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With COVID-19 vaccines beginning to secure emergency approval and roll out across the globe, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for enterprise organizations large and small looking for ways to get their teams back into the office and collaborating face-to-face.
There are still some long months ahead and permanent fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as continued remote work in some industries and a lasting emphasis on safety set to reshape the ways we interact for good, to reckon with. Still, it’s an exciting time to begin thinking about the technological innovations that will power peace of mind into 2021 and beyond.
In particular, these six emerging technology trends are primed to play an even greater role in crafting safer workspaces moving forward, building on a foundation of success and adoption that’s already begun to show results.
1) Elevated and Widespread Use of Extended Reality
Extended reality, or XR, solutions have been in use in themed entertainment and leisure activities for a while now – but it’s time that they make their way to the corporate environment.
XR solutions encompass virtual reality, which puts users into a virtual world of your own creation, augmented reality solutions that overlay information and engaging visuals over real-world environments, and mixed reality, which combines the two. These solutions throw open the doors to a world of enhance corporate creativity and immersion, offering unique ways to engage employees and visitors.
Picture a virtual world that brings a potential buyer inside the factory where your product is being made, or an augmented reality solution that overlays key information about company goals, important deadlines, meetings and more onto the corporate environment and allows employees to interact with that information in real time. Better yet, envision an augmented reality solution that sees the founder of a decades-old company greet every visitor digitally or creates an interactive shared world for collaboration and inspiration on the next big idea.
These solutions are exciting, but the best part is that they’re also working to create a safer workplace. XR solutions allow for contactless interactivity and engagement through the use of employees’ own devices and clever integrations and overlays, meaning that some of the collaboration and inspiration you may have lost during the course of the pandemic can return to your space.
2) More Innovative Wayfinding
In a similar vein, it’s time to elevate wayfinding. At this point, many corporate offices and campuses have some digital screens showing key information, schedules, and more – but taking it to the next level can both keep employees and visitors safe in the post-pandemic new normal and elevate your ability to share with them the information they need to know, when they need to know it.
From the moment someone steps into your space, cutting edge digital communications and media walls can play a role in crafting a more engaging experience.
The core functions of wayfinding will still exist – and perhaps be more critical than ever, as helping employees and guests know exactly where they need to be at any given moment will be key to managing occupancy. However, wayfinding also presents new, exciting opportunities to offer personalized experiences through RFID-enabled badges or mobile apps, interactive kiosks and screens that elevate your brand, and more.
3) RFID and Sensor Technologies
The central allure of RFID and sensor technologies is clear – they allow you to operate elements of your space without touch, making the space safer, and give you important data you can use to better understand what every occupant is up to.
However, these sensor technologies also offer a pathway to greater personalization and deeper relationships. By giving guests RFID-enabled badges, for example, you can have interactive screens throughout the space understand who they are and tailored their message as such. That’s powerful.
For your employees, RFID and sensor technology need to break loose from the typical “scan and open this door” realm and into spaces where integrations can allow teams to safely control displays, lighting and more. Touch-free credentialing and bring-your-own-device functionality are the future of the workplace.
4) Security, Access Control and Visitor Management
Part of maintaining a safe environment is understanding who’s within it at all times, and it’s something that theme parks and other leisure experiences have been doing for quite some time.
You can leverage the same solutions to craft a holistic plan for security, access control and visitor management, integrating temperature scanning, RFID badges, surveillance, monitoring and more into a single solution that elevates your ability to control your space.
When you have robust insight into who’s in your space and what they’re doing at all times, you’re empowered to ensure cleaning schedules focus on high-traffic areas, occupants are safe and maintaining precautions like social distancing, and more.
5) Experiential Technologies
On top of all the solutions we’ve already mentioned that can help drive immersive experiences, there’s an entire world of artificial intelligence and machine learning, gamification and more to explore.
AI and machine learning can help, first and foremost, by powering solutions that make employees’ lives simpler. The more you can leverage these technologies to drive powerful data and actionable insights that take away some of the menial tasks employees do each day, the more you free up those employees to do what humans do best – innovate.
Also, by taking notes about what’s working in themed entertainment and leisure, you can leverage their strategy of blending narrative, design and technology to craft powerful, inspirational moments. Use those interactive screens we talked about to encourage competition through gamification or create a virtual museum or “ride” expanding on your company’s history and mission. The possibilities are endless.
6) More Powerful ‘Traditional’ Audiovisual Solutions
It’s important to not let “traditional” AV solutions get lost in the shuffle of searching for the next big thing. Huddle rooms, elevated conference spaces and more will have key roles to play in the workplaces of 2021 and beyond, particularly when they need to facilitate collaboration between onsite and remote employees.
Pay close attention to audio and video and spend to update them where you can. Ensuring that the entirety of a conference room can be seen and heard is key to successful virtual meetings, and Unified Communication solutions, wireless displays and presentation, and more can ensure that the touchless, yet impactful collaboration employees will come to expect can be delivered.
These innovative technology solutions are largely powerless if they aren’t part of a holistic strategy and backed by robust support and managed services that help ensure they remain up and ready to have their desired impact on your forward-looking workplace.
That’s where choosing the correct technology integrator enters the picture.
Electrosonic has over five decades of experience on the cutting edge of technological innovation, and our proprietary Technology Master Planning™ methodology and industry-leading managed services empower you to deliver upon your vision for a safe, modern and collaborative workplace, regardless of what that looks like for your unique organization.
To learn more about how Electrosonic can help prepare your workspace for 2021 and beyond, contact us today.
Yiannis Cabolis, Director of Technology Innovation at Electrosonic, shares the inside track on how technology drives innovation. He brings 30 years’ experience monitoring emerging technologies, developing best practices and driving Research and Development to solve challenges and help clients understand how to benefit from the latest engineered technology solutions.