The modern office environment has quickly become something of a focal point for a notable rise in the use of smart technologies. From cloud-based security systems that allow teams to monitor and adjust critical systems from remote locations to biometric access devices designed to remove the need for staff to carry easily lost keys and swipe cards, modern offices are filled with intelligent technologies.
Some of these innovations may have been born of necessity, with a post-pandemic workforce that’s more aware of the hygienic benefits gleaned from the use of touchless devices, as well as an increasing number of hybrid and remote workers requiring access to essential systems using remote devices. But, in many ways, touchless offices simply represent a natural progression for business technology.
As more businesses and industries turn towards the use of touchless devices and smart networks, staff may begin to wonder just how much of their routines, workflows and daily lives are likely to be changed. To help answer these queries, here’s what touchless offices could mean for the employee.
What is touchless office technology?
Touchless office technology describes any digital or computerized system that can be accessed, adjusted or otherwise controlled by employees without the need for any physical interaction. In most cases, staff will be required to interact with these devices through the use of biometric information such as facial recognition or voice commands, or via wireless communications from a smart device.
A typical touchless office will be designed with integration in mind, meaning multiple smart technology systems will be configured to communicate with each other to offer a smooth and holistic experience to the user base. For example, access control readers, installed security systems and HVAC devices will all be linked via a cloud-based management platform to be monitored and controlled in unison.
Common uses of touchless technology
Touchless office security
Primarily, access control systems used to ensure only authorized persons are permitted entry to the office can be designed to receive touchless credentials. There are a few ways this can be achieved; biometric scanners can be used to replace physical credentials with unique biometric data such as retina, facial recognition or gesture scans, or digital credentials can be sent to users’ smart devices.
These systems can be connected to a cloud-based management platform to allow for further security integrations. For example, on-site IoT alarms and cameras can be linked to access devices to provide security staff with a unified view of unfolding events. This means if an alarm is tripped, staff can locate the incident, operate the nearest panoramic cctv camera and lock all access points remotely.
Health and hygiene technologies
In the wake of the pandemic, business owners and HR teams have been required to adapt some essential processes to ensure the safety of employees. Touchless technology can be used to assist in these efforts, with bespoke systems designed to detect and prevent the spread of germs and illness.
Examples of this include cameras installed in access points with integrated smart software solutions, these systems can be used to perform automatic temperature scans and health screenings to prevent staff showing symptoms of illness from entering the office. Additionally, touchless taps, sanitizer and soap dispensers can be installed to prevent the spread of bacteria through good hygiene practices.
Touchless HVAC systems
The average office space wastes a significant amount of energy through poorly optimized heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, with these devices commonly accounting for around 40% of an average building’s electricity bill. Touchless HVAC systems controlled via secure smartphones and cloud-based management platforms can reduce these costs and improve user convenience for staff.
By allowing teams to view and control all installed HVAC systems from one remote-access platform, systems can be automated to ensure that devices are only engaged when rooms are in use. Studies even show that by developing a system in which installed IoT occupancy sensors are used to control the use of HVAC devices, businesses can reduce energy waste to save as much as 60% on related operating costs.
The benefits of touchless office technology
Productivity can be improved by the use of touchless technologies in a number of ways, with less need for staff to use high-touch surfaces like door handles and HVAC controls, absenteeism can be reduced as illness will be less likely to spread. Additionally, as staff can move throughout the office without the need for physical credentials, wasted time can be significantly reduced during the day.
Cloud-based security management systems configured to be controlled remotely via linked smart devices can be used to dramatically improve office safety. Security teams can view, adjust and revoke access credentials in real-time in response to potential physical threats, and incident responses can be automated through the use of IoT sensors and alarms to develop bespoke lockdown procedures.
Perhaps the most desirable aspect of touchless office technology for employees concerns notable daily convenience benefits. Staff can enter the office without requiring physical keys, reserve meeting rooms and desks via remote-access controls and improve hygiene by removing high-touch surfaces.
As modern businesses continue to adapt to changing attitudes towards work, it’s likely that we’ll see touchless office technology becoming more widespread across most major industries. When executed with integration in mind and implemented to make use of new developments in automated systems and AI-informed software, touchless office technology is primed to benefit employees for years to come.