It is now well established that the rise of “smart” devices has helped employees stay in touch, even when they’re in different offices or parts of the world. Cloud-based storage services allow them to share large files across a remote enterprise, while videoconferencing tools make face-to-face communication possible. However, there are even bigger changes ahead, as the first collaboration robots are already entering the market. Using a tablet or mobile phone, users can now plug into a remote location with the robot, which features a video screen, becoming a virtual stand-in for them. Employees don’t even have to meet in a special conference room – the robot simply receives a signal from the tablet and comes to them, saving everyone time and effort
Imagine a coffee machine that constantly communicates with your smartphone. You could choose your favorite coffee and get it to start brewing without having to leave your office chair. Just think of all the time you would save not having to wait around in the office kitchen – and all those messages in your inbox that you’d be able to address instead.
Fitness tracking devices don’t just benefit you, but also your employer. Studies have shown that healthy employees are more productive, and, unsurprisingly, companies are starting to actively encourage the fitness-tracker trend. According to Tractica, more than 75 million wearable technology devices will be used in office environments by the year 2020, and many of them will be provided free of charge as part of corporate wellness programs. There are also potential cost savings associated with healthier workers: For instance, some health insurance providers offer discounts to businesses that provide wearable devices to employees, in hopes of driving down visits to doctors and subsequent insurance claims.
Another advantage is that location tracking becomes much simpler and more seamless. Devices that are connected to the Internet are geographically tagged, saving workers time when looking for things and also saving money by reducing loss rates.
Sensors enabling companies to track employee productivity have another potential benefit: safety. Wearables are basically computers that are incorporated into items of clothing and accessories which can comfortably be worn on the body. They tend to be more sophisticated than hand-held technology because they provide sensory scanning. In a working environment, for example, a wearable could indicate whether a technician working on a power line or a remote oil rig has suffered a fall. The company can then react quickly and check on the employee’s condition in real time. More advanced wearable devices can even capture biotelemetry data, such as a user’s heartbeat and respiration.
More complex device management
With the growing number of connected devices, the complexity of managing them grows as well. Workers will have an additional function on top of their usual smartphone experience: controlling IoT-enabled devices. In addition, new technologies are always followed by a struggle within the IT department. Many of the upcoming IoT-enabled devices will not have a screen, and the complexity will increase due to the variety of operating systems. Employees and IT departments will have a broader range of platforms to deal with, which may require training on how to control and manage connected, cross-platform devices.
New job roles
Cloud and big-data-related jobs are becoming more specialized than ever. Gartner reported that the number of Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) has been on the rise, predicting that by 2015, 25 percent of companies would have one CDO managing their digital goals. In the future, we’ll begin to see more chief data scientists, analysts, and even chief customer satisfaction officers – and probably other titles that we can’t even conceive of yet. Companies face the challenge of finding trained staff and experts who can take on the fast-evolving IoT landscape and turn it to their advantage.
If you have the right partners at your side when it comes to digitalization, you will be supported every step of the way. Even small companies with little IT know-how can benefit from the experience of skilled partners.