Smart homes with self-locking doors, voice-controlled dishwashers, and refrigerators that tell you when to go shopping are old news.
You may have some 'mart' features in your own home.
Is your office as bright as your home, though? As your business transitions back to in-person working, here are some ways to make your work environment 'smarter'—safer, more efficient, and more enjoyable.
A smart thermostat
As winter approaches, you and your coworkers will want to ensure that the heating is on when people are working in the office.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many workplaces operate on flexible hours, with employees working partly in the office and partly from home. Add in the possibility of a last-minute lockdown, and you'll have a nightmare setting the thermostat correctly.
Enter the smart thermostat: a new heating system that can be controlled remotely via a smartphone. Some smart thermostats can adjust the temperature automatically, depending on the weather!
Installing a smart thermostat will likely help you save money, energy, and headaches—no more wasting resources on heating up an empty office because of last-minute changes to the schedule!
A smart doorbell
This is also significant in light of the trend towards hybrid, flexible working, which leaves workplaces empty for extended periods than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
While many statistics show that most non-violent crimes have been decreasing in numbers since the start of the pandemic,
some retail establishments—such as bike shops—have reported higher numbers of break-ins since March 2020, presumably because the stores were left empty and unguarded during the lockdown.
If you are worried about someone breaking into your store or office, a smart doorbell might be just the thing for you.
Smart doorbells have video cameras that can both Livestream and record what is going on at the door and allow you to talk to the person on your doorstep via your smartphone, wherever you are.
Some models even feature a piece of software that allows them to recognize the difference between a person's shape and something else's shape and alert you when someone is at your door but doesn't ring the doorbell.
As well as helping you prevent break-ins, an intelligent doorbell would be a handy way to speak to those delivering parcels to your place of work when you're not there, ensuring that your deliveries end up exactly where you want them to.
A smart speaker
You already know all about smart speakers, the handy ever-listening devices that answer all your questions and allow you to text friends, order pizza, and set timers without lifting a finger.
Smart speakers are so popular that the name Alexa—the command used to engage Amazon's EchoDot smart speakers—has now become synonymous with 'servant,' according to several concerned parents of children named Alexa.
Until now, the use of smart speakers in businesses has been mainly limited to playing music or checking the occasional information.
However, this kind of usage only scratches the surface of the range of practical tasks that a smart speaker could perform for your business,
such as reminding employees of upcoming appointments, tracking the progress of your employees' tasks, managing inventories, or organizing travel itineraries. Smart speakers could also be a helpful way of keeping your team connected regardless of whether they are working from the office or home.
With voice commands becoming more accessible and reliable, a smart speaker might be the perfect productivity-boosting gadget to spend your Kohls's coupons on.
A bright smoke and carbon monoxide alarm
When you are a business owner, there are few things more terrifying than the prospect of your store or office building going up in flames while you, blissfully unaware of what's happening, are enjoying your downtime in another part of town.
With a smart smoke alarm, you will never face this fear again. Smart smoke detectors will alert you via an app on your smartphone if smoke has been detected in your building, and some models will even do the same for carbon monoxide releases.
If the device is battery-powered, it will also alert you when the batteries are running low, although you can buy mains-powered models too.
A smart plug
The great thing about smart plugs is that they will turn many regular gadgets into 'smart' ones. Plug your office coffee machine into a smart plug, for example, and you can tell the plug to turn itself—and, therefore, the coffee maker—on just when you usually get into the office.
If you'll be delayed because of traffic, no worries—open the relevant app on your phone and change the scheduled switch-on time. Smart plugs are also an excellent way to save energy and money, as you can program them to turn themselves off after a specific time.
Therefore, if your phone's battery takes around an hour to reach full charge, you can tell your smart plug to turn itself off after that time. This will also help keep your electronics in good health!