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How Tech Will Make Offices 'Smarter' in 2017

Over the years, technology has continually advanced, and businesses have taken advantage of its advancements to get work done faster, cut costs, turn higher profits and make work life more enjoyable for today’s employees.

Technology hasn’t just changed how we work, but it’s changed where we work. Today, there are just as many telecommuters as everyday in-office workers so hot desking is becoming the norm for many. You can even find some companies that share office spaces, essentially having a roommate, where they share parts of an office, like the Internet and break rooms.

So what kind of office space effect can we expect to see from 2017’s technology?

Smart offices will become the norm.

Smart offices reflect the actual ways that today’s business people work.

Currently, there are numerous smart apps and gadgets to help make your office a smart office. The main holdups for making every office “smart” is just how many competing tech devices are out there and there’s not enough collaboration amongst companies making this technology. This year, though, plan to see a rise in solutions that can tie all your smart apps and gadgets together to create a more uniform experience and give companies the total smart office they want. There will be more solutions that automate things, like office lighting and temperature control, and make booking meeting rooms and controlling all your office tech more convenient since you can do it from one system via a mobile device anywhere in the office.

Beacons will help offices work more productively, efficiently and collaboratively.

Target, Macy’s, Rite Aid and other retailers started using beacon technology a couple years ago to enhance the customer shopping experience and drive higher customer engagement and retail sales. But retailers aren’t the only group who can and should use this technology.

A beacon is just a small object that uses a Bluetooth connection to transmit messages to nearby mobile devices. And while beacon technology isn’t new this year, Live Beacon hopes to simplify beacon technology in 2017 by allowing users to send location-specific information to employees and consumers the moment this battery-powered device is taken out of its box.

Retailers use beacons to supplement in-store shopping experiences, but how can offices use them? Beacons increase productivity and make gaining access easier, saving you time and money. With beacons, you can:

  • Streamline access to electronic records and physical spaces (bye bye key cards).
  • Keep track of company equipment in a better, more optimized way, like knowing where equipment is, how much you have and how each device is being used.
  • Easily locate colleagues for last-minute meetings or lunches, which can be a life-saver for bigger enterprises with hundreds of employees spread throughout multiple floors.
  • Know exactly where you are. Employees and guests can see exactly where they need to go from their smartphone by employees sending them maps or even specific directions to a room. This could especially benefit new employees, helping them spend less time wandering and more time productively working.

Beacons can also be used in combination with your current scheduling system to book or unbook a conference room as needed.

Augmented and virtual realities will be used to recruit and train employees.

AR and VR are all the hype right now, and together they’re expected to produce $150 billion in revenue by 2020. But besides consumers using it at home to immerse themselves in a virtual gaming reality, companies are able use it to recruit and train new employees.

And you should this year, as one-fourth of Millennials and Generation Zers want their workplaces to incorporate virtual reality technology. Both technologies give part of your workforce what they want, while allowing your recruiting and training processes to be more engaging, cheaper and free of outside distractions. General Electric has already used VR headsets at career fairs to better recruit and engage Millennial employees and has seen success from it. You can, too.

Intelligent apps and machine learning will give us more focused people and a better user experience.

Intelligent apps are already in use, like business people having virtual personal assistants. But this year’s tech will see a rise in even better, more intelligent apps; apps that will incorporate artificial intelligence and allow businesses to streamline processes and employees the ability to focus more attention on analytics and other responsibilities.

Machine learning also incorporates AI and is where systems can actually learn and change their own behavior to better processes and user experiences. With continual advancements in machine learning, this technology will allow for more intelligent devices and better user experiences, specifically on apps. And it’s not just for big-budgeted tech companies like Google and Microsoft. Any business can use machine-learning models to find products quicker, more easily understand customer behavior and better engage with customers.

Today's reality is you need technology that optimizes your company’s most valuable resources—your people and your office space—and the technology and office design trends of 2017 will ensure you do just that. Learn more about how Teem can help you get all you can out of your people and places.

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