The Amazon device strategy to power your smart office
From humble beginnings as an e-bookstore, Amazon has become a business force to be reckoned with, including devices, e-commerce, logistics, plus a host of other hardware and software interests have made the Seattle corporation one of the biggest entities on the planet.
The popularity of the company’s annual Prime Day event in July has become so ubiquitous that the announcement of Amazon having another on October 11 and 12, this time dubbed the Prime Early Access Sale, immediately sent its share prices soaring. Once again, the event should feature massive markdowns across product ranges, although what is actually on sale won’t be known until the day of the event. But as the Yahoo Life shopping guide puts it, “… if history repeats itself, and we suspect it will, some of the best deals will be on Amazon Devices.”
Some industry watchers are expecting a drawn-out holiday spending season this year, due to unpredictable macroeconomic forces such as those that have led to the present fuel and energy shortages, for example. While consumers stretch their spending further, many workplaces are welcoming back staff from extended remote working stints, while other workers are still shuttling back and forth to the office as part of a hybrid working arrangement.
Is Your Office Smarter Than You Are?
In the time employees have been away over the past two years, buildings and individual premises have been investing in innovative enhancements, and not just to provide fuller health support in the aftermath of the pandemic, such as motion sensor-activated air purifiers, smart thermostats automated to trigger the air conditioning or heat at the right temperatures, and so forth. Just like smart homes, smart buildings are becoming a reality, kitted out with things like: biometric identification scanners; Internet of Things (IoT) sensors for remotely controlling appliances like lights, and even predicting maintenance times; remote monitoring of equipment and staff with smart cameras; not to mention all the connected functions integrated over a centralized, intelligent system that can be centrally observed by security, maintenance, and other stakeholders.
These intelligent systems can even collect data from various sensors and integrated features to be studied later, in order to optimize systems and operational processes for peak performance and efficiency – they could not only lead to cost savings by virtue of expending less resources, but also contribute towards a better ESG footprint, helping to aid in the conservation of energy and water, and reduce wastage.
Amazon devices like the Echo Link, Fire TV, Echo Glow, Echo Frames audio glasses and a bunch of doorbell, lighting and security gear are obviously marketed towards the smart home market that started really taking off during the stay-at-home months (to the tune of earning US$246.50m in projected revenue by the of 2022. Amazon has been preparing for its smart home hardware push for years now, building up its device ecosystem to be complementary and interoperable.
But what makes some of these Amazon devices great for the home could also be great for the workplace. And in some cases, they might make better sense in the smart office building. Here are three such examples, which might be worth your HR or procurement departments deploying in the workspace (especially if there are pre-existing Amazon ecosystem devices already in use):
Amazon Smart Plug
The Amazon Smart Plug turns any wall socket into an extension of Alexa’s voice controls (naturally, you must already have the Alexa virtual assistant in play). For when things get busy, or when there is no one in the office to do the deeds, the Amazon Smart Plug is the stress-free scheduler for electronic devices in the office such as lights, fans, and the coffee maker.
It has a pain-free setup process, and does not require a smart home hub to be connected to start setting up schedules, which means less investment necessary for a tool that can now work throughout the office, and can be activated remotely by just using the Alexa app. What’s more, it can help meet your organization’s ESG goals by giving you energy-saving tips and an approximate picture of your light consumption via the Alexa energy dashboard.
Echo Show smart displays
The 2nd-generation Echo Show 5 released last year comes with a 5-inch display that can check the user’s calendar, set alarms and timers, and, as well as streaming audio-video content, it can make video calls – making it an ideal inter-departmental alternative for office devices that can double as both organizer and Amazon communication and collaboration platform.
The latest-gen Echo Show 10 comes with a 10.1″ HD screen and a 13-megapixel camera with auto-framing and motion control built-in, and can pair with both Amazon Photos and Alexa. Unlike some of the other devices, Amazon Prime members even get unlimited image storage, so its almost like another Dropbox.
And usefully, if there are multiple Echo Shows in different rooms and departments around the office, admins can remotely (and securely, according to Amazon) access the built-in camera to monitor the spaces, either from other Echo Shows or from the Alexa smartphone app.
Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor & Smart Soap Dispenser
These are two separate products that also help to address health and safety concerns that are more prevalent post-COVID. The airborne nature of many viral strains is what makes the Smart Air Quality Monitor a good option for the workplace, as it’s able to track and measure five metrics, including volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, humidity, and temperature.
With safety concerns a big factor in coming back to crowded office environments, the Smart Air Quality Monitor works with Alexa so that air quality can be monitored in the Alexa app, and there is also a color-coded LED on the device itself. Activating Amazon Routines will put all your Alexa-connected devices in sync, so when the indoor air quality changes, the other devices like air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and fans can be remotely turned on and off, as the situation requires.
Similarly, the Smart Soap Dispenser seems perfect for an office restroom, with a light-up 20-second timer that keeps track of how long you have soaped up, to be compliant with CDC-recommended minimum lathering time. The battery does not need to be charged again for three months, it has an adjustable distance nozzle, and best of all, if there is a compatible Echo device on hand, an Alexa Routine can be easily configured so that as you wash your hands, the Dispenser will play songs or even tell jokes. Precision-guided soap and a joke – what a time to be alive!
30 November 2023