Office technology has advanced dramatically in the last 10 years from the decline in fax machines, to the rise in smartphones, and everything in between.
In the past 12 months in particular, we’ve seen how the ‘Internet of Things’ has taken the world by storm, with senior IT decision makers adopting smart devices to drive growth and improve working practices whilst ensuring greater operational efficiencies.
By utilising said new devices to their full extent, the workforce can benefit from a mobile, reliable and secure office environment.
Smart technology is having a huge impact on office connectivity, with BYOD and the rise of wearables now meaning employees need wider access to company data through mobile devices and remote locations.
User experience is a priority for businesses, and many vendors are taking this into consideration, ensuring everything from laptops to tablets have built-in 4G, wireless and Bluetooth.
Companies are also responding to the increasingly mobile workforce by creating apps for basic business functions such as printing on-the-go and accessing sensitive company data.
Broadband is the foundation for all businesses being totally connected and it should be high speed, providing employees with the fastest service possible.
This has even been addressed by the Government, stating that they need to update services in order to allow employees full connectivity, no matter where they are.
However, with additional connectivity comes the need for additional security.
Smart devices are increasingly exposed to potential threats and having an open connection can pave the way for hackers to enter systems and cause harm.
Within an office, everything from a smartphone to a printer needs to have a security control in place. Systems such as fingerprint authentication or the use of key cards to identify and log into printers can help to eliminate the chance of sensitive data being leaked.
Smart technology acts as an enabler of efficiency and productivity.
By providing staff with the right tools, they are able to be as efficient as possible, regardless of location. Smart technology streamlines processes to ensure they are quicker and more practical, reducing time spent on everyday tasks.
However, if a business invests in new technology, it must also invest in training employees on how use it. Almost half of workers across Europe admit that they don’t know how to properly use the technology that’s provided to them, so by enabling necessary training and guidelines, businesses can operate as efficiently as possible.
It can also be used to help the business as a whole, for example beacon technology can detect whether employees have entered the office and what rooms are in use.
This can reduce meeting rooms being unnecessarily booked out or large meeting rooms being used for only a couple of people, as well as helping monitor who is in the office and when.
Having this information available to both employer and employees can provide necessary insight into internal processes and procedures, allowing the chance to adapt if necessary.
Through new ways of working
Smart technology has paved a way for new ways of working.
Take print for example. Many people believed this year would see the paperless office come to fruition.
However, Canon’s 2016 Office Insights Report discovered that 78% of decision-makers believe that paper and printing is still essential to their organisation and 57% of office workers print more documents today than three years ago.
While a digital shift is occurring, technologies are also being updated to stay relevant.
Features such as personalised user experiences and the ability to scan and convert information to different document types are being added to multi-functional devices due to the increased need for adaptive ways of working.
These devices are also evolving to work alongside the rise of digitisation offering rapid scanning, improved usability and advanced connectivity.
Through modernising these devices to include smart, adaptive technology, the software is always up to date for a consistently optimised performance and traditional office technology can be seamlessly integrated with business applications and cloud ecosystems, to ensure instant cooperation with all workflows.
Technology’s influence on the office environment will continue to grow to keep pace with the level of digital transformation occurring in the workplace.
Gartner predicts that by 2018, 45% of the fastest-growing companies will have more smart devices than employees. Firstly, this will infiltrate into start-ups and new companies as they are more versatile but soon enough it will become more common due to the range of benefits such as cost savings and speed.
Overall it will have a huge impact on the office of the future and the way that employees work within the office space as they start to collaborate with the smart technology that is taking precedence.
Sourced by David Bromley, product business development, Canon UK