workplace technology trends

Workplace Technology – Driving Forces

Steve Jarvis, Cordless Commercial Director takes a look at tackling the latest tech trends for 2022 and beyond…

Our priorities undoubtedly changed during the pandemic. As Covid grumbles on, the roots of hybrid working are now bedding more firmly into the working world. When we need to be in the workplace, we expect nothing less than great amenities and on-demand services that are customised, automated and easy to book and use.

We also expect to be able to bring our whole selves to work; to be able to collaborate with whom we need; in the way we want within comfortable and innovative surroundings.

Organisations now have a duty of care to strike a balance between work, home and wellbeing and technology is an important backdrop to facilitate this. But in an era of stop-start-projects, travel restrictions and supply chain shortages, what are organisations focusing on first?

From the IT, AV and Smart Building technology that we can see and feel, through to the physical connectivity and security behind the scenes, let’s take a quick look at the key trends that are playing out as we move into 2022 and beyond; and what a Grade A space will need to deliver.

The pre-arrival experience goes digital, staff and visitors can now make real-time, information rich bookings to set schedules, arrange meetings, reserve resources, plan travel and get notifications on events. Reception staff, with photo ID of arriving visitors and forward schedules can focus on greeting services and hosts can be informed of arrival status. Delayed visitors can now update arrival times, which will update resource bookings.

Reception areas will increasingly use AV technology to welcome and direct visitors into the building, enable wayfinding and showcasing brand identity. Users will be able to interact with floorplans of the building, with live feedback about environmental elements such as air quality and temperature.

The choice of Meeting and Collaborative Spaces will be very flexible, with the latest technology seamlessly integrated with the building architecture for a creative atmosphere where technology supports rather than intrudes on the user experience. Ease of use is key, from simple presentations through to full multimedia production amenities.

A key focus will be on creating an equitable experience for in-room and remote participants via a combination of microphones to capture pristine audio and advanced camera technology with people tracking and participant framing functionality. A choice of VC and UC platforms will be supported to provide a barrierless and consistent user experience, with a whole host of new collaboration tools such as Microsoft Loop and Laduma emerging soon.

The end-to-end meeting room experience will support personalised welcome displays, room booking and app or voice-based meeting room control. All systems will be connected to remote monitoring and management to ensure system downtime is minimised and faults are automatically reported.

Users will have choice within the workplace with the means to book resources (desks, rooms, lockers, bike racks, etc), access amenities and be informed with data about their working environment (heat, light, temperature).

There will be a range of interface options including a workplace app and voice recognition systems for hands free control. The building’s operations will be virtually modelled in a digital twin that captures all elements of the buildings assets, systems and services. AI will learn the building behaviour and performance and identify inefficiencies which it can autocorrect.

Occupancy sensors and other data sources will model real time location utilisation to inform demand driven services and optimise occupancy planning. Dynamic workplace modelling tools will ingest various occupancy data streams to form highly flexible working environments.

Ambient technologies will determine the mood of its occupants and adjust light, temperature, noise, air quality, etc to suit. Occupants will use wayfinding tools to locate colleagues and the building will suggest meet ups when co-worker adjacencies are formed.

The building will also be a healthy and safe place to work for physical and mental wellbeing. The gym will be Wi-Fi-enabled and can be booked from the workplace app with the means to record activity. The app will offer healthy menu choices and be used to capture, present and encourage good nutritional food and beverage behaviours. Location-based services combined with gamification could reward staff achieving health goals.

The building technology will form a sense of community within the building and the neighbourhood. Data from local associations and community events will feed into scheduling tools to support and encourage activity beyond the building.

AI enabled video analytics and facial recognition will be deployed in front of house areas so that people can enter freely, while being personally greeted by reception staff and their host. Behavioural analysis via AI video surveillance will allow reception and security staff to monitor people numbers and direction of travel and intervene if someone is in need of assistance.

Data from video analytics tools will support business and building operations. The system will anonymously report information such as dwell time in front of displays or demographics of event attendees. Supporting the range of building wide systems, sensors and services will be a converged network, high bandwidth, resilient LAN and WAN provision over a single physical cabling infrastructure.

A Wi-Fi first approach will offer resilient network access throughout the building with a flexible physical cabling infrastructure where required. The design will be future proofed with infrastructure designed to WiredScore and SmartScore standards to accommodate both landlord and tenant services.

Security will be at the heart of the design to ensure data is protected and users form a sense of trust in the technology deployed. The network will be designed to ensure all connected devices withstand regular penetration tests and cybersecurity reviews.

What Next…?

As an IT and AV and Smart Buildings Consultancy, we know there’s lots to think about. We understand first-hand the challenges of planning for tech early in the design process and how to go about making timely decisions to deploy the right amount of digital in workplace projects. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say.

And so, we leave you with two thoughts…
One: don’t leave things to fate. Two: don’t leave things too late!

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