Increasing digitalization is the determining trend in 2019 and the foreseeable future for commercial real estate, especially office real estate. User well-being and experience is a main focus when setting up a smart office or #ModernWorkplace. The use of the modern office and working environment should bring sustainable improvements for users and solve problems of classic office use.
Aside from working with interruptions, conventional offices contribute also contribute to several health problems from insufficient movement and high psychological strain. This results in high sickness rates and dissatisfaction among employees.
A smart office and modern workplace strategy can significantly improve working conditions for employees. More than that though, it can also provide a balanced environment for employees as well as allow cost reductions.
Digital technologies enable smart working environments
The essential factor for the successful implementation of a modern workplace strategy is the use of digital technologies. It helps make work processes easier for the employees. This includes unified communications and collaboration technology, as well as intelligent bookings and service offerings just to name a few.
In addition to that, it is also used to collect relevant data required for the design and management of a smart office. However, questions about digital privacy and personal data quickly arise. For this reason, it is very important to draw up a suitable plan prior to data collection. Once the objectives are clearly defined, appropriate measures and technologies for data collection can be determined.
With the help of special apps, sensors, smart lighting, cameras, door locks, and other technologies, office buildings can be intelligently equipped today.
Smart office use-cases
The first part of digital networking is usually the analysis of the use-cases. This requires knowledge from similar projects and an overview of the available platforms and sensors.
Pilot projects for data collection
These smart office use-cases are supplemented by the collection of relevant usage data. This step is often implemented in pilot projects. In defined time periods, sensors collect data that allow statements to be made about the current use of the office building.
This data is only made available to a small project team. The users do not experience any added value as a result of the data collection.
Data interpretation and KPI definition
Data interpretation is made in this step. The smart office project is not an end in itself. In addition to improving the working environment, budget-relevant goals are often realized. This includes better utilization of available space or optimized facility management processes.
The collected data must, therefore, be adapted to the respective customer environment and provided with meaningful KPIs. This enables a long-term measurement of success.
The selection of suitable technology is based not only on the desired use-cases but also on the structural conditions. Other technologies can be used in new construction rather than retro-fitted. The hardware market for smart building technologies is growing rapidly, which also makes choosing technologies even more important.
Platform ideas for an optimal user experience
In order to offer smart office users an ideal experience, companies should rely on technical platforms that combine as many use-cases as possible in a simple user interface. For this reason, the smart office platform should ideally be made available as a modern smartphone app for a holistic user experience without compromise. In this way, new possibilities can be easily integrated into the current routines of the users.
Overview of common use-cases
Finally, a short excerpt from the various use-cases of the smart office should be made. In addition to the popular intelligent booking and occupancy processes, the optimization of well-being, provision of indoor navigation with personalized welcome screen information, and the digitalization of facility management processes are just some of the things that should be mentioned. This range from individual workstations to temperature, and even smart cleaning.
The exact selection of use-cases, however, should be adapted to the objectives of the respective company. In practice, a step-by-step introduction is often suitable which also requires a modular technology platform.
Have you already gained experience in a smart office environment? You can find me on LinkedIn and share your experiences with me there. Until then, I look forward to hearing from you.
This guest contribution has been provided by Tobias Enders, Managing Director of GMS Global Media Services GmbH. Thanks for that!
Photo credits: All shown images are owned by Microsoft as well as Bosch and were made available for general media usage.