2021 - Making the smart normal
Well I don’t think many of us will look back at 2021 as a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but there were enough bright sparks to think 2022 could be if the pandemic allows.
We headed into 2021 at Scenariio in our new 30,000 sq ft showhome for smart technology at The Chocolate Factory, alongside Bustler Market, ready to embrace the unknown, wondering whether businesses would be in consolidation mode, or seeking to renovate, refurbish or rejuvenate their real estate.
Looking back, it was probably a mixture of the three.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has made this a tricky year, going in and out of lockdown, having to respond to legislation quickly and the advent of testing and vaccines proving its own challenge too.
However, the supposed push to pure home working failing to materialise has also presented opportunities.
Business owners had the chance to reflect and recognise that in order to bring their employees back to work, they need to provide a safe, effective and welcoming environment focussed on wellbeing and sustainability. First and foremost from our perspective, that means making sure that networks and IT infrastructure are operating effectively. It has been noticeable that many of our clients have taken the opportunity of empty workplaces to update and refresh their infrastructure.
As the core element of our business, it’s been great to see businesses taking their IT infrastructure seriously and putting the tools in place to enable their workforce to be as effective as possible.
The other side of the coin focusses on smart building technology. The pandemic has given businesses a once in a generation opportunity to assess their workplace and look at how to make it better. For some it might mean a lick of paint and a desk reorganisation.
However, many businesses have recognised the importance of focussing on their people. Without a workforce, a business cannot function, and the creativity, buzz and collaboration created by working next to people simply can’t be replicated by the work from home experience. We have seen a seismic shift towards hybrid working, allowing workforces to have the best of both worlds. Businesses will have to give them the knowledge to know when it is safe or the right time to go into their offices.
And so, 2021 has seen more and more businesses wake up to the benefits of smart technology. Whether it is used for building access, lighting, connectivity, security or building management, it is designed to improve efficiency, performance and wellbeing of staff, whilst driving down energy, operational and people costs for the business.
We have never seen as much interest as we’ve had this year, and as we move into 2022, we are excited to see these discussions come to fruition.
2021 may end up being a year we try to forget for many reasons, but it may be the one that welcomes the future of smart building technology. Our new home has been a fantastic success, acting as a testing and proving ground for new technology and we look forward to welcoming more of you to it as we move into 2022.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.