Is Your Office Ready for the Internet of Things (IoT) Revolution?

Businesses that can create “smart offices” will be in position to take advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT) world of connected devices.

“By using the Internet of Things in office buildings, you can increase workplace productivity, streamline routine tasks, and make safer and more comfortable working environments for your employees,” says “IoT for all” which covers the IoT ecosystem.

Billions of devices around the globe are already connected to the Internet, collecting and sharing data.

“Thanks to the arrival of super-cheap computer chips and the ubiquity of wireless networks, it’s possible to turn anything, from something as small as a pill to something as big as an airplane, into a part of the IoT,” wrote Steve Ranger for ZDNet.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)

While we have had devices connected to the Internet for decades, the IoT opens thetyler-franta-iusJ25iYu1c-unsplash world of connectivity up to previously thought “dumb devices” or those not designed for connectivity.

“Connecting up all these different objects and adding sensors to them adds a level of digital intelligence to devices that would be otherwise dumb, enabling them to communicate real-time data without involving a human being,” wrote Ranger. “The Internet of Things is making the fabric of the world around us smarter and more responsive, merging the digital and physical universes.”

British technology pioneer Kevin Ashton, who co-founded the Auto-ID Center at MIT which created the global standard system for RFID and other sensors, coined the phrase “Internet of Things” in 1999, but it was not until recently that technology was ready to act on his vision.

Internet of Things (IoT): By the Numbers

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have slowed investment in IoT technology a bit in 2020, IDC predicts a return to double-digit growth with 11.3 percent annual growth rate predicted through 2024.

Bojan Jovanovic, writing for DataProt in March 2021, uncovered these IoT facts and figures:

  • In 2021 there are already more than 10 billion active IoT devices
  • The number of IoT devices will surpass 25.4 billion by 2030
  • By 2025 there will be 152,200 IoT devices connecting to the Internet each minute
  • IoT solutions have the potential to generate $4 to $11 trillion in economic value by 2025
  • 83 percent of organizations have improved their efficiency by introducing IoT technology
  • Global IoT spending is estimated at $15 trillion in the six-year period ending 2025
  • Amount of data generated by IoT devices is expected to reach 73.1 zettabytes by 2025.

To put that 73.1 zettabytes of data generated into perspective, one zettabyte is equal to one billion terabytes or one trillion gigabytes.

“IoT big data statistics show that, with increased adoption, devices will globally generate exponentially more data in the following years,” writes Jovanovic.

The Benefits of the Smart Office

The “Smart Office” can take advantage of the IoT with connected devices that can monitor, control, and manage different operations and working conditions.

IoT for all says that the benefits for businesses implementing IoT technology into their office space includes:

  • Energy Savings: Connected devices that can automatically adjust lighting and heating in an office can conserve energy resources and save money.
  • Efficient Business Operations: IoT devices can streamline, or in some cases completely replace, daily tasks, allowing your employees to focus on more important job functions.
  • Comfortable Working Environment: Employees can tailor their working conditions to their personal tastes by utilizing lighting and temperature setting controls from smart devices.
  • Better Employee Productivity: Increase comfort and reduce daily tasks that are now automated can increase overall employee productivity.
  • Increased Workplace Safety: IoT devices such as security cameras, connected sensors, and access control systems, can make your office a safer place for employees. These devices can also protect employers against incidents of illegal behavior among employees.

While home automation, health and fitness, retail, and inventory management have already embraced IoT devices, the commercial office space is quickly following with everything from IoT-enabled conference rooms to “smart desks”.

“Having an IoT-enabled office means much more than simply being able to manage its temperature or lighting through a smartphone. It means safer, more efficient operations, and as result, better ROI,” says IoT for all.

The Right Connectivity for the IoT Future

For your smart office to take advantage of IoT connected devices, you will need enough bandwidth and a high-speed fiber network connection.

The federal government understands the urgency to upgrade America’s connectivity, especially with 5G technology rolling out across the country, and has earmarked $65 billion to expand broadband access in the current $1 trillion national infrastructure plan.

Making sure your office has the right connectivity has always been paramount to new technology adoption such as adding Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

“Investing in faster broadband Internet service is nearly always the right choice for businesses of any size – whether you have one employee or ten thousand,” wrote John Cook for Agape Press.

Before the IoT, estimating how much bandwidth your business needed required knowing how many users you had and what activities they would be doing.

Going forward businesses also need to consider how many total connected devices are in their offices, and how often these devices are receiving and sending data over the network.

Forbes says to consider the following when considering how much Internet speed your office needs:

  • Data throughput: The megabits per second is the speed at which data travels on your network but is not the sole source of measuring Internet speed.
  • Latency: Measures the amount of time it takes data to reach the endpoint and can be very important when utilizing IoT devices.
  • Router and Wireless Setup: Your router must be able to handle your desired Internet speeds and distance that signals must travel to the broadcast point will affect speed.
  • Wireless Interference: The more people and devices in an area can lead to congestion and interference.

The FCC in its Connect America Fund asked for bids covering the following performance tiers:

  • Minimum: 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream; monthly allowance 150 GB
  • Baseline: 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream; monthly allowance 150 GB+
  • Above Baseline: 100Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream; monthly allowance 2 TB
  • Gigabit: 1 Gigabit downstream and 500 Mbps upstream; monthly usage 2 TB+/

Businesses need to be above baseline or at Gigabit speeds to future-proof for the IoT revolution.

Skyler Ditchfield in Forbes argues that those upstream numbers are important and should approach the downstream rates.

“Instead of investing in older asymmetrical technologies … we should be moving toward symmetrical technologies like fixed wireless and fiber,” wrote Ditchfield. “In the 2000s, most business and consumer Internet traffic was download-based. Today, however, our needs for high capacity have changed substantially. I believe that many new applications I use today and coming into use in the near future will use upload capacity as much, if not more, than download capacity.”

PS Lightwave’s Internet offerings can support nearly every organization’s needs with bandwidth 5 millisecond latency and high transport class to 100G.

Contact PS Lightwave today for your high-speed fiber network needs in the greater Houston area.

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