The new year is when offices fill with hope and passion. Teams and management brainstorm goals and how to make the most impact in the new year. Progress starts internally by upgrading offices to embrace digital transformation and smart technologies. Everyone is familiar with smart whiteboards and generative AI by now. Let’s explore a few more practical and modern inclusions for top-performing offices in 2024.
1. Smart Floor Plans
Hybrid work environments have made many offices question their real estate value. Many wonder if the space is necessary when corporations should be asking how they can mold it into the ideal flexible environment. Dynamic space utilization systems leverage AI and the IoT to understand occupancy, traffic and workspace habits to suggest floor plan improvements.
A case study explores IBM’s TRIRIGA suite in assisting workplaces during COVID-19. When returning over 350,000 workers to the office, the technology shortened space utilization analysis to 10 minutes from 10 days. It permitted a smooth, safe transition for healthy employees.
Do people frequently make a long trek from one department to another, wasting precious work time? Does the area feel claustrophobic? Space management software and smart space planning systems suggest desk alignments, furniture movement and furnishing optimizations to make the most comfortable, accessible and productive office possible.
2. Smart Mobile Access Control Systems
The age of key cards and badges that criminals can easily steal, hack or compromise is over. More secure measures for office entry are necessary, leading to the development of smart mobile access control systems. It is easy to add and revoke permissions, limit access, track time and authenticate entrance requests. Mobile entry includes other boons:
- Integrates with other workplace tech, like wearable devices or time clocks
- Reduces waste from printing physical cards
- Adheres to cybersecurity compliance frameworks
- Encourages continuous digital transformation
3. Smart Coffee Machines
A smart coffee machine feels like a gratuitous piece of equipment, but it is the gift that keeps on giving. Employees can use a digital interface to click their favorite brew and have it ready-made without wasteful trips to the drive-thru. It improves productivity and quality of life in the office. The technology promises to produce a supreme cup every time, with expertly frothed milk at the perfect temperature.
Several solutions promise increased sustainability, cloud intelligence and a near-silent brew. A case study verified each of these benefits at DFDS in Denmark. Their chosen system had a CloudCoffee functionality to monitor every machine’s performance and notify when they needed to be cleaned or refilled with fresh beans.
4. Smart Parking Solutions
Fewer catalysts cause as much frustration as parking at the start of a work day. Smart parking systems for garages and company-owned lots can inform employees of availability and offer where to park to optimize space with sensors and GPS data.
Every spot can report back to the hub to keep tabs on the length of their stay and even log photo records, which enhances security. Offices get their staff in the doors faster in the morning and improve their happiness in the evening when they leave through streamlined traffic. The industry’s popularity projects it to reach a market value of $36.63 billion by 2032.
5. Smart Energy Harvesting and Waste Management
Sustainability has been a priority among those embracing corporate social responsibility and environmental, social and governance objectives. Smart lights are an obvious choice, primarily when fixtures use 12% of the energy in commercial buildings. Smart companies are more likely to propel toward green goals by having smart office technologies deliver data-driven solutions. What are other options?
Energy harvesting is one option. Smart sensors and monitors ensure the office building doesn’t lose priceless energy and heat by automating capturing mechanisms. Consider how much radiant heat escapes from everyone’s computer towers. Smart harvesting can return that power to the business for utility savings and optimal office comfort.
Waste management is also an ideal place to incorporate smart tech. Sensors, scales and cameras verify disposal and categorize based on its composition. It can divert trash to recycling or food scraps to compost. Waste level sensors even notify employees how full the bins are to prevent hygienic concerns.
6. Smart Acoustics
One London enterprise is making offices listen to all the buzz around smart technology literally and metaphorically. The architects of dMFK’s new building enabled smart acoustics. Using smart sensors and big data, designers can craft spaces to cancel disruptive background noise and clarify sound quality for transmissions and meetings.
The space used private smart booths with screens, sound-absorbing furniture and French oak to dress its cozy rooms with top-tier acoustics. Employees feel safe having private conversations because sound doesn’t drift unnecessarily. Sound travels pleasingly in the halls without echoing or harshness.
7. Smart Wellness
Workplace wellness is one of the most sought-after benefits of younger professionals. People prioritize work-life balance more and practice mindfulness when engaging with their office. Indoor air quality monitors, standing desks and wearable health devices are some of the most ubiquitous nowadays. What else is there?
Gamification platforms will wipe the dust off of unused employee wellness benefits. Healthy competition through digitized challenges could deliver rewards to motivate workers to collaborate and team-build.
Another emerging trend is smart hydration. Overworked employees often dehydrate themselves when regular sips of water help sustain positive mood and energy levels. A few smart offices incorporated hydration stations with boosted water cocktails spiked with additional vitamins, minerals and flavors to make it more enticing.
Lastly, there are several emotion and biometric monitoring systems on the rise. Stress and emotion-sensing technology could measure everything from:
- Heart rate
- Breathing patterns
These systems provide helpful advice for employees attempting to manage stress, even if they may not recognize the physiological symptoms in real-time.
8. Smart Delivery Robots
Getting up from the desk to deliver a folder or contract repeatedly takes time away from lucrative tasks. In-house delivery robots are the next step in getting jobs completed faster without breaking focus. They have even assisted nursing homes in delivering bedding for residents.
Manual item and document delivery frequently involves distractions, detours and conversations robots wouldn’t have. Using them lets workers engage more with deep work, increasing confidence and expertise.
2024’s Most Promising Smart Office Technologies
Workplaces are about to get smarter and more attentive to their employees. It’s time to boost amenities, deepen creative flow and enhance productivity with environmental and technological implementations. Smart technologies have unlimited potential to transform offices and their teams into happier, more accomplished individuals daily.
Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized Magazine, an online publication that explores innovations in science and technology.