Putting Slack in Charge: Smart Solutions for Office Automation

“Wish somebody would drag this place into the 21st century.“ Something managers and supervisors sure have heard on more than one occasion. No surprise at all, as smart living and home automation getting more popular by the day. So, why exclude the workplace? Even more so, when looking at the benefits that come with workplace digitisation, such as energy savings, simplified access control and improved building management,  all of which helps boost staff productivity?
   
And here’s the kicker: no building work, electrical wiring or additional IT hardware required. If you use IoT-enabled equipment and smart services on our platform, office automation boils down to drag and drop and plug and play. Moreover, there’s a thriving community of IoT-savvy Conrad Connect users out there that create and share ready-to-roll project templates. Means, pick what you need, import it and use it. Today, we show you some really clever office automation projects.

smart office

Starting Your Working Day the Smart Way

Get your working day off to a good start long before you arrive at the office. And your home automation system helps you do precisely that. Forget about having to rush or even being late for work, here’s a project that uses smart lighting to firmly remind you when it is time to get out of the door: during the working week, smart bulbs by Ikea or any other compatible brand flash for about thirty seconds at a time you selected.

We’ve all been there. Bright morning sunshine when you leave home for work, only to arrive at the office and seeing all those dark clouds moving in. This project checks the local weather forecast and sends you a text message that tells you to grab an umbrella at the time you leave your place when rain has been forecast for later in the day.

Smart Parking Space and Access Management 

State-of-the-art building management also involves making sure that disabled parking bays are not used by people who don’t hold a blue badge. However, not every business has the time or resources for constantly keeping an eye on these designated spaces.

Don’t worry. Our platform helps you keep unauthorised vehicles off restricted parking spaces. This project tackles illegal parking, using Google Calendar for booking employees or company visitors into specific time slots. Afterwards, you need to set up Netatmo’s IP based Presence CCTV camera that uses AI to detect any car parked in the bay or restricted area outside pre-booked time slots, triggering mart lighting to illuminate a large sign reading “No Parking – Tow Away Zone”. Moreover, you can also use a push message service to call in a tow-truck company if you like.

Linking  Netamo’s Welcome CCTV to smart door locks manufactured by Tapkey or other brands allows you to set up an automated building access control system. Means whenever the camera recognises an employee or other authorised visitors, the doors are unlocked. If the camera doesn’t recognise the person seeking access , building security gets notified by email to check things out.

The benefits: you don’t need to issue physical keys, as keys have the tendency to get lost. And using a camera and lock combination means introducing  another level of authentication, boosting building safety significantly in the process. What’s more, setting up both Netamo and Tapkey products doesn’t require calling in installation specialists – you are perfectly able to do it yourself.

Netatmo Welcome WLAN IP Überwachungskamera
Surveillance systems can also be inconspicuous, as here the Netatmo Welcome WLAN IP surveillance camera, for example, which can be well integrated into their environment because of it's modern design.

Unlock and Climatise Meeting Rooms 

Like main entrances, doors inside a building such as the ones leading to meeting rooms aren’t kept unlocked at all times either. However, nowadays smart technology makes tracking down building staff asking them to unlock the rooms a thing of the past. This Smart Office project uses Google Calendar entries to synchronise room access with meeting dates, thereby taking management productivity levels up a notch or two. And if the diary entry also lists the attendees,  everyone will be able to get into the room using an  Android or iOS phone , or a NFC transponder  card at the time the meeting has been scheduled for. 

Why limit the whole thing to automated room access routines? Room climate control can easily become a part of the set-up. Besides, cosily warm rooms are comfy rooms, and comfy rooms contribute to successful brainstorming and keep people focussed means meetings don’t overrun, Above project automatically turns up the heating prior to the meeting until a preset temperature level has been reached, switching the radiators off again after everyone’s left the room.

Goes without saying that it also works the other way around. This project combines access control with operating the air con, with the Sensibo system starting to cool down the room whenever temperature levels exceed 22 degrees Celsius. If you don’t want to use the built-in Sensibo sensor, this project does the same thing using a Netatmo product. In both cases, room access control is based on Tapkey smart locks.

Smart Workplace Air Conditioning

Just heating the meeting rooms won’t go down well with employees. After all, adequate temperature levels at the workplace affect overall staff productivity levels. This is where smart thermostatic radiator valves come in that keep the room temperature at a preset level.  As soon as the required temperature has been reached, the TRVs automatically shut  off the office radiators. This helps save money and prevents the workspace from getting too hot.  To select the temperature levels for individual working days and hours, use either this or this project.

Office automation helps prevent low air quality at the workplace. This project reduces air humidity during office hours using dehumidifier hooked up to a smart Wi-Fi mains plug. And if the office space is located in an environment polluted by fumes or dust, this one activates an air purifier.

Looking for a project  that incorporates a wide range of different routines? Here is one that covers multiple aspects of office automation, including reminding co-workers to turn down the noise, or to give the place a thorough airing. At the end of the working day, smart lighting alerts everyone if windows aren’t closed properly, and staff are being issued with tomorrow’s weather forecast, to make sure everyone arrives safely and on time in the morning. 

Slack Does the Job

Communication is key. Applies to the workplace as much as to anywhere else. To make sure everyone’s in the loop, these days, many teams use messaging tools, such as Slack. Why Slack? Slack supports a wide variety of office automation routines which comes in handy e.g. when you are really focussing, getting on with your work, hence don’t realise that the air in might get rather stale. Slack connected to a Netatmo CO2 detector reminds you that it’s time to open the windows and let some fresh air in. However, leaving windows open too long during the dark and cold months open means you are wasting energy and money - in which case, Slack tells everyone to close the windows again. And everybody gets the message.

Lüften mit Conrad Connect
Ventilation - especially on cold days - is important for good concentration in the workplace. Image by fizkes - stock.adobe.com

 

Lüften mit Conrad Connect
Also, airing can often prevent high levels of humidity. Image by andrei310 - stock.adobe.com

 

Calling It a Day

And then there’s the time when you’ve fired off the last email of the day, or of the week. You call it a day heading off home, looking for a relaxed evening or a weekend away. And whilst you enjoy your well-earned time out, office automation makes sure that no energy is being used that doesn’t need to be used, and that no unwanted individuals are paying your workplace a nocturnal visit.

For instance, this project switches the office heating off and the alarm system on between Friday 6 pm and Monday 8 am, although you need to ensure no one is planning to stay late or come in over the weekend. This one is a bit more sophisticated, using a occupancy sensor to switch off lights and heating, also closing the blinds in the process. However it does so only if indeed everyone has left the office.

Got more ideas for making you working day more productive and comfy? Why not create your very own project using our intuitive rule editor?