By Kevin Schmidt, VP of Technology Services at SiteREADY
Our entire lives are converging on the Internet, creating the buzz phrase known as the “Internet of Things”, or IoT. The breadth and depth of the IoT is limitless, but think of it simply as connecting anything with an on-off switch to the Internet so that it can be controlled remotely via your computer or mobile device. That might sound like something that has already been done in a lot of ways, but the IoT is still very young, especially in the workplace. Corporate real estate and technology leaders are racing to stay ahead of the curve by integrating the IoT into their workplace technology strategy in various ways, namely:
Physical buildings are becoming marvels of technology, thanks to building automation systems (BAS). Mechanical, heating and cooling systems can all be controlled–or better yet, control themselves–through a centralized platform that connects to the Internet. Imagine an entire skyscraper being completely automated and accessible from a mobile app.
This is currently the least mature aspect of the IoT, largely because many building systems have remained the same for decades and there is not yet a Windows-like product in the BAS market. However, there are several impressive BAS solutions out there for early adapters.
Power Over Ethernet (PoE) Lighting
The advent of LEDs revolutionized lighting and set the stage for Power over Ethernet (PoE) solutions that are easier and more cost-effective to install, manage and maintain than traditional lighting. They also require significantly less energy. LED fixtures work in the same standard grids that most office building use now, and plug directly into the company’s or building’s network infrastructure. Between the cost, labor and energy savings, LEDs usually pay for themselves within six months to a year.
The days of everyone having a dedicated computer and landline are fading fast. Companies are realizing the need for BYOD–Bring Your Own Device–connectivity. Why? My colleague, Dylan McCrory, put it perfectly:
“Everyone has their own preferences in terms of which device and operating system they use, and we all customize our devices to both our personal and business lives. Aside from being convenient, BYOD presents an opportunity for companies to realign their budgeting. Instead purchasing devices for employees, they’re able to invest in more advanced technology solutions while employees connect on their own devices.”
BYOD is almost the embodiment of what IoT is all about: making life more convenient by connecting “things” to the Internet. While building automation is still an emerging technology, BYOD is fully mature and a cornerstone of virtually any modern workplace.
Building security is one of the more intriguing areas where the IoT is beginning to develop. With cameras, doors, locks, floors and–like we said–entire buildings now controllable through the Internet, companies can have more control over their security features and manage them remotely.
The future of the IoT is essentially the future of workplace technology integration. At SiteREADY, we help businesses keep up with the evolution of the IoT by bringing technology into the picture during the earliest phases of workplace build-outs and creating a clear workplace technology strategy. Learn more in our free workplace technology white paper.