Chargifi’s CEO Dan Bladen on the rise of smart technology in business
In an exclusive column for Digital Bulletin, Chargifi’s CEO Dan Bladen explains how smart technology is enabling businesses to meet the demands of today’s workforce
With the launch of the Apple iPhone in 2007 came a new appetite for connectivity. In the 12 years since, consumers have developed an insatiable desire to stay connected 24/7 with the average smartphone user today interacting with their device — taps, types, swipes and clicks — nearly 3,000 times a day.
But this digital dependency has created a problem: thousands of interactions with our devices and multiple apps running simultaneously is draining power. It’s for this reason that two-thirds of smartphone users run out of battery before 5pm.
That 5pm battery anxiety should soon be a thing of the past. With one billion devices with wireless charging capabilities predicted to be in circulation by 2020, it’s safe to say that wireless power provision is going to skyrocket. By deploying smart wireless charging and other smart technology at scale, businesses can not only satisfy their app-thirsty employees, but they can create a more engaged, productive and efficient workforce.
Smart technology — devices which talk to each other in real-time and make data-based predictions — is creating a seamless digital experience in our homes, and as the workplace becomes more domestic, employees demand the same levels of connectivity.
With the rise of flexible working, office spaces are transforming and employees are shunning the traditional confines of their desks — opting to move freely from desk to meeting room to breakout area. The rise of the third place — social spaces that bridge the gap between the traditional home and work environments — highlights that this preference for fluid, co-working space is here to stay. A recent report found that 71% of workers described feeling more creative since joining a co-working space, and 62% said their work had improved.
Because of this on-the-move culture, employees are snacking on power to stay connected — but sustaining this access to power can be a pain point. To accommodate this demand there is an opportunity for employers to make power — the critical foundation to connectivity — as convenient and accessible as possible in as many spaces as possible.
By embracing smart technology such as wireless power, employers also see a spike in employee engagement and staff retention. Traditionally engagement was boosted through benefits and perks such as company cars, but today’s workforce have different priorities — they simply want to work in an environment where they feel valued and stimulated. Smart workplaces that can predict employees’ every need can engender loyalty and mean that employees feel personally and virtually connected to the business.
“Smart technology is creating a seamless digital experience in our homes, and as the workplace becomes more domestic, employees demand the same levels of connectivity”
Smart wireless charging drives engagement by acting as a trigger point for seamless and personalised experiences like meeting booking, hot-desk check-in which automatically enables facilities and will kick-start a meeting, conference call or work session without the need to manually login and load apps.
Such smart technology will not only help employers to retain talent, but will also help with recruitment. Studies show that over 87% of employees who don’t feel engaged at work are looking for a job elsewhere, and businesses can take advantage of smart technology to make their environments more attractive to potential employees.
Another aspect of the workplace experience which smart technology is revolutionising is building efficiency. Your average office building is running at a noticeably low 30–40% capacity. The increase in remote and flexible working is undoubtedly impacting how much — or how little — commercial properties are being used.
As part of an IoT connected technology stack, smart technology can give companies a clear picture of what spaces are being used and when, allowing them to make informed decisions on space utilisation, reducing wastage and cost per square foot. With smart wireless charging, multiple digital charge-points throughout an office — in meeting rooms or on desks — enable employees to check in and out as they move, giving employers the data to make smarter, more efficient decisions. Facilities managers can see real-time reports on which rooms and desks are available and can direct staff towards under-utilised facilities via push notifications and virtual wayfinding.
Businesses will also benefit from invaluable insights on employee behaviour; smart technologies capture data which enables employers to understand their staff and their experiences at work. When it comes to smart wireless charging, charging spots connect via WiFi to the Internet of Things and they are managed remotely at scale. Employee behaviour data, including charging sessions, hyper-location and insight on dwell time are then provided through a dashboard in the cloud platform. Such robust information will transform the employee experience and enable a data-driven culture based on fact rather than assumption, and this new level of business intelligence will be key to driving efficiency.
Through embracing smart workplaces, businesses will see an improvement in productivity too. Integrated IoT management platforms give businesses full control of their network, allowing them to see real-time updates on connectivity. In the case of wireless charging, employers can manage individual smart charging spots remotely including connectivity and power delivered.
Real-time alerts inform on diagnostics detected, with many issues resolved over-the-air using remote tools for debugging and diagnostics management. This type of cloud-based platform reduces operational and maintenance costs and prevents faults from hindering the productivity of employees.
“Businesses can take advantage of smart technology to make their environments more attractive to potential employees”
Having a fully connected workforce at your fingertips will give you the opportunity to shape the world around your needs and demands; increasing productivity and making the working day as seamless as possible.
Prioritise digital transformation
The connected wireless world presents a whole range of opportunities to streamline processes and engage staff. The onus is on businesses to create flexible, smart workspaces which meet staff expectations and in doing so, they can shape an engaged, productive and efficient workforce.
Crucial to this transformation of the workplace is access to power. If you can influence how and when employees get access to power, then you have a chance to influence their connected journey and workplace experience.