For several years, the use of smart technologies in our homes has been steadily increasing. Connected devices like the Amazon Echo, Google Home range and Hive’s smart home products now let you control your home from your smartphone. Allowing you to do things like stream music to every room, turn the lights on remotely, boost the temperature and even clean your house – all at the click of a button.
These devices aren’t just about convenience either; smart gadgets can also improve energy efficiency in the home – helping you to save on heating and energy costs – and alert you to any intruders or suspicious activity.
Shifting to the office
But smart tech is no longer just for the home. Businesses can also benefit from integrating connected devices into the workplace – helping to optimise processes, improve efficiency and boost agility. Many businesses are already using SaaS technologies such as Expensify, Xeno and Square to tackle reporting, invoicing and data management. So why not take it a step further with smart tech?
For example, if you have a dispersed workforce, you can utilise technologies like the Microsoft Surface Hub to be more agile in your collaboration strategies and to close the gap between remote teams. The Hub links multiple devices wirelessly and connects individuals to a digital Whiteboard and integrated conferencing and apps. Allowing for real-time brainstorming, digital note taking and video conferencing – no matter where your teams are in the world.
Devices such as the Ring Video Doorbell and Kuna Toucan Security Camera also offer accessible and affordable security solutions for businesses that don’t have thousands of pounds to spend on implementing highly-sophisticated CCTV. The Kuna Toucan easily adapts to any light fixture, offering both security and control through its app – while Ring’s offering alerts you if visitors are at the door, allowing them to talk via two-way communication before letting them in.
Smart tech can also help businesses to automate processes. Amazon Echos can be set up in communal areas, for example, and synced with other compatible smart devices to control TVs, lightbulbs and the office temperature according to the weather outside – and even to order supplies instantly if you have a business Amazon Prime account. Alexa for Business also allows employees to reserve meeting rooms and start conference calls using just their voice.
These ‘set it and forget it’ technologies are only going to get more sophisticated as well. Soon, devices will be able to anticipate employee needs and act accordingly without requiring a prompt. Meaning cleaning schedules, ordering supplies and even booking travel arrangements can all become automated – freeing up valuable time for businesses.
Always a catch
Smart technology is already starting to save businesses a lot of time, money and resources; helping them to work smarter, not harder. And who’s to say these smart offices won’t transition into entire smart office buildings in the future? Complete with temperature control, automatic lighting, facial recognition entry systems and computers that boot up as soon as they sense your car pulling up in the car park.
But at what cost? As with most tech devices, there is a catch. When incorporating smart technology into your business, security is the biggest risk factor. People quickly become reliant on these gadgets, so it’s important for employees to be aware of possible threats and the hidden downfalls of using them.
Hacking is a major concern with smart tech. These gadgets don’t have the same firewalls or levels of protection as computers, making them an easy target for attacks. So, if there’s a security loophole in a device, you bet cyber criminals will find and exploit it. And if it stores personal information such as credit card details, that could be disastrous for your business. Hackers could even take over the entire system and hold smart tech at ransom, which is why it is vital to be aware of how these devices store and use your data.
Equally, any smart tech which includes a camera or microphone could potentially be activated remotely – without you even realising! So, it is important to read the small print and familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of the device, as well as its software permissions, to keep your business safe from eavesdroppers and prying eyes.
To find out more about Pro Drive IT and how we can help keep your business stay safe in the face of these emerging smart technologies, contact us today.