Smart Office Technology Guide: Solutions for the Modern Workplace

What is a Smart Office?

Smart offices use technology to increase productivity and collaboration. Smart office automation and technology also improves the working environment through energy efficiency, enhanced security, and streamlining processes. By utilizing connected technology and data analytics to ensure the workplace is equipped for the specific needs of each unique workforce, smart offices are able to quickly adapt and evolve with their organizations.

1. How to Choose The Right Smart Office Technology

Motion-activated front door cameras. Refrigerators that know you’re out of eggs. Voice assistants that can answer just about any question—and order those eggs for you. Smart technology is everywhere in our homes, but when was the last time your office got an upgrade? As the expectation for better, more modern technology makes its way into the workplace, there are practical solutions, tools and updates that can transform your corporate space into the smart office of tomorrow. It’s time for your office technology to work smarter, not harder.

Selecting the right technology is key when it comes to transforming your smart office. Not all smart office solutions are necessary for every company, so considering the needs of your individual organization is important when optimizing the space and budget for your office upgrades. Use this office technology guide to see which smart solutions you should consider when updating your office.

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2. Smart Security and Access Control Systems

An often-overlooked aspect of smart office technology is how employees actually enter and exit the building. How smart can your office really be if your security system gets in the way of the daily flow, or puts you at risk of a breach? Choose an access control solution like Openpath that is fully customizable, enables seamless integrations and offers advanced, state-of-the-art security.

  • Choose a cloud-based security system that can be managed remotely from one simple interface. 

  • Save time and hassle with convenient, hands-free unlocking methods from the user’s smartphone.

  • Full visibility from anywhere minimizes risk, featuring video surveillance access, anti-tailgating integrations, and lockdown solutions.

  • Reduce costs by eliminating the need for keycards, fobs, and on-site server maintenance.

  • Enhance security using two-factor authentication through the user’s smartphone with built-in fingerprint scan and facial recognition.

  • Make visitor management simple and effective with mobile guest pass credentials that can be accessed via links sent by text or email.

  • Easily integrate with other security applications like video surveillance, directory management, communication platforms and report generating software.

  • Sleek design that fits right into a modern office environment.

Top Smart Office Automation Integrations

  • Visitor Management: Envoy

  • Video Management: Camio

  • Staffing & Employee Management: G Suite, Okta, and Active Directory

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3. Meeting Room & Space Management

The first rule of a smart office is to optimize the space you have. Installing a meeting management platform can help your team better utilize space, even in a small office. 

  • Monitor room usage and sync with calendars to allow full visibility of available spaces at a given time. 

  • Speed booking requests, reduce double-booking meeting spaces, and notify attendees of changes in meeting time or location.

  • Accommodate requests for catering and equipment, all from one place. 

  • Admins and IT have better visibility to which types of equipment to invest in, and how to reconfigure spaces to better serve the team.

Integrations for Meeting Space Automation

  • Calendaring and collaboration: G Suite

  • Booking software: Office 365

  • Equipment and IT requests: ZenDesk

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4. Collaboration Tools

In a time when remote work is increasingly common, having technology that allows your team to collaborate is high on the list of must-haves for a smart office. 

  • Use video conferencing software to accommodate remote workers and travel schedules. 

  • Invest in high-quality webcams and video equipment to make virtual meetings and presentations more effective.

  • Install a virtual whiteboard software, allowing remote and off-site employees to participate like they would in person.

  • Store files and data on a cloud server, so your team can have access to what they need from anywhere. Make sure your is encrypted for added security.

Top Collaboration Integrations

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5. Smart Energy Solutions

Easily one of the most effective smart office investments you can make, modern energy solutions increase efficiency, and also reduce the carbon footprint of your office—a major technology win-win.

  • Invest in IoT sensors, which use motion detection, infrared, ultrasonic, microwave, or a similar technology to collect data on occupancy and usage, providing you with valuable insights for implementing your technology strategy.

  • Installing smart lighting that automatically adjusts to the number of employees in the space and natural light levels has the potential to reduce energy costs by up to 90 percent, according to Gartner, Inc. 

