Modern-day employees need a workplace that gives them the agility and ability to innovate, share, and implement from wherever they are. A smart work environment is comfortable, interconnected, and empowers the team to engage, collaborate and be efficient and productive. Mobility is pivotal to a digital workplace and technologies like mobile device management and enterprise mobility have administered tools to the employees to accomplish tasks even if they are travelling or in a remote location.
Let’s look at 5 smart technologies that can impact a productive work environment.
1. Collaboration: A modern office is not limited within the four walls of an organization. Most companies have several employees positioned at different locations and/or multiple teams working on the same project. It is no longer enough to use emails or documents to collaborate. Collaboration tools make it easier and quicker to share ideas and feedback and work simultaneously on a project within a group. Commonly used collaboration tools are:
• Screen sharing applications
• Real-time document collaboration tools
• Online document editors and synchronizers
• Shared calendars
• Online and interactive whiteboards
2. Real-Time Communication: Communication is the key to productivity. Even though emails are still dominantly used for communication, smart offices are moving toward alternative platforms for real-time communication. Modern communication tools integrate emails, chats, voice and video calls, image and file sharing in a single communication package. Most of the browsers have started supporting Web RTC, which will make it easier to conduct real-time video conferencing in the browser itself. Some of the popular tools or applications are:
• Instant messaging and chats like Google Hangouts
• Web Conferencing and Video Software
• Wireless presentation solutions
• Intranet or Social networks like Facebook Workplace
• Web RTC
“Passive, less intrusive communication mediums like chat on Google Hangouts, Facebook for Workplace etc. have made our work days more productive by reducing context switches, which were earlier happening due to phone calls for non-urgent matters,” says Kartic Grover, AVP – Product Development, Ameyo.
3. IoT: As the number of devices increase, so does the need to connect them for optimal use. Organization buildings are now gradually evolving into smart workplaces using AI, ML, and wireless beacon technology. For instance, IoT sensors can sense the current room temperature and adjust it to a more comfortable one.
Abhishek Khanna, Strategy Manager, Schneider Electric, shares, “My building uses ‘Workplace Efficiency Tools’ for real-time management of building resources like conference rooms, employee services. etc. These small enhancements add value to the day-to-day life of the employees, which of course positively impacts productivity. We call it occupant satisfaction.”
Generally, IoT provides workplace infrastructure services like
• Temperature control, room control, lighting control
• Space management
• Building management
• Parking management
4. Cloud Technologies: This helps you free up IT resources for more strategic business initiatives and increase employee mobility. You can scale up your business without having to expand your office or hardware. Cloud Technologies help you store data on remote storage devices, your applications and computations can run on remote servers making it easy to run an entire office from the web. There are a variety of computing components that are provided as cloud-based services:
• Software as a Service (Saas)
• Platform as a Service (Paas)
• Infrastructure as a Service
5. EMM and Mobile Device Management Solution: Employees are more assertive in deciding how they want to work, collaborate and communicate. Workplaces have evolved to support mobile and mobility. Most organizations are moving to:
• Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) environments wherein companies support a mix of company-owned and employee-owned devices.
• Mobile Workforce: Many organizations have started to provide flexibility to work from remote locations, be it from home or from any other on-site or off-site locations. Remote/mobile workers or employees on-the-go are known to be more productive because of the flexibility and freedom that they enjoy, which also leads to lower attrition rates for companies. But at the same time, they need to be assisted, monitored and supervised to help them stay productive and efficient with technologies like Enterprise Mobility Management and software such as Mobile Device Management. Companies are increasingly introducing MDM software as a solution to implement security controls over corporate networks, applications, device, and data.
A robust MDM solution enables companies to manage, supervise, view and track enterprise mobile devices while securing and protecting data and applications in these devices. It includes a set of policies that govern software distribution, mobile device provisioning, service maintenance, and security management.
A productive workplace powered by technological innovations is always in a better position to evolve, collaborate, connect, sustain and scale by adopting flexible, agile, efficient and competent work scenarios. But securing your devices and data is equally important to deliver a connected yet protected work environment to your employees.
Vandita is a passionate writer and IT enthusiast. By profession, she is a Computer Lecturer at the University of Delhi and has previously worked as a Software Engineer with Aricent Technologies.