Thought Leadership

Connectivity and continuity: addressing the need for smart workplaces

The working office environment may well be transforming. The transition to remote and flexible working has been a gradual process for many over the years, with some business leaders not fully convinced of the productivity and performance levels achievable by employees working from home. Yet all that changed overnight as lockdown measures were enforced by the government to safeguard the population against Covid-19. Businesses were left with two choices – cease operations or support employees to get up and running from home where possible. But as lockdown measures are eased, what will the future working environment look like for office workers? A combination of remote and office-based working will likely be how we work, but what do business leaders need to consider in order to get employees working to their full potential within flexible office setups? Connectivity and collaboration hold the key.

IoT Data – Maximising its Value

Many technology commentators have talked about data as the ‘new oil.’ In the wake of fallout from the current epidemic, data might also come to be viewed as a utility – like electricity, water and broadband; a vital resource essential to shaping, supporting, securing and optimising, all life. Through the rapid growth of IoT deployments, organisations are capturing more data than ever before. But there are still a number of questions around the use of data that need clarity. What is the value in the data? How can it be made available and used effectively to benefit all stakeholders – councils, citizens and businesses? How can it be monetised, if at all? In light of GDPR and the post-Covid-19 landscape, this is a highly topical area. As IoT sensor deployments are expanded in smart cities, utilities, hospitals, schools, agriculture, transport networks and many other places, Nick Sacke, Head of IoT and Products at Comms365, explains that stakeholders need to fully understand how to integrate these new data sources into existing data platforms and get the most value from it.

Underpinning the construction industry with high quality, reliable internet connectivity

The European construction industry is gradually opening back up after months of lockdown following the recent pandemic. As firms face increasing pressure to get back on track and deliver against rising demand, it’s widely recognised that the construction industry has long suffered a reputation for regularly delivering projects later than expected, and often over-budget. Even though the sector is rebounding post-Covid, the industry remains cautious with furloughed staff, redundancies and supply chain disruptions, meaning that firms will need to do a lot more with fewer resources for the foreseeable future. To reduce the further impact of the challenges the industry faces of time and project management, high speed, portable and reliable Internet connectivity can be installed so that the adoption of new technology and smarter processes can happen on site. Tangible benefits for construction firms can at last be delivered by deploying high performance units to provide Internet connectivity from day one at existing and new sites.

Smart Social Housing: How IoT is saving the social housing sector

With the demand for more energy-efficient housing on the rise and the latest government green standard for new build homes already in place, the expectation for more intelligent homes is certainly increasing. In light of this, we predict that in the years to follow, IoT-based property services will be much more agile, responsive and offer a dynamic set of services that are more tailored to tenants’ needs.

Building An Intelligent Workplace

Today, smart buildings are becoming more dynamic and tailored to individual requirements, specifically within the office space. The ability to work remotely from just about anywhere has put pressure on building owners to provide a desirable environment and service. With the traditional set up no longer enough, the workspace is enduring dramatic changes and altering the nature of work and what we once knew as ‘the office’. And with Gartner predicting that the greatest source of competitive advantage for 30% of organisation’s over the next few years will be their ability to creatively exploit the digital workplace, the pressure is on for businesses and building owners alike to invest their time and resources into the latest technologies.

Proof of Concept vs. Production deployments, the case for an Enterprise IoT Model

As the IoT market steadily matures from the early adopter proof of concept to full-scale rollouts, increasing numbers of connected devices are coming online around the world – IDC forecasts that there will be 41.6 billion connected devices by 2025. However, it has become apparent that companies looking to deploy production networks at scale will face challenges that may compromise overall benefits if not addressed. Particularly, for those organisations that are considering trialling their IoT use cases first on public ‘innovation’ networks (due to the ultra low cost), there are a number of vital elements missing in such services, which are standard practice in an enterprise-grade production network design. These elements are fundamental to a futureproof, secure and reliable IoT deployment that can stand up to technical and commercial scrutiny.

Digital Evolution of the Construction Ecosystem

Innovations in digital technology are fostering change and unlocking significant potential improvements in operational processes for the construction industry across the globe. At every level, from the conceptual design all the way through to the physical construction and continued upkeep of the building, new digital devices, applications and methodologies are starting to prove their worth. Yet, IT investment within the construction industry has typically lagged far behind other industries, with less than one per cent of revenues being spent on IT compared to more than four percent being invested by the automotive sector.

Which SD-WAN Model?

While MPLS still dominates the WAN market, no organisation can afford to ignore the speed with which SD-WAN (Software-defined WAN) is gaining traction or the scale of innovation globally. With Gartner currently tracking 60.   SD-WAN vendors – a six fold increase between 2017-2018 – WAN decision making is fast evolving from ‘MPLS versus SD-WAN’ to ‘Which SD-WAN?’.

IoT and Pollution: A breath of fresh air

In light of the recent debate surrounding climate change, the topic of air pollution is increasingly becoming a major concern for many cities around the world. And with research from the World Health Organisation revealing that 91% of the world’s population live in places where air quality exceeds WHO guidelines, cleaning up these pollutants is becoming even more challenging. Although Europe saw a decrease in emissions of air pollutants by more than 2.5% in 2018, concentration still remains high. It is therefore necessary to measure air quality and keep it under control; something the Internet of Things (IoT) is already helping with.

Securing SD-WAN – Beyond the base level

According to research from Global Market Insights, the SD-WAN market will grow at a 60 per cent compound annual growth rate from 2018 to 2025 – demonstrating how the adoption of the technology is rapidly increasing. However, as with the implementation of any new technology, the risks to security must be considered. High levels of security are essential for SD-WAN in particular as in many cases the network is built across public infrastructure, which could potentially leave data exposed and vulnerable to threats.

Making the Business Case to Create a Successful IoT Initiative

Industry analysts are predicting great things for IoT, with research from Statista predicting that the market will increase to $8.9T in 2020, achieving a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19.92%. These statistics are impressive, and show the growth in expectations for scale and ROI that IoT will deliver to businesses. This is compounded by statistics from Vodafone, which fi nd that the number of IoT adopters around the world has more than doubled since 2013, clearly demonstrating that the business case for IoT deployments is gaining momentum.

Are Organisations Truly Capitalising on the Opportunity of IoT?

The growth of the IoT market is impressive, with analysts predicting that the number of connected devices around the world is on track to grow to almost 31 billion by 2025. The increase in the number of connected assets has enabled organisations to amass a significant amount of data which, when used effectively, can add immense value to an organisation by enabling crucial insight in terms of business strategy and generating efficiencies. Additionally, the projected impact of AI and 5G on all sectors will help to unlock additional scale, security and interconnections between all parts of the IoT landscape, amplifying the positive impacts of the technology for all stakeholders. So how will these key elements influence and impact IoT as the technology continues to evolve at breakneck speed?

Construction Connectivity – Getting Back to Basics

Connectivity is a necessity for businesses in virtually every industry and construction is no exception. Crucially, this is still one fundamental hurdle that the industry must overcome if it is to create a solid foundation for all new innovation. Technology that is crucial for the industry to innovate and keep up with demand, cannot function without high speed, portable and reliable internet connection, but gaining access to connectivity can be a challenge for new sites, particularly those that are located in a Green or Brownfield location where there is typically no existing connection. Often, a fixed line is simply not an option and the reliability of 4G is still patchy, even as talk around the possibilities of 5G continue to dominate the headlines.

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