I recently toured Bloomberg’s new London office and I have to say WOW. It’s breathtaking. Visually it’s impressive, but what struck me more was the interaction and movement of its occupants. The office was designed to make people move and interact with each other and the technology employed made the office easy for employees to move and work from anywhere. Design was the catalyst, but technology is the enabler.
Bloomberg has a lot of proprietary technology that enables the office to be intelligent and they have the cash to buy or develop whatever else is needed. But what if you wanted to create an intelligent office for your company? What are some of the ways you can create an intelligent office?
An intelligent office is an office that enables its occupants to work smarter – not harder. It removes friction from the activities its occupants do and optimizes the productivity and experience of its employees. An intelligent office concept can take many forms – floor plan, office design, color, textures, and technology. I am going to be discussing an intelligent office as it relates to technology.
Technology can enable an intelligent office to utilize physical devices that can be connected to the Internet for collecting and sharing data by using the Internet of Things (IoT).
The internet of things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes the idea of everyday physical objects being connected to the Internet and being able to identify themselves to other devices. The term is closely identified with Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)* as the method of communication, although it also may include other sensor technologies, wireless technologies or QR codes.
* Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object. A tag can be read from up to several feet away and does not need to be within the direct line-of-sight of the reader to be tracked.
Thanks to cheap processors and wireless networks, it’s possible to turn anything into part of an intelligent office.
1. Air Quality and Temperature
2. Networked Lighting
3. Occupancy Sensors
7. Window Shades
8. Conference Room Reservations
9. Building Automation System (BAS)
Digitally integrate an office’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system with sensors and software
- Quality and temperature management based on occupants needs
- Remote air quality and temperature management
- Automatic regulation and monitoring of air quality and temperature
- Air-conditioning or heating is automatically switched off to avoid unnecessary energy use
- Humidity levels automatically switch on to improve air quality
Digitally integrating lighting fixtures with sensors and software to create an environment that maximizes occupants’ comfort and save energy.
- Adjusts to occupancy levels
- Control of light given to occupants
- Up to 92% energy savings when applied with LED lighting
- Circadian lighting – lighting changes in relation to outside light and time of day.
Identifies the utilization of a workplace position through movement and/or thermal measurement. A sensor can be positioned at any location occupied by a person.
- Office utilization
- Desk utilization
- Meeting room utilization
- Heat maps to illustrate occupancy of office
- People counter – counts real-time occupancy
- Room sensor – detects if a room being used or not
Utilizing sensors, can adjust to users’ preferences on demand or automatically.
- Sit/Stand Desks
- Seat sensors
- Break out furniture integrated with technology – power and screens
Implementing wearable wellness programs to increase employee health, wellness, and productivity.
- Promote healthy habits
- Gamify wellness for employees (Making participation a fun and engaging “game”)
- Employees can receive benefits for participation
- 80% of employees with healthy wellness programs report being more engaged
Networked cameras can stream live video straight to central control, computer and mobile devices
- Monitor remote locations anywhere
- Give office access to staff remotely in real time
- Real-time occupancy data
Program window shades to move with the sun, preset or adjust manually
- Provides occupants control over their work environment
Enables occupants to simplify room reservations.
- Book a room anywhere and in real time
- Sense when a room is occupied
- Know when a room is available
- Eliminate “ghost meetings”
- Find the right room to fit the needs of every meeting
BAS is a centralized system using computer-controlled automation to manage the combined technologies mentioned above and can eliminate the need for human control.
A technology intelligent office is often called a Smart Office.
A Smart Office is an office that uses automated processes to automatically control an offices operation including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, security and other systems. A smart office uses sensors, actuators and microchips, in order to collect data and manage it according to a business’ functions and services. This infrastructure helps real estate and facility managers improve asset reliability and performance, which reduces energy use, optimizes how space is used and minimizes the environmental impact of buildings.
When building an Intelligent office, the two biggest concerns are security and data privacy. IBM estimates that the average cost of each security breach is $3.86M, an increase of 6.4 percent over prior year. Individual breaches can be more extensive. Target had to pay $18.5M for a 2013 breach when an estimated 40 million debit and credit cards were exposed.
Given the sensitive nature of information, a system accesses and the extremely poor track record of keeping employee and customer information secure always protect your network.
1. Secure devices, when possible. Keep software updated, use proper filters and firewalls, practice good internet habits, avoid phishing scams and watch out for spoof sites.
2. Use a second layer of password protection.
3. Choose reputable vendors when buying smart devices.
4. Make sure your network is configured so as to not send out data without your permission. Keep your passwords protected, and don’t give them out.
5. Always use a private or virtual private network (VPN) on your router to add a firewall to incoming traffic.
Whatever you do, you must not ignore the risk. As we move into an increasingly connected world, we must all take the responsibility to protect ourselves and our networks from attacks.
Apple Park – Cupertino
The sprawling doughnut-shaped facility is powered completely by renewable energy and was purposefully designed to resemble a green nature refuge rather than just another office structure. To realize this effect, the majority of the building’s site is made up of green space with over 7,000 trees planted around the campus area. Eco-friendly solar paneling along the roof generates enough energy to power the majority of the campus’ functions, with the rest of the energy supply coming from biofuels harnessed onsite.
Apple Park also integrates IoT sensors for energy efficient temperature control using ventilation flaps that automatically open and shut in response to the incoming direction of exterior wind-flow.
The Edge – Amsterdam
The Edge reacts to accommodate the people working inside, changing its temperature and lighting settings to match the present employees’ environmental preferences. Not to mention, employees also enjoy a fitness gym that recycles the energy produced by its used machines back into the building itself. The Edge also directs employees to the most convenient available parking spaces and assigns workspaces to them depending on their tasks of the day.
Cisco Systems HQ – Toronto
Once inside the work environment, this accommodating building not only adjusts the lighting and temperature to employee preferences but even adjusts the height of their work desk for them. Cisco Systems HQ also features rising walls that separate and connect rooms to create an even more seamless work experience.
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