will grow to $46.11 billion by 2023. But just three years ago, it barely reached $22 billion.
Experts point out that a smart office is an effective investment in the rental segment in the real estate market.
Naturally, Russian businessmen are skeptical about smart office technologies and are not ready to invest in innovative technologies. This market is at an early stage of development.
But in the near future, the decisive factor when choosing an office center/premises will be a high level of comfortable environment and contactless technologies. At the same time, smart video surveillance for an office will have a central place in the security system and in solving business problems.
Even today there are many technologies for creating a smart office. These are various virtual assistants, protection and energy saving systems, smart furniture and office equipment. But this is just the beginning. A smart office will, in fact, change the way a business operates, and more comfortable working conditions will stimulate optimal productivity and creativity.