Monday, 6 Apr 2020


To the layperson, smart solutions can best be described as the integration of smart, connected products and systems. 

To simplify the concept even further, we can imagine a smart system, or a multitude of interconnected systems that talk to each other, that detect, automate, adjust and control, through the exchange of large amounts of data which are then analysed and further help in decision-making. 

There are smart cities planned for the future, which, if predictions come true, could account for almost three-quarters of urban life by the year 2050 as people increasingly choose to live in cities.

For example, a smart building can be fitted with smart solutions, using technology to help detect, control and adjust elements such as lighting, temperature and security.

Companies such as Siemens have positioned themselves as smart solutions providers while tech titans such as Microsoft have begun to undertake renovation of its offices in cities such as Amsterdam to behave in smart fashion using data.

Could your business use a smart solution?

Smart solutions are not restricted to cities and buildings; they have been incorporated into infrastructure, transportation – cars, planes, buses -- home products, hospitality and retail. 

There is a myriad of uses in business operations for these intelligent systems.

For instance, smart solutions can be realised in a smart metering (automatic meter reading) system for water use, for example. 

The benefits of this smart system include real-time visualisation via a portal and an app, timely billing issuance and insight reports and analysis on water usage. Essentially, a smart system such as this can ease daily operations and reduce operating expenditure.

Another instance is a smart fleet management system designed by providers such as Celcom that allows proactive maintenance alongside asset tracking and utilisation and vehicle health reports; these benefits spell efficiencies for many organisations.

The impact on your teams

Smart solutions are the way forward for business, but we also look at how it impacts – and transforms – the growing movement of remote and agile workers. 

Workers are what power businesses large and small, and thus, we explore the impact of smart solutions. 

For a business leader, what does it actually mean to ‘go smart’ and embrace smart solutions so as to keep your workforce motivated?

Energy-efficient? That’s only part of the benefit

The value of smart buildings to business leaders goes beyond mitigating real estate costs, investment or even a reduction in energy bills.

Smart buildings can generate savings for business owners, who are anxious over the rising cost of building leases, office space or utility usage, through reduced energy bills and maintenance costs. 

At its most basic definition, a smart building is a building fitted with intelligent systems which can undertake many operations functions in automatic fashion (security, lighting, etc.) and adapt them to users’ needs.

Redesigning the way we work

More importantly, recent reports increasingly point to how smart buildings have a practical and valuable impact on productivity, engagement and the well-being of mobile and remote work teams.

Smart buildings – one of the most prevalent and overt ways in which smart solutions are becoming the norm in daily business life – can and do redesign the way we work.

They also generate a lot of data, a point we will explore in detail later.

Connecting the human and the building

Smart buildings are touted as resolutions and answers to everyday and sporadic challenges. For example, some mobile or remote workers say it is easier to order from a restaurant from across town than it is to grumble about a printer in the building that isn’t functioning as it should. A smart building solution would have provided a solution to this minor challenge, but the fact remains that such smart building solutions can be found from providers such as Celcom.

Increased mobility and the rise of technology allows workers to work away from desks, resulting in many unoccupied desks for companies that have long leases in buildings. This is not an ideal utilisation scenario for any business owner looking to mitigate fixed costs.

Smart buildings do help to improve space utilisation, but they also help mobile workforces with much more.

The mobile workplace

Recent times have seen a marked increase in workplace mobility – fewer and fewer people work at the same desk or even in the same building every day.

The fact is, flexible and remote working is becoming the norm.

There are both physical and mobile solutions that enable and support growing numbers of remote and mobile workers, such as Microsoft 365 Business, designed to help owners and operators of small and medium-sized enterprises and their workforces to work seamlessly and smoothly even if each member of the team is scattered across multiple locations.

Such software solutions go beyond merely allowing workers to work off-site. It also equips the business with the assurance of device management and device security, two issues which business owners grapple with when their teams use differing, individual devices.

Solutions such as Microsoft 365 also gives the ultimate freedom of mobility, as multiple devices are compatible with usage integration of such software. Simply put, you can use it on any device - desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone -- and this gives your teams more mobility to work on the go.

Additionally, the development of smart solutions for smart buildings is borne out of the recognition that some teams do prefer to work remotely, other than needing to for other reasons, such as government orders restricting workplace attendance. 

Smart solutions were developed in recognition of the fact that people are increasingly working collaboratively in teams rather than sitting in their departments and attending a multitude of meetings, a process that some say is slow and outdated.

Changing attitudes towards traditional working methods, in combination with the climbing cost of real estate, presents a challenge to business leaders everywhere as to how to reduce real estate costs while keeping their teams engaged, motivated, and most importantly, productive. 

Smart buildings enable workers to boost their creativity and productivity through new ways of working.

The workplace is now becoming a personalised workplace for the remote worker, with some help from smart solutions.

Harnessing smart technology for agile workforces

Among the many iterations of smart solutions are smart city, smart building, smart retail and smart utility solutions.

These solutions enhance the customer experience journey tremendously. This means remote and mobile workers enjoy these benefits, too, easing many aspects of their mobility, reducing daily, minor challenges as they work remotely.

For example, smart city solutions can include a smart parking system which consists of real-time information exchange over an IoT-enabled network. A smart and connected parking ecosystem connects the parking providers, motorists, municipalities and technology to bridge the information gap on a real-time basis.

Celcom’s network, for instance, is equipped with such smart solutions, as is the plethora of Celcom’s suites of smart business solutions.

When remote workers experience a more efficient parking system, for example, they are unhindered in their mobile work choice.

Smart solutions and buckets of data

When smart systems are in play, there is much useful data being generated. Useful data can be harvested from the integration of these siloed systems to make a smart building more productive and efficient for its users, including remote, mobile work teams.

When remote, mobile work teams have the space, privacy and most importantly, the tools at hand to accomplish the tasks ahead of them, organisations benefit.

Business can become mobile

While this is not an exhaustive look at the entire realm of smart solutions, the fact remains that businesses are looking to integrate smart solutions for greater productivity, greater efficiency and lowered fixed costs.

Part of this equation is the evolution and the growth of a mobile, remote workforce or remote work teams. These workers and teams stand to gain just as much from smart solutions becoming a reality, as much as businesses stand to gain. 

Reach out to expert and professional providers such as Celcom Business to know more about how smart solutions can help your business, and how technology-based solutions can help keep your remote teams productive and engaged.

The future of work has been redefined, and we have technology to thank.

Check out Celcom Productivity Suite for more information about the product.