Guest Post by John Doyle, CTS-D, Senior Audio Visual Consultant, ESD

Corporate America is preparing for what’s been dubbed The Great Resignation.[1] Four million Americans quit their job in April alone, and some estimate as many as 95% of workers are considering changing, or leaving, their current job before the end of the year.[2]

At the same time, droves of workers are returning to the office — some for the first time in 18 months due to the pandemic, which has increased sanitation efforts and led to unique office retrofits.

Smart technology is arguably the element that’s bringing these two together. In fact, in a Proxyclick survey, 85% of respondents said they believe technology will play a vital role in return-to-work planning.[3]

With the right technology, employees don’t have to press elevator buttons, wait in crowded coffee shops or worry about over-booked conference rooms. They can find a way to effectively interact with groups mixed with both in-person and remote co-workers — easily.

What does smart building technology look like in action? Let’s follow Joe as he returns to the office and rediscovers how seamless and stress-free the office can be — with the right technology, of course.

7:30 am: Joe Arrives at Work. As he pulls into the office parking lot, Joe’s phone automatically becomes his digital credential as he seamlessly passes through security checkpoints, starting with the parking lot gate.

7:40 am: Joe Enters the Office. On his way through the building lobby, Joe is greeted by his company’s signage on the video wall. In his short trip across the lobby, he’s reminded of some of the cool projects he’s worked on this year and sees familiar faces spotlighted on the screen.

Since waiting in crowded storefronts or long lines for a cup of coffee is no longer acceptable for Joe, the QR code in the lobby allows him to place an order and virtually jump in line. When his drink is ready, he receives a notification on his mobile phone. It’s the best of both worlds coffee on demand without having to make it himself!

7:50 am: Joe’s credentials proceed him. Coffee in-hand, Joe makes his way to the elevator, which recognizes the presence of his mobile phone and automatically registers his desired floor. While he rides, Joe catches the morning headlines and weather on the elevator’s digital display. Joe’s first stop on his floor is the health and safety kiosk which screens his temperature to ensure the continued well-being of the team.

8:00 am: Joe Settles In. Joe customizes the setting of his workspace by presetting preferences on lighting and temperature, which were triggered when Joe entered the building. By the time he reaches his desk, everything feels just right.

Joe also customizes the notifications within his work system. His client meeting yesterday triggers a reminder this morning to follow up. Mary from Accounting has already stopped by his desk, but she never leaves a note. Not to worrythe system registered her presence and sent Joe an email about her visit. He’ll make sure to connect with her later in the day. He pulls up his company’s space booking app on his mobile device to find an empty room for his 9 a.m. meeting. With an easy click, the space is reserved and marked as “occupied.”

9:00 am: Joe Has a Meeting. When Joe enters the conference room, AI cameras recognize his face and verify he’s the meeting host. Based on the number of people invited to the meeting and the space density of the room, the system notifies other registered participants if they should join in person or remotely based on social distancing guidelines already imputed. The conference room is now equipped with multiple displays to create a “digital canvas” enabling the easy exchange of ideas between remote and local participants. Joe’s mobile device syncs with the display and allows him to share content with ease as other participants collaborate using touchless hand gestures.

10:00 am: Joe Takes on the Day. Joe is back at his desk, feeling invigorated by the office energy. His docking system registers his arrival and sends an email notification to Mary to let her know that Joe is back at his desk. The team is synergized, and collaboration feels intuitive. The band is back together. Thanks to an immersive technology-driven workplace, Joe is ready to take on the world!

Are you looking to create a more symbiotic environment for employees in an office that intuitively “knows” their next steps? Going “smart” may be the answer.

John Doyle, CTS-D, is Senior Audio Visual Consultant at ESD