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How IoT is Transforming the Digital Workplace

Driving greater mobility and efficiency with the Internet of Things

The modern digital workplace is all about enabling you to work wherever you want. Work becomes a thing you do, rather than a place you go. We need flexible, connected systems in place to foster collaboration and innovation. It’s important to facilitate the individual choices workers make about the apps, tools, and hardware they need to perform optimally. The Internet of Things presents many opportunities to seamlessly deliver on the promise of the digital workplace.

There will be nearly 21 billion connected things in use worldwide by 2020, up from 6.4 billion this year, according to Gartner. We’re all used to hearing these tremendous predictions about IoT growth, but the tangible benefits for businesses are not discussed enough. The IoT is already having a major impact on mobility and efficiency. It’s helping to transform the traditional corporate world and realize our vision for a truly digital workplace.

Driving change

Let’s dig into a practical example of how IoT is driving change. The vast majority of driving accidents are caused by human error, with tiredness and distraction playing a principal role. An estimated 21% of fatal crashes involve drowsy drivers, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Tracking devices in vehicles can flag driver safety issues, picking up on things like erratic lane changes. Wearables can monitor drivers, tracking breathing and heart rates to alert them when they need to take a break, or wake them up if they fall asleep at the wheel.

Beyond safety, there’s also potential here to totally change the way field service personnel, such as engineers, can interact with their clients and customers. With an estimated 3.2 million vans on the road in the UK alone, many workers are disconnected from digital services. A connected van, offering workers in the field with Wi-Fi, secure unified communications and access to business applications could be a game changer.

Link that van to specific tools and parts, tracked by affordable RFID tags, and supported by back-end inventory and logistics systems, and you can significantly boost operational efficiency. Consider that around 30% of engineers currently arrive to jobs and find that they don’t have the parts or tools required to complete them. Connected vans with automatic real-time inventory can resupply each other, negating the costly prospect of having to return to a central depot.

This combination of IoT and digital workplace enables businesses to ensure that the right person, with the right tools, is in the right place at the right time, every time.

Working behind the scenes and screens

The IoT is facilitating workers unobtrusively, even in a typical office environment. Biometrics can be used to maintain security and limit access, but they can also enable smart offices. Smart systems can link the arrival of an individual at the office with a free desk as well as setting up their personalized desktop so that it is waiting for them. The same system can provide wireless access to printers and projectors in meeting rooms automatically.

This kind of seamless access across devices and locations can work equally well in a warehouse, on a store floor, or even in a ballpark. The Miami Marlins baseball team for example used Citrix Workspace Suite to ensure that information and tools their people needed were accessible, even during a major move to their new ballpark. Everything in the ballpark, from the speaker system, to HVAC maintenance, to security and surveillance, is connected. Different vendors can access individualized portals offering access to systems that relate only to their business.

Instant access to expertise

Fold augmented reality into the mix and you can reduce the need for expertise. Overlays on tablet screens can enable workers to identify the exact parts or tools they’re looking for. It’s even possible to display the optimum operating state, so any issues with errors or maintenance can be logged automatically and instantly. A combination of instant messaging and camera feeds can allow experts to weigh in remotely when required.

There’s a real opportunity to drastically cut down on wasted time and resources across countless industries and gain more real-time insight into business workflows. Establishing a flexible and responsive digital workplace, supported by IoT, boosts overall efficiency, maximizes the value of expertise, and allows workers to scale new collaborative heights. 



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