Throughout history, major crises have acted as catalysts for change, both socially and technologically, and it seems like the Pandemic of 2022 was no different. Millions of us moved to remote working quite literally overnight, accelerating changes towards a more flexible way of working and new technology investments.
In major world events, there are winners and losers at every level and whilst it might be some time before we truly understand the impact of what we lost, there are clear wins that we have benefited from both in our personal and professional lives.
Many of us realised that we'd fallen into a routine where our working lives dominated and left little time for our family and loved ones - this has been widely addressed and acknowledged as we strive for a more equal split between work and play.
Previously office-based workforces have been pushed to working remotely and many of us have eradicated (or at the least drastically reduced) commute times to the office. The environmental, social and economic benefits of this shift are clear, as many businesses have reduced their office footprint and embraced hybrid or remote workforces.
But it is doubtful that we will kiss goodbye to the office completely as there are those of us that enjoy being in an office environment, and there is a generation that is potentially missing out on a lot of beneficial experiences of working in a collaborative and bustling office - so let’s see how technology can assist the offices o the future.
Smart lockers are a great way to reduce the burden on IT Teams that are now supporting a remote workforce. By adopting a smart locker system, IT Support Desks can support a distributed network of employees far easier when they have a failure. Broken equipment can be dropped off and picked up by employees at a secure location, meaning the IT Engineers don't have to spend time physically delivering IT assets. Employees simply log their IT support request in their support portal, they then receive a unique secure code which they can use to redeem their new equipment at their closest hub — saving valuable time, resources and therefore - money.
A Smart Locker system provides remote IT support – supporting remote workers as well as the office-based workforce. By deploying ITSM integration, which is offered by Velocity, Smart lockers can enable asset management and also track anyone involved in the chain of drop-off, repair and return. This level of traceability is crucial in the control and reduction
While Smart Lockers are now at a state of maturity, there are many other nascent areas of ‘smart’ technology that could come to the fore following the pandemic. Smartphones continue to become ever more essential to daily life with payments, fitness/ health tracking and how we consume media - but have you considered Smart buildings?
Newly constructed buildings will incorporate smart technology to drive down energy usage, move towards carbon Net Zero, improve indoor air quality and provide an impressive and comfortable experience for all occupants.
Smart buildings can support a flexible workforce by providing more efficient use of services. For example. knowing the peak times/ days of an office block can allow support services ranging from facilities to catering to manage their services accordingly so that those people in the office are catered for. At times when the office isn't in use, energy consumption can be managed so that only the areas in use are being serviced.
Smart Vending Solutions
A Smart Vending solution involves automated machines that dispense high-volume low-cost products. These machines are typically equipped with touchscreen interfaces, cashless payment systems, and real-time inventory tracking.
Smart Vending machines are designed to offer immediate access to products, allowing users to purchase and collect items on the spot. With our Smart vending solution, we have designed them to meet the business requirements of modern enterprises. All Velocity Smart devices are controlled and managed through the ServiceNow certified Velocity Smart Collect™ application, which allows IT teams to track inventory and supply levels all in one place.
Smart Cloud Collaboration
Having become central to how businesses operate and communicate in recent years, we can expect cloud collaboration tools to become smarter and more advanced as they integrate smart technology such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
Zoom, Slack, Teams, Google Docs, and all the rest have resulted in large meetings in the boardroom becoming a thing of the past, in favour of a mix of in-person and virtual calls – even between people in the same office building.
With the advances of ChatGPT happening faster than many businesses and governments can keep up it would be wise to adopt an air of caution before fully embracing this technology, however, AI is already a common feature of many businesses due to its immense processing power and ability to identify trends in huge sets of data. Smart business leaders will look to ways how AI can be used to increase efficiency and productivity, requiring existing workforces to be upskilled rather than replaced.
Smart Business will embrace flexible working
Our own independent research revealed that 64% of UK business leaders plan to invest in digital workplace technology to improve collaboration and facilitate better hybrid working. There will always be some that question whether hybrid workforces can be as productive as office-based workforces, however, business leaders should always be looking for new and innovative ways to support their workforce.
According to the research, over a third (36%) of business leaders plan to introduce smart lockers or smart vending machines for better IT asset management and delivery - therefore there is a strong argument that investing in smart technology is a key step to creating a productive and settled workforce. Tools such as smart lockers can rapidly provide replacement equipment to individuals irrespective of location, which dramatically improves their productivity – and morale.
This blog was updated in August 2023