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4 Ways IoT is Transforming Workplace Collaboration

photo of Emily Maxie, Very CMO

Emily Maxie

June 25, 2019
4 min read

IoT is growing rapidly. As far back as 2008, there were more connected devices than human beings. By 2022, the number of devices could reach 50 billion.

These days, fridges, cars, and even fish tanks are becoming connected. What about the workplace? There is one area in particular where it is already having an impact – workplace collaboration.

Indeed, a Harvard Business Review found that 58% of IoT adopters said that IoT promoted greater collaboration in the workplace.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the impact IoT is having on collaboration, along with ways that emerging technologies might enhance workplace collaboration in the future.

1. More Remote Work Opportunities

Remote work is becoming increasingly popular due to the many benefits it brings. Improving the remote work experience is essential when it comes to ensuring better collaboration between employees, whether they are located in different cities or countries.

The use of connected devices has already created a huge impact on how and where we work. Employees no longer have to share a physical space as long as they have access to the right equipment.

When you combine software hosted in the cloud, enhanced video conferencing via the latest generation of interactive displays, and the proliferation of smart devices from smartphones to smartwatches, the opportunities for remote collaboration will increase dramatically.

For instance, The Meeting Owl by Owl Labs provides a fascinating solution to help remote workers feel more included during in-person meetings. This owl shaped device sits in the middle of a conference room table and gives remote workers dialing in a 360-degree view of the conference room.

Things are getting even more exciting with developments that are being made in a technology that is still in its infancy: robotics. Ava Robotics is a company that manufacturers telepresence robots that are designed to provide a remote mobile presence in the workspace. The mobile robots can move around remote locations, enabling a manager to sit in an office on the other side of the world while interacting with staff in a different location. The ability to make screens mobile is taking video conferencing to the next level, and it could also have a huge impact on how teams communicate with each other in remote locations.

2. Improved Meeting Environments

One area where IoT is already having a significant impact is in meetings. Collaboration is essential to the success of any meeting, and IoT is improving meeting spaces to provide greater opportunities for collaboration.

For example, the latest generation of interactive displays is simplifying the meeting space by providing an all-in-one solution. These often come with high-performance cameras and far-field microphone arrays to improve video conferences.

But they go beyond this.

IoT sensors included in the displays provide management with new opportunities to gather feedback on meeting spaces. These sensors can be used to gather environmental data like room temperature and provide that data directly back to managers.

They can then use this data to make real-time improvements to ensure the meeting room environment is as comfortable as possible.

The increased number of smartphones and other smart wearable devices are also having an impact on meetings. Now, attendees can collaborate more efficiently by sharing information from their devices directly with a central display.

Smartphones and tablets can link up with the displays, providing a seamless way to share feedback and ideas to enhance collaboration.

3. Smarter Workplaces

One of the most noticeable benefits that IoT will introduce is the improvements that will be made to the physical workplace. The smart office is well on its way to becoming a reality. As such, the way that we interact with the office environment will change.

From air conditioning units that know the perfect temperature based on the personal preferences of workers, to printers that automatically order new ink cartridges, IoT is going to have a huge impact.

But how will this improve collaboration in the workplace?

IoT sensors will be able to gather large amounts of data on every aspect of the office environment. This data gathered from day-to-day operations can be used to make numerous improvements.

For example, smart sensors can be used to provide data on when particular rooms are occupied the most and where employees spend most of their time at work. This information could be used in multiple ways, such as improving the scheduling of meetings.

Using such data, when a manager has to schedule a meeting quickly, they could receive an instant notification for which meeting room is the most convenient based on the attendees’ locations and preferences.

It may still sound futuristic, but the reality is not far off.

4. Increased Automation

Another area where IoT is having a big impact is automation. As more devices start to talk to each other, this will inevitably remove the need for workers to exert energy on repetitive and time-consuming tasks, therefore reducing their workload.

This will lead to greater efficiency in the workplace by freeing up employees to focus on more complex tasks. With more time to talk, discuss, and share ideas, this will inevitably lead to more opportunities for collaboration.

IoT Is Changing Collaboration at Work

IoT is already here, but it is still in its infancy. The improvements that it is already having on workplace collaboration are apparent, and they will only improve in the coming years.

Who knows where the combination of enhanced virtual reality, technological innovations, and 5G internet will lead us in the next few years?

It’s easy to assume that as IoT becomes more prevalent, it will lead to improvements in every area of the workplace, improving collaboration even further.