IoT and the Safe Return to the Office

 Dec 18, 2020   |    Black Box

Technology That Protects People

The office as we know it is gone. We will return, eventually, but it will be a different environment the one we left in March 2020. People really do want to go back to the office — when it’s ready. In the post-pandemic world, it’s estimated that 80-85% of workers will return to the office.1 But it won’t be business as usual.

COVID is accelerating change in the workplace. The key is to prepare your work ecosystem for the safe return of employees. In fact, 92% of executives said COVID-19 forced their company to rethink how work gets done.2 That’s why organizations in all industries such as healthcare, education, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality, are looking to adopt strategies and technologies that enable a safe return to in-house operations. One of those strategies is to embrace smart office technologies that will take your workplace into the future while protecting the health of employees now.

The Time to Act is Now

Give IoT a critical role to play in protecting people. Take action now, while employees are still working from home, to deploy IoT and other smart in-building technologies. You’ll be able to get the system(s) fully deployed and operational with little or no disruption to building occupants. You'll also be able to show workers and guests that you are doing everything you can to keep them safe when they do return to the office.

Why You Need a Global Solution Integrator

If you’re thinking about deploying IoT devices, such as contactless temperature kiosks, occupancy sensors, and air quality systems, there are several fundamentals you need to consider.

One key component to the successful deployment of IoT devices is the ability to easily integrate with existing network and security systems and to be remotely managed.

Wired and wireless connectivity is also key depending on where you need to implement devices. If you are deploying contactless entry/thermal sensors at all building entrances, you may only have electrical connections and no network connections. With a wireless option, you can deploy IoT almost anywhere.

How to Manage Rapid Deployments

Because we are all racing to implement smart, safety technology, this is not necessarily the time for a DIY deployment. You may want to consider enlisting the support of a Global Solution Integrator, such as Black Box, so you don’t have to worry about network integration, connectivity, testing, and validation. This is especially true if you are part of a large, dispersed enterprise, such as healthcare or education, and will have multiple IoT deployments at each site and have few remote IT resources.

“Not only can Black Box provide the highest quality implementation services at your primary sites,” said Charlie Martin, Black Box, Vice President Solution Delivery, Strategic Accounts. “But we can scale to implement our solutions at our customers’ locations, large and small, around the globe.”

Step-by-Step Quality Assurance

Let’s take a look at the steps involved in a multisite deployment with an integrator to ensure you get professional, timely installation(s). These steps reflect best practices and are what you should expect of any vendor, not just Black Box. We follow an exacting Design, Deploy, Prepare, Validation, and Transition methodology to ensure you get predictable results from site to site, quality in the step-by-step technology processes, and value with the right technicians for the project.

Step 1: Plan
In the initial stage, the overall project structure is defined. This is a key differentiator. Every step of the project is planned and all processes are laid out ahead of time.

Step 2: Design
This includes a thorough on-site assessment of what infrastructure is in place and what is needed including wired/wireless networks, hardware/software, and existing applications, such as access control. The result is a detailed project blueprint with step-by-step processes that can be duplicated by technicians anywhere in the world.

Step 3: Deploy
This phase includes executing the defined activities to move into production. This phase may also include the deployment of a pilot site and testing.

Step 4: Prepare
Here, the key overall and per-site deliverables are prepared.

Step 5: Validation
This step confirms the solution is operating to the client’s satisfaction.

Step 6: Transition
This is the last stage and involves key hand-offs to support, maintain, and complete the project. Depending on the client’s IT resources, Black Box may also be recruited to maintain and manage the system.

The First Step in IoT: Entryway Contactless Temperature Screening

Ready to take the first step into making your building safer? Consider this first. One of the best, and increasingly common ways, to alleviate health concerns is to start at the door and deploy contactless temperature screening kiosks, such as the BDS-8 [link] from Black Box Technical Products. When someone enters a building, the kiosk’s advanced thermal detection technology automatically scans the person’s temperature in less than a second with an accuracy of ±0.5°. The accuracy of the temperature scan is critical. A deviation of 2° can give sick people entry to the building. In addition, the kiosk’s facial scanning capabilities can help you enforce mask-wearing, prevent strangers from entering the building, and very importantly, be used for contact tracing.

“People everywhere are working diligently to return to normalcy,” said Jonathan McCune, Black Box AV Product Director. “However, in order to return to the status quo, IT leaders need to take precautions to alleviate COVID-19 concerns. The BDS-8 is one tool that can help businesses return to operation safely and effectively.”

If you’re ready to get your building prepared for the return of the workforce, contact us at 855-324-9909 or email us at contact@blackbox.com.  Detailed information on the BDS-8 Contactless Temperature Screening kiosk can be found here.

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1. Harry Smeenk, “Unified Buildings Key to Post-Pandemic Return to Commercial Property,” Connected Buildings Mag, October 29, 2020, https://connectedremag.com/smart-buildings/proptech/unified-buildings-key-to-post-pandemic-return-to-commercial-property/ 

2. Wright, Dave, Workflow, "The new age of innovation", October 7, 2020, https://workflow.servicenow.com/it-transformation/new-age-of-innovation-priorities-post-covid-world-of-work/

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