Automation: The Future of the Internet of Things at the Workplace

Shelly Dutton

Now that we have explored the home of the future, what about the workplace?

Sure, we all know about the warehouse robots used by companies such as Amazon, Crate & Barrel, Gap, and others. But where else can the Internet of Things automate business operations in the near future?

Take a look at what the future may hold for office workers

  • Facilities managers may experience the ease of managing the building and office equipment. Imagine copiers and printers sensing when they are low on paper or toner and automatically entering a work order or inventory request into CAFM and CMMS systems. Elevators will be able to tell you when they get stuck. HVAC systems will alert you when their filters need changing. And components like pumps would tell you when they start heating up, indicating there is a problem. Even individual lights, outlets, or thermostats could be connected to the Internet of Things and controlled.
  • IT professionals will see distributed computing at the device level help optimize the performance of machines and processes. Infrastructures will enable device-to-device communication, replacing the idea of servers that push information to devices. Instead, devices will be able to communicate with each other. And as a result, traditional systems will morph into cloud-based software. By automating these networks and removing the “middlemen of IT architecture,” the entire infrastructure will be able to self-configure, self-regulate, and suggest efficiency improvements.
  • Plant managers will go beyond lean manufacturing. Consider a plant that stocks to a minimum. Components are constantly traveling across the planet, often arriving within a day. With the Internet of Things, this system extends beyond individual factories to interconnect multiple factories and regions – enabling sensors to automatically trigger ordering and shipping of parts when stocks fall below a certain level.
  • HR managers may embrace predictive analysis to understand expected workloads and skills needed in the future. They can easily make strategic plans that factor in external economic and political trends. Resource plans can be made based on projected internal and external workforce supply. And organizational modeling will be based on information from all enterprise processes – combining data from finance, HR, logistics, supply chain, and sales.

A brave new world

As you can see, the Internet of Things is bringing together information in more useful and creative ways. And we have only scratched the surface. Automation will not avoid the Internet of Things, but rather will be at the heart of it. And benefits – such as increased operational efficiency, lower costs, and higher productivity – are only the start.

Do you have ideas on how your business can be automated with this information? I’d love to read your thoughts below.



IoT , Awareness