It’s been many years since my workday revolved around the telephone. I remember the birth of SMS, email and IM, and listened with a little scepticism to the often lauded imminent arrival of “the connected office”. It seems that 2018 was the year it eventually arrived to the masses.
I’m not for one second saying that we all have it, but it seems that 2017/18 saw the ubiquitous availability of WiFi and 4G – from the Wetherspoons in the high street to my local barbers. The availability of ‘always on’ Internet access really underpins and defines how the connected office can (and should) function.
I’m writing this sitting in my home office above the garage with 50Mb broadband, Skype-for-business and enterprise email available not only to my PC, but also my laptop, tablet and smartphone.
So three cheers for BT who have managed to roll out FTTC (and even FTTP) out to the Essex marshes!
So where does IoT come into it?
At it’s purest, IoT deals with low-power, low-bandwidth sensors or devices putting out simple messages and alerts. This could be a temperature sensor, a door switch or even an SNMP trap alert from your WiFi-enabled inkjet in the corner.
But another aspect of this is the way in which employees are always-connected to the business.
Traditionally this was through telephone calls, faxes and latterly email, but with the advert of flexible working, could now include VPN, RFID access cards, Instant messaging, Jabber, VoIP, Web Conference, Video Conference etc.
But there are also a huge number of systems utilised by the workforce that are not necessarily Internet-connected, or if they are, are using a propitiatory reporting interface or data format.
The question we’ve asked ourselves is “How do you measure staff performance when they are using a dozen unconnected systems.” – If you can only see 10% of the picture, how can you make acurate business decisions?
Bring it all into one place
UCentric was born of this idea – that all data sources should be able to be aggregated, normalised and reported on centrally. It should be capable of talking to “the bare metal” of any legacy system, whilst using high-level API’s available in modern internet-connected platforms.