Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

What if a room could define you…

August 26, 2016

Can you believe that it was more than 50 years ago that PC’s were launched? This innovation laid the foundation for the first digital revolution, followed by the Internet and, eventually, smart phones took personal computing to a whole new level.

The fourth industrial revolution is here and widespread digitisation is transforming how we work, live, play and learn.

What we are experiencing today is driven by fundamentally new technologies that are changing at a rapid pace and creating significant new opportunities not only for businesses but for all of us as consumers of IT.

So what happens when we use technology to stimulate creativity and innovation? Take the competitive game of football for example, technology now allows coaches to monitor a player’s fitness during a live game and scout new talent, all by using the data that is produced through sensors on players. This means the coach is able to substitute tired or less inactive players for a fresher pair of legs before they start to give away the ball! Other innovative developments are taking place in retailers like John Lewis who use 3D printing and creative technology to allow customers to get a digital snapshot of what different fabrics look like on sofas, allowing you to choose exactly what colours and textures you want depending on your personal taste.

At Cisco, we’ve been using technology to create working environments that allow people to be more productive, efficient and in turn happier.

Business team at the office

There is a science behind making people happier…and more creative.

Our understanding of the impact of light on human behaviour has advanced rapidly, at the same time as lighting technology has undergone a major evolution. It is now possible to use the principles of bio-adaptive lighting easily and cost-effectively in the workplace, at home and especially in sensitive environments such as schools and hospitals, meaning that lighting can help you learn and heal! It’s not just about feeling better either; the right type and level of lighting can dramatically improve our performance of tasks and increase productivity and creativity. Lighting technology like Cisco® Digital Ceiling provides the means for everyone to realise the benefits of bio-adaptive lighting. This means people will be able to tune their lights to match their mood or needs. Cisco’s solution is able to give the control back to people within buildings, whereas traditional lighting control systems usually take control away. The evidence shows that by giving people this control of their environment, you can make people happier and more productive. Imagine the impact that could have in your workplace!

What if you could subtly change the colour of a room through the day to make Stage multicolored lightingyou feel warmer, and mimic the outside light? Or what if you wanted a colour to put you in a better mood or to calm you down? And how about if this means an organisation could slash its lighting bill by 60%? There are also potential cost savings associated with reduced absenteeism from the workplace, and increased productivity. Research found that blue light strengthens and stimulates connections between areas of your brain that process emotion and language. This means that blue light may, in turn, help people to better handle emotional challenges and regulate mood over time.

Blue light is prevalent in sunlight, so your body absorbs the most during the summer and much less in the winter. Because of this, the researchers suggested that adding blue light to indoor atmospheres, as opposed to the standard yellow lights typically used, may help boost mood and productivity year-round, and especially during the UK and Ireland’s long winter months.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that we should all now have lots of different coloured lighting since blue is often in white light and having the ability to vary the colour of white light, or the colour temperature as it is known, is a critical factor in effective bio-adaptive lighting. Studies show that this will have positive effects on various physical, psychological and performance outcomes of children, such as dental health, physical growth and development, attendance, alertness and academic achievement. Changing the lighting in your office/building really could lead your organisation to a brighter future!

And this is something we’ve deployed at Cisco. By digitising our lighting systems, our employees can adjust the temperature, colour, and intensity of the light in their workspace or meeting room from their smartphones. With the ability to approximate natural light, employees feel better and are more productive (by up to 16%, according to some studies). At the same time, the digital ceiling lowers our energy consumption and power costs, and it puts high-resolution sensor data at our fingertips, so we can gain deeper insight into our environment to make better business decisions.

Where will the next major digital disruption take place? If you’re reading this indoors, look up. The next technology revolution is coming to the ceiling of your building!

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