By Stuart Cooke

For many of us, using new technology is something we do on a daily basis in our home lives. We use tablets to catch the news, mobile phones to check social media and even pop a virtual reality headset on to play games. But businesses can be slow to embrace new technology, often lingering on systems and ideas that belong in the last century. So how can you drag your office into the 21st century?

Internet of Things

Ever heard the term ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and wondered what it’s all about? One of the biggest developments in office tech falls under this title and it deals with the new connectivity of everything in the office.

The increasing capacity and speed of broadband and fibre optic Internet connections means that more can be done on every connection. From smart metres to regulate heat and light to printers that order their own refills, anything that has an on/off switch or a replacement component can be connected to the internet and operated through it. Forget to switch off the lights in the office? It won’t matter, as an automated system will control lighting and heating, increasing energy efficiency and reduce utility bills. This is just one example and all the big tech companies are creating new IoT ideas every day.

Using The Cloud

At one time, every office would have a big server on the premises that stored all of the important information, ran the computers in the office and connected to the internet. But the birth of the cloud means that much of this information doesn’t need to be stored on the property and can be accessed through the internet.

Cloud services are particularly beneficial for businesses that have more than one location as it allows the easy collaboration between colleagues based anywhere in the world. It can also save both time and space in the office as well as reducing costly security and servicing requirements.

Video Conferencing

Sending staff to meetings or off to courses can be a thing of the past with the various video conferencing facilities now available. Everyone from Google to Apple to Facebook have created their own video conferencing facilities and allow people anywhere in the world to meet up and discuss issues. Many services are free and, for courses, the video can be downloaded to be reviewed again later.

Smart Virtual Personal Assistants

While not replacing humans, smart virtual personal assistants or SVPAs can help in a range of ways for everyone in the office. Sorting out emails, adding and checking calendars and even organizing the work day, each member of staff could have their own assistant without the need for any additional wages. This can boost efficiency and increase productivity as well as making it easier to connect staff members across the company.

Virtual Reality

Looking a little further ahead, the use of virtual reality in the workplace is almost a guaranteed thing. The new headsets are aimed primarily at gamers but there is a score of work-based uses for the tech. From virtual meetings to design collaborations, the ability to see things in full three-dimensional form can be important for a huge range of businesses.