  • Smart HVAC systems automatically regulate temperature according to usage patterns, company calendars, and weather forecasts to configure the most efficient way to keep everybody comfortable while in the office. 

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6. Office Supply Management

Similar to a smart fridge that makes your grocery list for you, a smart office supply management system can automate the process of ordering office supplies. 

  • A centralized supply interface allows easier tracking and accountability for requests and orders.

  • Better access to data allows admins to easily see where they can reduce costs across the supply chain. 

  • Use the same technology to manage company vending machines and coffee bars for even more efficiency.

  • Install access control readers to restrict access to authorized personnel only.

Top Automation Tools

  • Access management: Openpath

  • Supply management: ZenDesk

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7. Smart Office Accessories

When you’re transforming your workplace into a smart office, don’t forget that it needs to look like one, too. Invest in new, smarter office furniture designed to boost productivity and offer greater flexibility.

  • Standing desks are one of the most requested pieces of office furniture. The top-of-the-line models can be customized for each employee, and set to move at scheduled intervals.

  • For offices with shared desks and hot desk setups, invest in smart desk software that allows employees to search and book workstations via a centralized platform. The same platform tracks usage and remembers preferences, too.

  • Smart desk phones are here to replace outdated landlines with sleek and intuitive designs, touchscreens, and Bluetooth connectivity options. If your office prefers landlines to a BYOD (bring your own device) model, a new set of modern desktop phones could make all the difference. 

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8. Planning Your Smart Office Checklist

Before you start upgrading every piece of technology in your office, it’s important to make informed decisions about what your team needs, and which updates should take priority. Use this checklist as a guide to planning your smart office upgrades.

  • Assess your current needs. Identify the source of the most frustration in your current technology. If you aren’t sure, asking your employees for input is a great place to start. 

  • Determine your budget. If you only have enough to make one investment at the moment, choose an upgrade that will have the biggest impact on both the work environment, and offers additional cost-savings in the long run.

  • Keep in mind any anticipated changes in the size of your workforce. If you foresee growth, relocation, additional offices, or even a reduction in staffing, choose technology that is flexible enough to accommodate those changes.

  • Ensure your office security is up to par. Not only is having a functioning security system a legal matter, it makes your employees feel safer at work, and switching to a mobile access control system can eliminate added pressure on administrative staff.

  • Reconfigure the office to accommodate the necessary spaces you want to add. If you want to switch to floating desks, add more collaboration spaces, or optimize the workstation arrangements, make sure your space still has an efficient flow and complies with current codes.

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9. Smart Office Technology in the Post-Coronavirus Pandemic Era

As the world adjusts to living in the time of COVID-19, there is heightened awareness about all the things we touch, especially in the workplace, where germs are easily spread from person to person. Having technology solutions that feature hands-free designs can help create a more sanitary working environment for all of us. 

  • Automatic doors are the first line of defense against germs. Replacing every single door in your facility is unrealistic, so installing a Bluetooth-enabled door access method, paired with an automatic door opening mechanism, is a great solution. Openpath’s motion-activated readers can integrate with automatic door openers to facilitate a germ-free entry and exit for all your employees and visitors.

  • Touch-free technology will be key to keeping offices sanitary after COVID-19, like converting to operating coffee machines and elevators with a smartphone instead of having to push buttons. Applying voice-activated technology to communal hotspots can help minimize germ spread as well.

  • Use IoT tracking systems to determine the highest traffic, most-used areas of the office, then direct maintenance staff to focus on sanitizing and disinfecting those areas more often.

  • As social distancing proves to be effective in mitigating the spread of coronavirus, offices should prepare to rely more heavily on collaboration tools like video conferencing to help maintain distance between employees and accommodate a more remote staff.

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10. Advanced Security Management for Your Smart Office

Your smart office is only as secure as your access system. Openpath provides a complete access control system that covers every aspect of virtual and physical building security, with cutting-edge solutions to the most common complaints in the industry. Use the form below to contact us if you’d like to learn how your business can benefit from:

  • Elevated smart security

  • Customizable convenience

  • Enormous cost savings

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