IT must prepare for an IoT-enabled digital workplace

CIOs must assess how consumer technology is crossing over into the workplace, according to a new survey from Aruba, the networking division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The trend goes way beyond bring your own device (BYOD), and IT administrators will need to work much more closely with their colleagues in facilities management to support new digital workplace initiatives, the Aruba study said.

The study, based on a survey of 7,000 workers, revealed not only high adoption of standard technologies, such as Wi-Fi (supplied by 82% of organisations surveyed) and cloud applications (43%), but traction with a new generation of technologies.

Internet of things (IoT)-driven technologies such as automatic temperature controls and lighting (24%), voice-activated and wireless conference room audio-visual (AV) technology (23%), and location-aware corporate mobile apps (23%) were among the new technologies being used in the workplace.

Almost three-quarters (71%) of respondents said they would welcome a fully automated workplace, so that working conditions such as light and temperature could be adjusted in real time to suit individual preferences. Similarly, 72% thought all office equipment, such as the height of desks, should be automatically adjustable, and 71% said biometric data should replace passwords.

Almost two-thirds of the employees involved in the Aruba study (64%) said they thought their organisation risked falling behind if new workplace technology was not integrated. Also, 71% said they thought the workplace of the future should be fully automated, and 72% said the workplace should become a completely interactive environment that automatically updates and adjusts itself, while 61% called for virtual and augmented reality to play a bigger role.

The survey reported that the majority of workers globally (64%) believe traditional offices will become obsolete. According to Aruba, this suggests a clear mandate for IT to work with business managers, employees and other stakeholders to create a roadmap toward the interactive digital workplace.

Aruba recommended that IT teams should begin investigating whether the underlying technology infrastructure is flexible enough to support the digital workplace. IT leaders that are investing in new digital workplace technologies are aligned with the evolving needs of the workforce, said Aruba, but where there is a gap, CIOs and IT executives could put a roadmap in place.

Carol Humphreys