Everyone seems to be talking about IoT or connected tech these days. Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices by the year 2020, while Intel believes there will be a much larger 200 billion. Most businesses today are looking to leverage the IoT for more efficient processes and better consumer engagement.

Leverage the Internet of Everything for Your Office

To start, IoT stands for the Internet of Things, also referred to as the Internet of Everything. It specifically references connected devices, which means they sync up to a network or the greater internet. Not all IoT devices require internet access, some simply interface over a local network with other devices, but this ability to sync or connect with other hardware is what truly makes them stand out.

Another common term for these kinds of devices is “smart” technology. IoT can refer to devices like smart home technology and automation hardware, wearables, network equipment and much more.

In reality, IoT is more of a corporate or industrial term. A majority of consumers have no idea what the term is or what it means. They associate IoT with connected technology or smart technology, which are pretty much synonymous.

According to Accenture, nearly 87% of mainstream consumers don’t understand the term IoT — even as they ask their Google watch what it is.

Connected technology or IoT equipment can be used for many different purposes. Ultimately, it offers convenience, productivity and efficiency by engaging with the connections that are all around us. There are infinite uses of this technology for your office. What devices can you use to techify your office? We have a few suggestions.

1. Smart Locks

Imagine getting to work and unlocking your office with your smartphone, instead of a physical key. You can use key fobs, too. A smart lock can be installed on the main door of your office or for every interior office. With this tech, check the status of locks from your phone or device, no matter where you are. You can interact and control these devices remotely, too. Lock your office from the airport or your living room.

Unlock the door for a delivery courier so they can leave a package at your office after hours. Provide a temporary employee with a temporary digital key so they can come and go as they please, and change when they move on.

2. Smart Outlets

Smart outlets aren’t standard yet, but considering the wasted energy of traditional outlets, expect them to be in the future. Control your electronics, lights or television remotely from a smartphone. It essentially replaces a conventional outlet cover and adds remote access and automation support.

You can buy a smart light, too, but if you want to use your regular lights and automate them on a schedule, a smart outlet is the way to go. It can even sync with Amazon Echo and Logitech Harmony devices for added functionality.

3. Smart Boards

Toss the smelly sharpies and make a high-tech conference room. Start with a smart board, which is basically an interactive whiteboard. This amazing piece of technology ensures you and your team are on the same page. As a computer and projection screen in one, multiple users can engage with the device using a mouse, stylus or their fingers.

As you grow your smart setup, you can add more gadgets to encourage teamwork, better integrate processes and include as many people as necessary.

4. Voice Assistant

Voice assistants won’t pick up your dry cleaning, but they can make your life easier. A voice assistant will allow you to pose questions, control other smart devices, place orders and even play music — simply by calling out commands. You already likely engage with a voice assistant to some degree, like when you ask Siri or Alexa a question. Now, imagine asking them to turn off your office lights.

It’s as simple as that, and, when you’re focused on your work, a voice assistant can be the difference between having a super productive day or a terribly distracted one.

5. Automated Curtains or Blinds

You can easily automate the curtains and blinds in your office. They can be controlled remotely from a smartphone, so you never have to get up from your desk to get the glare out of your eyes or off your screen.

As you’d expect, you can program and automate the process so they open or close every day at a certain time.

With modern technology, your meetings and workflows can run smoothly — giving you and your team time to tackle other projects.

Image by Unsplash

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews writes about technology and gadgets for Motherboard, MakeUseOf and The Gadget Flow. To read more posts by Kayla, check out her blog Productivity Bytes.