Mention the Internet of Things (Iot) and there's a good chance people will start thinking of the Smart Home. It's not surprising, because there are some amazing products that are starting to fill that space.
But there's another area that's just as interesting, though it has yet to attract the same level of attention. It's the Smart Office.
Last month, Cisco, a company with a large stake in the IoT, formed a new partnership with AGT International, a security firm. The announcement, which explained how the two companies plan to use analytics and cloud technologies to "dramatically change the way cities are managed and safeguarded," made me think.
The home is smart. The city will soon be smart. Surely, there is room for greater connectivity to improve day-to-day functions in the office.
Most of us are already using some of the connected devices that are common in the office. There are those Internet connected printers that allow you to print to from pretty much anywhere. And that IP phone — the one that takes full advantage of converged voice and data networks — offers a whole range of advanced features, from streaming music to video chatting with coworkers.
But we're still missing smart products that could help us streamline office operations.
One of the projects AGT and Cisco plan to undertake involves bringing Internet connectivity to all the trash bins in an unnamed city in Asia. Why? So sanitation workers can optimize their routes. It would help them avoid sending a crew to empty trash bins that are only half full, effectively saving time, money and resources.
This project reminded me of an office where I once worked. Every Friday night a sensitive documents retrieval team would collect the paper in the bin connected to the shredder, regardless of whether the bin was empty or had been at capacity since Wednesday. Since the bin was secured, there was no way for anyone at the office to know how much paper there was unless the "full" indicator came on.