ITEX Education Exposition and ITEX 365 have been exploring the future of the workplace, also known as the “Smart Office”. The Smart Office encompasses similar technology implemented within the “Smart Home”, but rather, in the workplace. Large OEMs are forecasting how different trends and technologies can make the workplace safer, more efficient, and manageable remotely. While some areas of the Smart Office spotlight office technology devices, the Smart Office also covers reseller automation, digital workflow, meetings, security and employee collaboration. Below is a summary, written by Keypoint Intelligence’s Christine Dunne, introducing the workplace of the future.
Seven OEMs in North America, Brother, Canon, HP, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Sharp, and Xerox, are thinking hard about the smart workplace of the future. They are anticipating the trends that will be shaping the technology, software, and services that workers require. In addition, many have and are currently launching new offerings to bring workplaces into the coming years and decades. Some of these products and services fit squarely in the office printing realm, while others are more focused on areas like digital workflow, IT integration, and meeting and collaboration
- OEMs seem to agree that the smart workplace of the future will encompass traditional office environments as well as all the different locations in which people work.
- While acknowledging the expanding borders of the office, some vendors are still focused on the physical office as they believe this is where their strength resides.
- Overarching trends driving innovation in workplace solutions include the cloud, security concerns, mobility, artificial intelligence, and subscription services.
- OEMs should continue to consider the trends shaping the smart workplace of the future and how they can play a leading role in meeting new needs and preferences.
- When launching smart workplace of the future offerings, vendors are advised to continue sharing thought leadership to help establish themselves in new spaces.
- While innovations in printing are important, OEMs must recognize that declines in print are heightening the need for complementary product development initiatives.
The traditional work environment is going through fundamental transformation. Artificial intelligence, robotics, and data are automating many activities that workers used to perform and are creating new jobs for those who can produce these automation tools as well as the services to manage these devices. As the workforce transitions and automation increases, the fundamental work environment must shift as well.
Like mobile phones and the consumerization of IT, the consumerization of “smart” things has already started in the home with smart devices. The technology has been evolving, starting with the combination of the Internet, mobility, cloud, sensors, and the Internet of things—which has led to products such as smart light bulbs, thermostats, doorbells and security cameras. These things are all edging their way into businesses. At the same time, the smart office is not just about intelligent devices or physical spaces; in fact, work no longer means being tied to a desk or a central/single location where people congregate to work and collaborate.
Today, work is being performed anywhere at any time—no longer are we confined to the four walls of a cube or office, tethered to a PC or workplace. Work, today, is where work can get done and that is virtually anywhere. The difference between the smart home and the smart office is people. People are still required to transact, communicate, collaborate, and make decisions to get work done. And although devices, tools, and robots may be taking away physical jobs, at the end of the day, people can leverage and use these tools to work more productively and efficiently.
To better segment and organize the “smart workplace,” Keypoint Intelligence has created a taxonomy of services related to our industry that helps define and categorize these disparate technologies and services into a more concrete and comprehensive view of smart workplace solutions and services.