The Smart Office… Future or Fad?

It was during the Chinese New Year Holiday that I personally experimented on turning my flat into a Smart Home. After a day’s work and some online shopping from Amazon prime. I have transformed my living room into a hotbed of technology and things have changed for me ever since.

A simple smart home set-up

Putting all this technology in the Office

Upon returning to work, I immediately got to a meeting with a client who wants some addition and alteration work done to his office premises. After hearing his requirements. I briefly mentioned my home project and would love to be able to integrate all this new smart device to his office. In short, he asked me for a proposal and arranged a meeting after a week.

What makes a Smart Office

“A smart office consists of intelligent technologies that change the way people interact with the office and the surrounding work environment.”

Imagine a workplace designed to improve the overall environment by making offices more energy efficient, more secure, and more comfortable. It also helps companies make better decisions about the spaces that are available to employees. Produce and store data on usage and occupancy that is valuable when determining how to improve the use of existing space or deciding when to scale up or down. Eventually, this makes employees more productive, focused and happy on their workplace.

What are the latest Smart Office Technologies available?

The main component of a Smart office is IoT or Internet of Things. This technology is driven by small pieces of electronic gadgets equipped with motion-detecting sensors using infrared, ultrasonic or microwave to detect occupancy.

Most of the IoT devices are connected to a Hub that controls lighting, HVAC, and security systems. They collect data and communicate with other platforms to analyze and provide insights on office usage, making them an integral component of an office’s smart technology strategy. 

In a nutshell, smart lighting is the primary step to integrating smart technology into the workplace. It reduces a significant amount of energy consumption in the office. LED lighting, control, connectivity, analytics, and intelligence are the key factors in its implementation.

Next is intelligent climate control. Smart HVAC systems intelligently detect usage patterns within the office and automatically regulate temperature accordingly. This increases the system’s efficiency and reduces the carbon footprint while increasing employee comfort by adapting to the required temperature in a given space.

Lastly, smart security systems. This technology is dependent on motion sensors to track intruders and utilize video monitoring that adds a level of security to the office. It also helps facilities managers and administrators collect data to analyze how offices spaces are being utilized.

Smart Meeting Rooms & Desk

Besides all this smart office technology being hard-wired to a hub that is interconnected to the building utility system. There are are also easy to implement technology that thrives on the cloud. A meeting management software that can be connected to the company server. Employees can find and book a room, phone booth, meeting pods or hot-desk in just a few clicks. A meeting management system also handles reservations and alerts meeting attendees and administrators of any changes in time, location, or cancellations. Like any other smart device, it can track and analyze and record usage data.
As for the smart desk. It offers sitting or standing desk options and remember each user’s preferences. Each desk’s analytics break down users’ sitting and standing data it also allows the user to set timers for different positions to be able to stay active while at work to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

Proposing the smart office transition to a client

After going through a week of research, visiting potential smart office suppliers and testing out new products. It’s amazing by how we can improve our working lives with the latest technology available. My meeting with the client went well. Thou I was not able to convince them to fully embrace the idea mainly because of the investment involved. At least I was able to drive them to try the meeting management system and smart desk.

While I was on my way home, I was contemplating whether the smart office is just a fad or is it really the future?

In my mind, no doubt its the future and I will be driving our company to embrace this change and make this our competitive advantage.

From this point onward every client we meet will know about what you just read and more.

James Paul Pilande, ARID Builders Pte. Ltd.

Some of the excerpts of this blog are from the article; The Most Important Features for Your Smart Office in 2019 by Allan Morch

Share your comments and like the article so more people will read and learn from this topic. You may want to read this related article: How to be a Mobile Designer

Has China made office furniture improved?

I just landed at Terminal two of Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport just in time for the 43rd CIFF (China International Furniture Fair). Phase-2 which is mostly for commercial furniture exhibitors. The first thing I noticed was this shiny new hi-tech terminal with face recognition capabilities and lots of smart technology integrated around the airport. This has to be good, China has come a long way since my last trip to the country 12 years ago.

