We are familiar with scenarios where office ACs runs for uninterrupted hours even when there is no human activity in that area. Instances like this make the workspace less productive and make it expensive to manage. They force us to think about the dynamic ways to manage the ‘things’ in office. In other words, it is about transforming a regular office space into a smart office.
Smart office is about using cutting-edge technology to enhance productivity while creating a better employee experience. It will have connected nodes where one node operates as per the feedback from other similar nodes.
In a working environment, even technology can be a distraction if it is not used in right way. Hence we need the technology which creates synergies between efficiency, comfort, and security. A technology which can balance these components will sustain the smart city boom. It is no more a case of office space segmented into discrete operational blocks.
A smart office plays a greater role in increasing the security component of an office and increases its agility and spontaneity of basic operations.
It is a common notion that only big companies can bear the cost of smart office implementation. But, lowered costs of edge-based devices have made the smart office affordable even for smaller companies.
Small companies don’t need all the components of a smart office. What they actually need is few interconnected intelligent devices which can reduce or wholly eliminate the human involvement in office workspace management.
It is essential to be aware of how a smart office with its basic components will function. An ideal day in a tiny smart office mesh will have following operations:
Barring few instances, only office admins or housekeeping staff will enter the premises first. Basic facilities like electric power and water supply will turn on once the sensors recognize the first person entering the building premises. Depending upon the need, the low-intensity standby lights are lit only in certain locations.
When the first car arrives at the parking lot, the car number plate will be scanned by a high-resolution 4K camera. In case the number is unregistered in the server, it notifies the concerned officials or flags the next action item for the car driver. If the number matches the pre-stored list of numbers, the boom barrier grants entry to the car. It also determines in which floor the entrant’s office is located. The elevator arrives at the parking floor and by default will have the office floor selected as the destination.
Once the person takes the elevator, the surveillance is turned on across the whole office. The cabin’s smart lights and air conditioning turn ON to an intensity decided by external sensors when the person enters the office workspace after due authentication (may be a physical ID or a scan of a body part)
Similarly, a conference room’s lights, air conditioning, and projector turn ON while the display screen rolls down minutes before a scheduled meeting starts to ensure that the room is fully functional for the participants.
In the afternoon when the office space heats up, the blinds are activated as per the light intensity and outside heat. By evening, the air-cooling is reduced and lights in the cabin/cubicle which are unoccupied are turned off.
In the night, the whole office starts preparing for sleep mode. Once the live feed from surveillance cameras scans the office space and confirms that no human activity is observed in the premises, the air conditioning is turned off, water supply is shut, lights are dimmed or turned off, blinds get activated, cameras with night-vision sensors will be turned on. The whole building goes to standby without any human intervention.
Since office automation aims towards the elimination of human involvement in repetitive functions, it brings cost-effective and viable solutions on board. Unlike big companies, smaller ones will have fewer people in workspace management. When one of its key members goes on unplanned leave, there are possibilities that whole operations will get affected to some extent. Even if the magnitude of the impact is not significant, it affects the employee mindset to a large extent. An automated smart office augments our efforts in building the employee comfort and increasing productivity.