Make Your Office Smarter with Smart Office Technology

We hear a lot about smart homes, but the time and energy we spend at work why not make your office smart too? It’s a great way to get more done with real convenience. 

We recently put a Google Home in the office, and it’s been pretty cool; using the built-in Google Assistant, the team can get answers instantly to almost any question they ask during meetings or brainstorms. The built-in speaker is actually quite good, so we also use them to play music during the day.  We have a Spotify subscription for it so we have access to millions of songs and playlists. We also have a couple of Chromecasts hooked up to some additional speakers, which allows us to have all of them synced together to play music throughout the office. It’s an effective way to get a distributed sound system at a reasonable coast.

Safety and security are a big concern for my office. We had a break-in a couple of years ago, and several attempted break-ins since then. On top of that, there’s been a lot of false alarms; I live about half an hour away from my work, so it’s always been a pain to make the half hour drive in only to find out that the system detected trees branches blowing outside one of the windows, or that one of my employees didn’t set the alarm properly when they left.

I got a quote to put a camera system in (so I could check things out remotely), but the price was more than I wanted to spend. I picked up a pair of Arlo Pro cameras and it changed my life. Yes, I know that’s a dramatic statement, but these cameras are awesome.

First, they’re completely wireless and connect into your Wi-Fi network with the included base station.  They run on rechargeable batteries that last for months. You can even get an Arlo Solar Panel to keep them continually charged. I love that I don’t have to run wires all over the office. You can literally put these cameras anywhere because of that. Because they’re waterproof, you can put them outside as well.

They have audio and motion detection, 2 way audio, night vision and you can store any video captured in the cloud for free for 7 days (a lot of these types of cameras don’t have a free option for storage). You can get alerts to your phone if they’re triggered and watch the video in real time. If something bad is happening, you can activate the built-in siren to scare away intruders, or curious animals! The Arlo Pro cameras are a must have for any office.  After the first week, I bought another 3 of them to completely cover the office. They’re that good.

I also put in a few TP-Smart Plugs to control a few lamps in the office. It’s super easy to use their app to schedule the lamps to turn on and off during the night to make it look like someone is there. I also have a few of the fans plugged into them for the employees who can never seem to remember to turn them off when they leave.  Because they can be controlled by voice through the Google Home, I can simply tell them to shut off with one voice command when I leave at night. I love that.

For ultimate peace of mind, you can install a Nest Smoke Alarm. Who knew smoke detectors could be so smart? If it detects a fire, or carbon monoxide, you can have it automatically send an alert to your smartphone. It tests itself 400 times a day, knows the difference between steam and smoke and it lasts 10 years. When that day does comes when the battery runs out, it just glows green when the lights are out to let you know.  No crazy chirping! I have one of these in my home as well. I love that I can use my voice to turn it off when I accidentally set it off because I’ve burnt the burgers on the BBQ.

Finally, if I can make strong recommendation, if you are you looking to make your office smarter, pick devices that come from companies you know and that can all work together. There’s lots of “ecosystems”, like Google, Amazon and Apple. When you choose your devices, make sure they work with as many of those as possible for the most flexibility.

By Mike Agerbo

October 11, 2018