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

Huge Marketplace

Upon arriving on the exhibition grounds, I find myself in a maze of stalls, space, and people. Honestly, I am lost and don’t know where to start. Much has changed since my last trip and the crowd is enormous. It’s like the whole of Asia converged in one place looking for the best bargain to trade into their home countries.

43rd CIFF (China International Furniture Fair)

After getting a map, I was able to find my way. Day one is basically just a meet and greet with some of my old friends and past suppliers. We hang out for an early dim sum nearby and talked about how things have changed over the years. As most of us would do, we tend to relax and take it easy on the first day. To focus and have more energy for the next day.

Continue reading “Has China made office furniture improved?”

Peace and Privacy in a Pod

It was the start of the week and I received a call from a client complaining about noise pollution in their office. Their workplace happens to be an open planned office with an integrated trading and operations center in one common space. Their principal from the US will be coming in a months time and this issue must be resolved as soon as possible.

Possible Solutions

We quickly rushed for the meeting and brainstormed solutions that can be done within a three-week timeline. Re-arranging the tables to isolate high noise generating areas is one, providing more glass and drywall partitions is another and finding another office space with a bigger floor plate to separate the departments are put on consideration.

None of this seems to work given the schedule as well as cost implication and disruption to its operations. Similarly, the management insists to keep the space open for natural lighting and flexibility of movement.

The S-Pod
A newly installed S-pod

Continue reading “Peace and Privacy in a Pod”

Whimsical Evening for Interior Designers in Singapore

It was a Friday night, time to spend a whimsical evening with the top interior designers in Singapore. The place, Marriott at South Beach Tower. The epicenter of the Singapore Interior Design Awards. Where the best of the region are given credit for their creativity, passion and work as Designers.

SIDA Gala 2019

Society of Interior Designers Singapore

The event is yearly organized by the Society of Interior Designers Singapore (SIDS)started in 1994 and is one of the oldest professional society to represent the Interior designers & interior design industry as a whole. As a non-profit organization that serves the interior design industry at a national level, the council headed by its President Mr. Keat Ong, sets stringent tasks to raise and uphold the professional standards and reputation of the Interior Design profession in the country.

Society of Interior Designers Singapore, Council Members

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Sharing my experience in a Singapore office design firm

The Office Designer Design Fees2

Expectation Vs Reality

When one is straight out of college, starting a job is an overwhelming experience. Working in a professional environment, living up to the expectations of your superiors and the underlying pressure to prove oneself can be a lot to juggle. When I started my trainee program. I was afraid to make decisions or give opinions as I continued to have a college student perspective.

First few days at work involved familiarizing myself with the project and the office workflow. I knew it was not going to be easy since this was the first time I was working on a real-life project. However, with the right mentoring and progressive guidance. I gradually managed to get the hang of things and understood the way they worked. When communication is clear and you know exactly what to do, tasks can be executed efficiently and delivered within deadlines.

Continue reading “Sharing my experience in a Singapore office design firm”

A complete workplace solution at the outskirts of Singapore

A client has approached me with a piece of ergonomic furniture that she liked and preferred for their office fit-out. The image provided to us has no clue of the brand and source of the piece of furniture. As we are searching for the product on the internet we came across a company located on the outskirts of Singapore.

Finding the right company

After driving almost an hour from our office in the Central Business District. I was surprised to see one of the widest collection of ergonomic and contemporary office furniture tucked away on a two-story showroom in Woodlands. The name of the company, Exsto Asia Pte Ltd.

The Office Designer_Exsto1

Looking around their showroom, We found what we are looking for. It was actually an Ergotron work fit product that our client has confirmed. We found more interesting products from this company. We had a good feeling that they will be one of our regular supplier for our future ergonomic requirements. Continue reading “A complete workplace solution at the outskirts of Singapore”