Smart Office builds momentum with Bluetooth

The Smart Office represents a unique intersection of enterprise and consumer IoT technologies. Demonstrating a clear ROI early on can be essential to building a compelling business case–made easy with Bluetooth.

While not the most talked about application of the Internet of Things (IoT), the “Smart Office” represents a unique intersection of enterprise and consumer technologies. On one hand, the optimization of the building systems (like energy usage, security, space management) on the other, the optimization of the people within them (connected printers, coffee machines, room booking, etc.).

Naturally, some expectations for smart technologies have not been met, leading to a fair bit of skepticism for the phrase “smart office” or “smart” anything.
The fact is that some IoT use cases demonstrate a clearer ROI than others (like intelligent lighting vs. a smart coffee machine). Choosing the right use case and showing value early on will help build a better business case for your organization and push your digital frontiers.

Table of contents:

The first step to Smart Office – BLE

This article will highlight some of the most value-adding smart office applications that use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), namely energy management and security.
BLE is the go-to technology for many IoT solutions today because of it’s open architecture, low-cost and ease of use.
As a leading provider of BLE-based location solutions, we work with the full range of IoT solution providers and industry incumbents–observing firsthand the successes BLE brings.

Energy Management

Improvements in the way energy and space are used can offer the largest demonstrable ROI of any IoT application in Smart Office today.
There are two areas of improvement we can zero in on: energy usage and space usage.

Condition Monitoring

A stat we have previously mentioned on this blog is the fact that, “commercial buildings in the United States waste 30% of the energy they use every year.” Lighting and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air condition) are the two heaviest users.
Curbing such wastage can be addressed through the use of BLE beacons. By monitoring temperature, humidity and light, a real-time picture of energy consumption can be created.
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Measuring behavior patterns over time allows us to adjust our consumption based on our needs. If no one is in the room, keep the lights off.

Intelligent Lighting

Intelligent lighting solutions bring the IoT that future-esque allure that many geeks dream about. According to Gartner analysts, intelligent lighting “has the potential to reduce energy costs by 90 percent” in the future. This won’t be achieved through hardware (smart bulbs) alone though.
Just as other IoT solutions, a reliable learning loop is required to gather, communicate, analyze and improve upon that data.
BLE can be that means of communication for intelligent lighting solutions. Lightbulbs can be used as beacons to not only communicate between intelligent lighting and the cloud, but can simultaneously enable other use cases that stationary beacons are used for.
In an office space, an example of this could be presence detection. If a space is only occupied a few times a week around the same time, then the rest of the time the room is empty. I bet someone would be willing to pay for that space, giving rise to new business models…
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Optimizing Smart Office Space

Aside from the clear benefits of using energy where and when it is needed (not in an empty room, for example), new business models begin to emerge when an empty space can be filled. Imagine the amount of money spent on rent and utilities for spaces that are rarely used. The new buildings erected due to a lack of office space in a crowded city.
By analyzing usage behavior of a building, companies can improve the way they allocate space. In turn, future buildings can be designed more efficiently. The iterative process goes on.


Visitor Management

Over the last few years, I have found myself visiting companies and facilities large and small wondering: if I were a spy, how would I go about gathering intel from these guys? The thought doesn’t last long and I go on my way.
But really, how many people do you think walk through your door every month with the intent to steal information or sabotage your business?
Many businesses struggle with taking accurate attendance and knowing who is in fact on site and who isn’t at a given time. Visitor Management with BLE allows companies to monitor visitors while they are onsite through a cloud-based timesheet. A useful tool for visitors and employees alike.
Having trouble with the new contractor? An easy overview of everyday they skipped over the last two weeks can be printed to promote transparency.
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Access Control

Access Control solutions offer an effective way of controlling entry and exit to any location within a building. An easy fix to the “last employee to leave locks up” rule (which is extremely common in SMEs) and for ensuring visitors don’t get overly curious.
BLE keyless entry systems are a great solution for access control. Using a beacon and a special reader, users can be assigned and granted access as seen fit. Alerts can be sent if a user enters a restricted zone or overstays their welcome.

Reduce operating costs and increase efficiency

What we’ve learned is that at present, BLE in the context of “Smart Officeperforms two main jobs very well:
1) optimizing the use of resources to reduce operating costs;
2) optimizing the usability of the space to improve security and efficiency in work.
This is being accomplished through BLE applications in intelligent lighting solutions, condition monitoring and various forms of security. is leading the world of BLE end-to-end solutions. We are simplifying IoT with a tremendous ecosystem of partners and customers. Get in touch to discuss your next project.