Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Heading towards the nirvana of the ‘connected workplace’

January 12, 2016

Picture this. It’s Monday morning and you’ve got an important meeting with a customer. Unfortunately, your train into work is delayed and as you run sweating into your office you realise that you’ve forgotten to book a meeting room, don’t know if any rooms are free and can’t remember the new pin code required for the conferencing system. This is not the way you want to arrive at the office, let alone start a meeting with such important stakeholders.

Just think how much easier things would be if you had access to an app that lets you book a meeting room whilst mobile. If your company’s building sensed when you’d arrived and alerted you to available meeting rooms. If you were able to book the rooms using your smartphone and it even guided you there (this can be incredibly handy in a big building or campus). And when you get to the room it has been personalised to your preferences – for example lighting, temperature, video and phone settings, even the lighting colour of the room. So this “connected workplace” nirvana is already here and is being experienced across many Cisco buildings.

In just five years, the connected workplace will be much more widespread. It will progress to be an intelligent workplace. So much so, that it will be able to adapt to the environment and people working in that environment over time. We’re set to enjoy buildings that operate services based on demand. Face recognition as a method of entry, adjusting temperature of buildings based on workers’ needs and smart lighting based on external factors.

The connected workplace will be much more collaborative as it embraces both physical and virtual attendance. It will remove geographical boundaries and enable collaboration on international levels using video technology in every meeting space.

So how will this specifically benefit businesses?

  • Encouraging collaborative working environment – we need to move away from office spaces where people are trapped in their own cubicles, because it really doesn’t foster collaborative working practice. People are most innovative and productive when they’re able to collaborate. Also, as we’re seeing a shift to ‘knowledge’ workers, collaboration becomes even more vital.
  • Optimising costs – corporate real estate is generally the second most expensive cost for any company, that’s second after human capital (people). An average office building is occupied between just 25 and 45 per cent, which means there’s a tremendous amount of waste. Utilising a connected workplace enables companies to save money and be more efficient through increased occupancy and higher utilisation.
  • The workplace becomes a brand – in order to attract the best talent. The workplace environment needs to work for ALL generations (no just millennials) so they can become as productive and collaborative as possible whilst utilising a workplace that addresses their own specific requirements.
  • Creating engaged employees – If organisations have disengaged employees it will have dramatic effect on the quality of the work they produce, productivity and amount of innovation they bring in and can even lead to poor customer experience. A smart connected working environment enables people to feel truly connected and engaged with the organisation and their co-workers via video and a variety of media channels regardless of their physical location.

Trends in technology and work are converging: employee engagement, under-utilising business assets, working round the clock across continents etc.

So. Is your workplace smart enough?

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