More and more, it feels like we’re living in some sort of science fiction novel. Not the dystopian kind. A mostly positive one.
Smart locks, smart lighting, and smart thermostats allow consumers to remotely automate and control virtually their entire home. Connected appliances provide an untold level of experience, from fridges that automatically purchase new groceries to coffee machines that run on a schedule.
Yet these advances are only the tip of the iceberg. It’s no exaggeration to claim that we are on the verge of a paradigm shift as immense as the birth of the Internet. As indicated in tech publication ZDNet, the impact of the Internet of Things is dramatic enough that it’s been referred to as “the fourth industrial revolution.”
This impact is already being keenly-felt in our professional lives. And I’m not just talking about how the Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the supply chain, nor its incredible benefits in industries such as healthcare and financial services. I’m referring to how smart employers are already leveraging connected technology to enrich their workplace.
You can do the same. Here’s how.
Fewer Manual Tasks
One of the most powerful benefits of IoT from a workplace perspective is the fact that it cuts down on manual, repetitive tasks. Rather than having to dedicate unnecessary time on redundant busywork, staff can instead put their energy toward the things they love about their job. Not only does that result in a more satisfied workforce, but it also creates a more productive one.
Data entry and data analytics are the most obvious benefactors. Rather than having to spend countless man-hours filling out forms or examining collected data for business insights, IoT and its associated software platforms can automate the entire process. This means that your employees can focus on leveraging those insights rather than wasting time acquiring them.
Analytics isn’t the only area that can be enriched, of course. In customer-facing industries, IoT-enabled customer relationship management tools can streamline non-essential tasks like appointment scheduling and reminders. This frees up your representatives to devote greater focus and attention to building relationships.
An office coffee machine is a sacred tool. The lifeblood of the modern workplace. Without caffeine, everything descends into pandemonium.
Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But it is a well-established fact that many employees simply cannot function without their daily dose of energy juice. As such, it’s not surprising that many workplace IoT developments involve the coffee machine (or at the very least, the breakroom).
Automated appliances that grind and brew bean, notifying employees when their coffee is ready. Sensors that detect when breakroom supplies are running low and automatically order more. Vending machines equipped with Google Pay functionality.
These are just a few examples. Other possibilities include connected thermostats and printers, smart TVs, and streamlined access controls. Basically, through IoT, you can make your workplace not only more efficient but significantly more comfortable for your employees.
For our last entry, I’d like you to imagine the following scenario.
A development team is seated around the table at a boardroom. As their meeting starts, remote employees from across the country — and even a few international collaborators — all dial-in. Once they do, everyone activates their smart glasses.
Suddenly, rather than a bunch of disparate employees all looking at their own computer screens, everyone in the meeting sees a product roadmap laid out in front of them. Through intelligent gesture controls, they can manipulate the display, making suggestions and adding content as-needed.
Through better human-machine interfaces and advances in consumer technology, IoT has the potential to supercharge collaboration, allowing people to connect with one another in ways we previously could only dream of. The above example is just the tip of the iceberg.
IoT can and will offer much more than that.
A Bright Future Ahead
It sounds like something out of science fiction, but it isn’t. As we move inexorably towards a connected world, there exist myriad opportunities to enrich both our personal and professional lives. Smart employers will tap into these opportunities.
Because it won’t be long before they become the standard.
Image Credit: SimpliLearn
The original version of this article was first published on Future of Work.