There’s a geek in all of us. And nothing excites that part of my brain more than how the Internet of Things (IoT) is already having a huge impact on the work environment and what will be possible once it really gets going. But this isn’t a fad or in-vogue technology for nerds. IoT has the potential of having a huge impact on how we work, and that is what excites me most.
I’m glad to say I’m not alone in my geekiness here at Bizstream—being good with technological stuff is kind of our thing. And it’s a really great environment in which to test out (aka play with) new fun stuff on the market.
We like things—connected things. We employ NEST to control our climate, Dropcam to monitor the office building after hours, and Amazon Echo for voice searches.
But our IoT affiliation doesn’t stop with physical automation of the office space for comfort and security, not that these things should be undervalued! We’ve invested in tools that help us work better.
We’ve always loved working with Slack for team communication and collaboration, but now we can ask its bots things like “Which Bizstreamer knows most about Project A?”, “How complete is project B?”, or “Where is Brian today?”. The Slack chat channel then reaches out across the Internet to look through our entire project management system and returns answers like “The best Bizstreamer to ask about Project A is Brian (50%), Michelle (42%), or Dave (8%).” This helps us get to the core of a client’s question much faster and enables new employees to find out who they need to speak to without them disturbing everyone else in the process. Knowing how complete a project is has been invaluable during review meetings, and knowing that your colleagues are currently visiting a particular client, or that they’re working from home (or the golf course) is equally useful, and brings the whole team into the know for when a client calls. And when a client does call, it’s also great to ask Amazon Echo to pause the music or change the song!
Not since the advent of smartphones has technology made such an impact on the work scene. And it surprises me daily that none of this technology was available for integration into our work even two years ago! IoT moves quickly and is being welcomed into every corner of the office.
A recent survey by Gartner reported that 6.4 billion devices were expected to have been connected to the Internet in 2016 and that by 2020, that number is predicted to be over 20 billion. Much of this growth is attributed to consumer devices (like tablets, appliances, wearables, coffee machines, refrigerators, vehicles… you name it), but a healthy percentage will still be attributed to business use.
And it’s no wonder.
With bots and virtual assistants capable of speeding up repetitive or time-consuming activities and getting to the core of a matter in seconds, all work processes can become more effective, teams can be more productive, and inefficiencies can be weeded out.
IoT sensor- and device-collected data can help inform strategic decision making at management levels and operational decision making at all levels.
Relationships with clients can be dramatically improved as not only will you have much more in-depth information about their project at your fingertips, but so will everyone else in the office should you not be available.
Even the work environment can be enhanced with hue light bulbs and thermostats that crowdsource the optimal office settings for those working in it, and office supplies running low, or printer repairs can be sorted before you even know they’re a problem
This deeply connected technology is not just for geeks. It’s for smart businesses on a quest to make internal processes and external relationships better.
Even if you’re not currently invested in IoT, you probably actually are… smartphones and wearables are basically your portable office on which you can check emails, review documents, and organize meetings. Various apps help you find important client information, receive notifications, and work out where your next meeting is and how to get there. IoT is not a whole new way of working; it’s a massive leap in evolution towards doing what we do now, but much, much better.
Here at Bizstream, our vision is for this technology to infiltrate all our company systems, from project management to customer support and development ops. Having connected systems in the workplace is what empowers employees, encourages team spirit, and enables great output—not to mention the morale boost a new “fun” thing can bring into the office space. I’m looking forward to the foosball table keeping score—I’m sure I win more games than the score chart lists.
As more and more devices connect with the Internet, with one another, and with us, we become much more integrated with what we are doing and become much better equipped to do it. The Bizstream team thinks it’s time to start thinking strategically about how to upgrade your office and its processes for an unparalleled step up in sophistication and intelligence.
It’s really not that far out of reach. The only thing limiting its potential (and our own) is our imaginations.
How have you integrated your office into IoT, are there any labor-saving devices that have dramatically sped up you r working processes? Maybe some of the points raised in the article have got your creative juices flowing or you see it all as a geek tragedy? Whatever your opinions of feedback, we would love you to share it with us in the comments section below.