Smart Office—Cutting-edge smart home technologies could soon be going to work
These new devices take household mainstays—light bulbs, thermostats, smoke detectors, door locks—and give them an internet connection using wireless networking. In concept, this allows various devices in your home to talk to one another. Homeowners can also use their phones as remote controls, allowing them to adjust their settings when they are away from the house.
Although smart televisions have become popular, many other smart home options have not yet gone mainstream. That’s expected to change.
Tech giants Apple, Google, and Microsoft have gotten behind the smart home trend. Market research firm MarketsandMarkets estimated smart home product sales topped $20 billion in 2014 and will reach $58 billion by 2020.
With growth on the horizon, this new industry is bound to quickly find its way into the work place.
Here are a few smart home technologies that are worth a look for your business:
One of the early selling points for smart home devices is the potential for energy savings. Smart thermostats feature user-friendly interfaces that make it easy to create a heating and cooling schedule for your office.
Some smart thermostats provide useful energy data, helping business owners fine-tune their offices for both comfort and efficiency. Most units also offer companion smartphone apps that allow business owners to check in from home and make sure an employee didn’t leave the AC on full blast.
Traditional smoke detectors are only useful when someone is within earshot. But what if your business catches fire after hours? By the time someone notices and calls the fire department, your office and equipment could be in ruins.
A smart smoke detector can send an alert to your phone whenever smoke is present. That alert could be the difference between minor damage and a total loss. The Nest Protect is the only option so far, though competitors should be in the market soon.
File this one as an idea for the future. Imagine that if, instead of handing your employees keys to the building, you could simply authorize their smartphones so that the doors automatically unlocked when they arrived for work. If someone loses his phone, you would simply de-authorize the device—no need to change the locks.
This is the promising premise behind smart lock devices, but they’re not quite there yet. Although a number of smart locks are available for purchase today, none are specifically designed to be used in a business setting. Many of the current smart lock technologies have received mixed reviews. However, as this technology matures, good options should be around the corner.