Why You Should Start Investing in IoT Solutions Now

10 November 2020

Many businesses are planning to get back to normal by August 2021. Many are hoping to be back in the office even before that, with convenient, easy-to-use solutions already in place. Before you make the transition, however, you want your office to be ready to go, with all the right tools in place.

One critical addition? An IoT solution that will allow for a variety of tracing, navigation, and more. 

It can take as much as six months to manage an effective rollout. With many employees out of the business, working from home, it could take longer to effectively test your solution and make sure that it works according to plan. By investing in an IoT solution now, you can ensure that your business is ready to go when the day arrives. Forethought and planning will help set your business apart from the competition and ensure that you're ready for whatever comes your way. 

Occupancy Tracking: Benefits Now and in the Future

Many businesses are currently operating under strict limits concerning the number of people who can be in the facility at once. You need to maintain business operations as normally as possible while still maintaining appropriate social distancing measures and decreasing the number of people who may face exposure to one another at any given time. In addition, occupancy tracking can offer a number of long-term benefits for your business that you may want to have in place by the time you return to normal operations. 

Things to consider include:

Occupancy tracking allows you to reduce energy costs

When you can easily track occupancy throughout the building, you know which areas get used on a regular basis and what times they see the highest levels of activity. As a result, you can reduce your heating and cooling in areas of the building that aren't currently in use or turn down lighting in areas that don't have anyone in them. IoT solutions can also allow you to selectively turn on those areas if someone needs to enter them during an odd time. 

Improve security throughout the building

In addition to allowing you to reduce your overall energy costs, occupancy tracking can make it easier to keep track of where people travel throughout the building. What areas do people access on a regular basis? Do you have restricted areas properly secured, or can people access them more easily than you think? Through your IoT solutions, you can more easily track the movements of people throughout the building and even see what people have accessed specific areas, which could prove vital if you have an unexpected security threat. 

Enhance the safety of employees and visitors

A fire breaks out in your building. Where are your employees? What about visitors to the property? If you do experience a security threat, can you tell where people are and where you need to respond? If there's a medical emergency, can you quickly get people where they need to be? Occupancy tracking can improve your ability to track those movements and see where your employees are. 

Improve your understanding of the areas you're really using 

How much of your building do you actually use on a regular basis? Are you outgrowing your current space, or do you just need to make some adjustments to meeting rooms and common areas? Occupancy tracking can give you a better idea of how much of your existing space you're really using, which can allow you to repurpose it as needed. 

Hot Desking

Instead of having a single desk or workspace for each employee, hot desking allows employees to take advantage of whatever space is currently available. In the transition back to the office after COVID-19, this trend could increase in popularity. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, around 80% of workers indicated that they wanted to be able to work from home at least part-time. An estimated 60% noted in June that they would like to continue working from home when the crisis comes to an end. 

An increased number of businesses are transitioning their employees to at least part-time remote work. Across industries, many management teams have learned that remote work is more feasible than before. Everyone from corporate real estate offices to healthcare has discovered that more of their employees can complete their duties from home than they initially thought. While not every job is compatible with a work-from-home option, an increased number of businesses are interested in allowing their employees to work from home at least part of the time.

These work-from-home options mean that many employees will only be in the office a couple of days a week, if that. They don't need a dedicated office or desk space, since they won't be in often. What they do need is the ability to connect to their virtual workspace from any station in the office: to quickly and effectively transition their materials. 

Detect employees as they approach

Sensors installed under each desk can detect the presence of a particular individual based on their devices. While employees may still have to log in, you can more easily track the presence of each employee and ensure that they have the right settings in place. 

Track utilization

When you're using the hot desking method in your office, you may find it more difficult to track utilization. Are your desks seeing reasonable utilization over the course of the week, or could you downsize and still see the same overall level of productivity? By tracking utilization, you can also get a better idea of when you need to expand your available desks and other options within the office, since you'll be able to see how many of them are really getting used over the course of the day. 

As you track utilization, you may also note that some desks see considerably more use than others. They may have additional features and technology, more privacy, or simply a more desirable location. Tracking these metrics can give you a better idea of what your employees are really looking for in their workstations, which can allow you to better customize what you can offer across the office. 

Keep track of who is using those desks

Are there employees who need to be in the office more than others? Employees who are simply more productive in an office environment? Through your IoT solutions, you can better track the employees who actually use those desks on a regular basis. This can make it easier to make critical decisions about, for example, who might actually need more office space versus who simply wants the benefits of their own office. 

Indoor Navigation and Wayfinding

Many office buildings and warehouses can prove incredibly difficult to navigate if you don't know your way. Where is that specific closet, filled with important items, really located? Where is that particular set of inventory actually stored? 

Visitors and employees alike can benefit strongly from indoor navigation and wayfinding abilities. Whether they're making their way quietly through a carpeted office, trying to avoid distracting other workers, or working their way through a crowded warehouse, IoT solutions can make navigation tasks much easier. 

Download the Indoor Navigation with Bluetooth LE Beacons white paper now>

Easily locate important inventory

Make it easy for employees to find exactly what they're looking for. You can utilize an online catalog or tag specific items, including large equipment, to make them easier to locate. Being able to easily track your inventory can make it much easier to keep up with daily business tasks and help streamline employee productivity. 

Provide a virtual map for employees and visitors

In a large facility, visitors may struggle to navigate effectively, especially the first time they visit. Navigation and wayfinding solutions, on the other hand, can help them take the easiest path to their destination. It doesn't matter if they're looking for a specific office among many or trying to navigate through a maze of hallways. IoT solutions will allow each individual to see exactly where they are, where they need to go, and how to get there. It can also make it easier for visitors to navigate security checkpoints. 

Contact Tracing

In a post-COVID-19 society, contact tracing has become increasingly important. You need to know where people have been when they are in the office. Who did they talk to? Which part of the office they occupied?

Through IoT solutions, you can easily track who was in the office, how long they were in the office, and who they were in contact with--and for how long. This can allow you to warn other employees about potential disease exposure and even provide them with an assessment of how much risk they might face: for example, an employee who spoke to an infected individual for only a few seconds while passing in the hallway might have a much lower exposure risk than one who sat down across the break room table from him for thirty minutes over lunch. 

Contact tracing solutions can also help you see where an employee has been. COVID-19 might be the big worry right now, but other viruses and germs can also cause outbreaks within the office. Through your IoT contact tracing solutions, you can quickly see what areas of the building an employee has been in and track his movements so that you can focus cleaning solutions on those areas. 

Are You Ready?

Your business has had to make changes and respond quickly to challenges over the course of the past year. As you gear up for your return to more normal operations, is your IoT solution ready? Contact us today to learn more about our IoT solutions and how they can help take your business to the next level in 2021 and beyond.

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Anna Piasna

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    [Updated for 2020]
    [Updated for 2020]