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A Comprehensive Glossary of Office Automation Terms

Automated office systems are drastically changing the way we work in today’s business world. While automation does have its perks, it creates a different set of IT management pain points to address. More importantly, though, end-users have to understand automation so they can fully utilize the technology at their disposal to the best of its abilities. 

This glossary of office automation terms is designed to give everyone a solid grasp of automated processes, which will increase productivity and creativity as understanding of automation grows.

  1. Machine Learning: This refers to our computers being able to “learn” without being explicitly programmed for certain tasks. Computers do this by using artificial intelligence to mine through data, identify patterns, and then present information based on those patterns. Over time, the information becomes more useful as the computer has that much more data and many more patterns to analyze.
  2. Task Automation: In its simplest definition, task automation is what happens when various software, hardware, and other technologies are used to minimize or reduce the amount of time a human spends doing a given task.
  3. Integrated Office Space: An integrated office space is one that’s fully connected to all business building’s systems, software, and management solutions. Integrated office spaces provide connectivity to all company assets, simple scheduling, and include task automation and machine learning capabilities.
  4. Augmented Reality: Augmented reality is different from virtual reality in that it superimposes different images, displays, and information on to a user’s view of the real world, thereby  providing an augmented and composite view of the world. This is useful in business to provide real-time statistics of operations, as well as workflows.
  5. Remote Office VPNs: A remote office VPN combines two concepts to create an effective, secure solution for connecting remote offices to your main office. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) takes a normal connection - like your internet connection - and encrypts that connection to ensure the highest in security features. By allowing remote workers to connect to your company’s VPN, you can create multiple Remote Office VPNs to ensure secure transfer of company information.
  6. Beacon Technology: Beacon technology shouldn’t be confused with NFC, because the two are starkly different. A Beacon is a low-cost piece of hardware that transmits a low-strength Bluetooth signal to nearby devices, such as a phone or tablet. Beacon technology is used in the business world to monitor room activity and occupancy, in addition to building efficiency. 
  7. Conference Room Scheduling Software: This is software that centralizes your conference room scheduling to one dashboard, accessible (within reason) to all inside your company. Conference room scheduling software completely automates the scheduling process, eliminating double booking and room disuse.
  8. Conference Room Acoustics: Conference Room Acoustics refers to how well a conference room has been built to conduct sound. If your conference room is used for a high volume of conference calls or video calls with clients, good acoustics increase speech intelligibility and overall conference room sound.
  9. Managing Remote Employees: This refers to methods used by companies to manage remote employees who may work across the world from a company’s headquarters. Due to the decentralization of the modern workforce, many employees work remotely, making remote employee management that much more important.
  10. Facial Recognition Tech: This is the method of taking a biometric scan of someone’s face and comparing that scan to a live capture or digital image to see if the two match. Facial recognition technology is being used widely for security reasons, but is also effective in other business applications. 
  11. Webhooks: A Webhook allows you to export real-time data to any URL you want - including internal reporting systems. Webhooks work with APIs to give you the flexibility to build your own integrations. Webhooks will work with any platform designed to process them.
  12. Voice Recognition Software in the Office: Voice recognition software in the office is used to aid in modern workplace automation. By asking voice activated hardware - like Amazon’s Alexa - with simple commands, you can schedule meeting times, pull up reports, and report equipment failures in real time.
  13. Smart Desks: Smart desks are pieces of office furniture connected to both a company’s LAN and the internet. Smart desks allow for a fluid workplace where employees can work in any area in the office thanks to the same connectivity throughout the space. Smart desks can also monitor health and other information on employees.
  14. Visitor Management Systems: This is how you track the usage of facilities by visitors who don’t work for your company. In addition to tracking, visitor management systems allow for simple scheduling when visitors are meeting with multiple groups inside your company.
  15. Facilities Management Software: This is software that allows you to better manage all of your facilities where business operations take place. From managing entry to buildings to monitoring energy usage, facilities management software has wide-ranging effects.
  16. Collaborative Workspace Design: Collaborative Workspace Design incorporates new ideas and theory on the most effective way to design a workplace. Collaborative Workspace Design places a heavy emphasis on creating an open floor plan with differing areas to facilitate the generation of new ideas.  
  17. Wayfinding: The process of discovering where workers are at in any given area of your building, and doing so in real-time.
  18. Automated Notifications: The ability of all automated processes within your office to notify you via various channels such as group messaging services or text messages. This process is set to your specifications so you’re only notified for what’s pertinent to your position within a company. 

Automation isn’t just a fad. It’s here to stay. It’s cost-effective, frees up IT managers to handle more pressing matters, and best of all, makes the jobs of everyone in the organization that much easier. If you want to stay ahead in today’s business world you need to understand office automation and how it can improve your job.

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