Remember when you relied on your keyboard or mouse to pull up files on your laptop? Or needed a conference phone to connect to a meeting? The way we interact with devices has come a long way. As consumers, we don’t search for things on the Internet anymore. We ask Alexa or Siri to find the things we want and have them delivered to our doorsteps. The same technologies that power these devices are beginning to make their way into the workplace. Just as they have transformed our personal lives, they promise to change the way we work.
Not your father’s interface
Not since 1984 have we seen the kind of change in the way we interact with devices that we are experiencing today. Thanks to things like AI, machine learning, speech recognition, biometrics and augmented reality, we no longer have to click or type. We can swipe, talk, touch or even just look.
Alexa goes to work
The possibilities this can open are limitless. When brought into intelligent digital workspaces, connected devices can eliminate the mundane tasks that frustrate and keep us from doing meaningful work that makes us happy and more productive.
Consider a smart conference room. When you walk into the room, the IoT-enabled workspace will already know who you are, what meeting you are there to attend and what presentation you need to get started. It will launch the meeting automatically and adjust the room conditions to suit your personal preferences, lowering the shades, turning the TV monitors on, initiating the video camera and session recording. When the meeting is over, it will send links to the session recording to all attendees, giving you back at least 20 minutes in your day.
Or think about the open floor plans that companies are beginning to embrace. Employees can sit anywhere and log into their computer applications via shared devices at any desk. So, what do you do when you need to find coworkers or free space for yourself? In an intelligent workspace, you can ask an IoT-connected kiosk or smart screen using voice commands. Using streamed sensor, you will be automatically guided to coworkers or a free space on an interactive map.
It’s a brave new world filled with opportunities, but it carries a unique set of challenges that IT needs to understand and plan for in order to capitalize on them.
Rethink your infrastructure
To truly succeed with the coming sophistication of IoT, your enterprise may need a new type of computing infrastructure. Think about all of the data and telemetry feeds that continuously stream between different systems and sensors. There’s no efficient, cost-effective way to send it all from an ever increasing number of devices to the cloud for deep processing.
Public cloud infrastructures are great at providing flexible consumption models and faster rollouts, but they struggle to keep pace with the mix of high data-rates and demand sub-second user-response that IoT requires. When it comes to IoT, edge computing and hybrid cloud models are a better bet, as they allow you to pick the hybrid architecture that suits your needs and build an infrastructure that can intelligently and automatically decide where will most efficiently process data.
Then there’s privacy. IoT devices collect massive amounts of data. In the face of strict regulations related to financial data, the private nature of personal or health related data, and the persistence of advanced cyberattacks, enterprises need to decide when to locally process data or export it to the cloud and need a flexible system to support their efforts. Here again, edge computing and a hybrid environment win the day.
Understand your risk
With IoT devices, the stakes of a single breach are incredibly high and there isn’t room for undue risk. The new vulnerabilities and expanded attack surface devices introduce require an intelligent and contextual model to manage. Typical client management tools were conceived at a time when desktops, laptops and devices were stationary, corporately distributed and mostly connected to the enterprise. Those days are over.
Work today happens anywhere, anytime and on any number of devices. Managing IoT devices requires a different approach that is flexible and supports roaming, wirelessly connected, mobile users on their chosen devices. IT admins also need a new set of tools that integrate management, security, application and desktop virtualization, and mobility into a centralized infrastructure to simplify, secure, manage and monitor all types of endpoints, applications and software from a single pane of glass.
Prepare for the future
When it comes to the workplace, IoT promises to drive new levels of freedom, productivity and innovation. It’s already happening. As the technology continues to mature and integrate with new systems, vendors and applications, it will only happen faster. Enterprises that develop plans to operationalize IoT now can speed their way to a sustainable competitive advantage. Those that don’t will be left in the dust.
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