The workplace is not what it was five years ago. Today’s modern office is filled with new gadgets and technologies that are all connected to the internet, where an abundance of data is collected and shared non-stop. From computers and desk phones to room panels and lobby displays, businesses are making the move to IoT devices in the workplace not only to enhance productivity and operations, but to enable efficient communications as well.
According to Gartner’s research paper “Leading the IoT,” enterprises should expect to see 20 billion internet-connected devices by 2020. With the increasing popularity of IoT in the workplace, enterprises deploy more devices than ever before to improve efficiencies and create new business opportunities. In fact, internet-connected devices are anticipated to outnumber humans four-to-one by just next year.
This increasing number of IoT devices in the office can be attributed to the migration of the workforce to cloud services. With facilities for servers becoming costly and inefficient to operate, organizations are moving to the cloud to better manage massive amounts of data. Even so, Gartner estimates that 80%of large enterprises in North America will have shut down all of their own data centers by 2022, initiating the move to IoT. Here are a few examples of devices that are embracing IoT:
The rise of instant messaging, voice over IP, and the introduction of the cloud into the workplace over the past five years has drastically evolved unified communications (UC) in the workplace. As the world of UC continues to transform, end-users are beginning to reap the benefits of connecting these devices to the internet.
As an example, video conferencing tools are switching from on-premises software to cloud-based servers, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or WebEx Teams. Today’s devices — whether they are video conferencing tools or desk phones — are connected directly to the internet rather than a local server, which enables increased functionality, the transmission of data in real-time and an overall better user experience. As IoT enhances these smart devices, organizations are not only using UC devices to their fullest, but also creating a collaborative workspace for employees.
Cloud-based phone systems
With mountains of cables, phone bills and inefficient and complex configurations, legacy phone systems are becoming extinct as more organizations move to cloud services to manage their data. With a cloud-based phone system, data is stored in a secure server, which can be reached over the internet. This eliminates the need for expensive hardware and cables and replacing traditional landlines. Usually hosted by a third-party provider, a cloud-based phone system platform presents a myriad of benefits, including cost savings, a simpler and faster set-up and remote capabilities built for a mobile workforce. Workers save time that they previously spent on maintaining complicated legacy systems and relying on specific IT resources for complex configurations or more pressing business matters.
Digital signage tools
No matter where you are in the office, it is imperative to keep employees in the loop. Creating a steady flow of information throughout all levels of your business can lead to enhanced communications. Organizations are turning to digital signage to instill corporate culture and convey information effectively and efficiently.
Prior to IoT and the cloud, a lot of effort and time was needed to manage an organization’s digital signage system. Companies found that an IoT-connected digital signage device could be scaled more effectively, making it possible to deploy them around the world. Additionally, IoT devices can be connected to several services and data sources so that the information being displayed and transferred is timely and relevant. With help from cloud services, organizations can have the ability to efficiently manage this data without wasting time on server management, complicated software installation or IT issues.
The move to cloud and the introduction of IoT has simplified the internetworking of smart devices, thereby enhancing and enabling communications. With more devices introduced to the workplace and more data entering the cloud, organizations need to understand how to successfully deploy, monitor and manage these devices. Establishing a policy around the use and security of these devices — such as where these devices can be used and how they are connected to the office network — is critical to the success of IoT devices. With a policy and successful deployment strategy in place, organizations can begin to reap the benefits of the cloud and IoT devices in the workplace.
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