Smart Digital Workplace: Flexible, Connected, and Here Sooner Than You Think

March 27, 2018 • Blog Post • Kitty Chow and Aviviere Telang


  • By turning to digital and smart workplaces, the enterprise can cut down on operating costs and improve team efficiency
  • HPE Pointnext and Aruba are teaming up to power the future of the workplace

The HPE Pointnext team shares the latest developments in intelligent spaces

What if your workspace knew you? Not in a creepy knows-all-your secrets sort of way but as a partner, a trusted and entirely visible (and digital) friend that knows to set the lights, temperature, ambient noise level, and even the chair incline for maximum productivity. That’s a key feature of the smart digital workplace of the future, and it’s coming sooner than you think.


Look at the data. A recent survey from commercial real estate broker JLL found the total square footage for flexible workspaces—offices designed to allow workers to vary their work environment at will—is up 22 percent over the past seven years. Square footage for traditional offices is up just 1 percent over the same period. By 2030, the broker says, 30 percent of all commercial workspace will be flexible. At least as many will be connected.


According to Deloitte, workplaces that provide tools that improve collaboration for activity-based work are simply more productive. For example, companies with strong internal social networks are 7% more productive. More broadly, Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report found that, overall, companies that embrace digital workplaces tend to be 21% more profitable.

Clearly the workplace is about to get more flexible and more digital. What’s missing is the convergence. Some of today’s forward-thinking workplaces are highly flexible but not as connected as they could be. Others are remarkably connected but are built in the rigid style of the “cubicle farms” of the 1970s. The smart digital workplace of the future will seamlessly integrate both approaches to unleash new levels of creativity and productivity.


A Mobile-First Future

To improve the way we work and connect in the smart digital workplace of the future, Aruba recently introduced a significant enhancement to its Mobile First Architecture: analytics with NetInsight.


Powered by machine learning, NetInsight gathers and then automatically acts to relieve bottlenecks and improve workplace network performance. And that’s crucial: there’s no point in enabling, say, smart lighting if the IoT network connecting a building management system is clogged. NetInsight clears the way by ensuring everything is connected as it’s supposed to be.


The Smart Digital Workplace of Tomorrow, Here Today

While there’s still plenty to do in order to enable the smart digital workplace, at HPE Pointnext we’re getting closer by working hand-in-glove with the Aruba team to put the Mobile First Architecture to work for clients.

Advanced connectivity is where the smart digital workplace begins. To take it further and free talent to work their best, we’ve found companies need a layer of additional capabilities that provide secure and pervasive access for employees and guests to perform activity-based work anywhere, anytime, from any device.


We’ve developed a unique offering called Intelligent Spaces in which we’re constantly rethinking how to blend physical workspace with digital tools. This isn’t just about good videoconferencing or automatic logins for accredited visitors when they enter a meeting room.


A truly intelligent space—the sorts of spaces we’re designing for clients around the world, right now—is responsive. Whether it’s scheduling work areas in a dynamic workspaces, finding a colleague, or booking a meeting space in real-time and then providing turn-by-turn directions as you walk, Intelligent Spaces use the IoT, software, and fast and highly secure connectivity to put workers in a posture of maximum productivity.


Finally, intelligent spaces evolve by collecting, analyzing, and acting on analytics from tools such as NetInsight. At Pointnext, we build analytics into every Intelligent Spaces engagement so clients have the data to evolve their spaces as their workforces change—dynamically, and in real time.


Looking to the Future

So what’s next? Even tighter integration between building management systems, meeting rooms, and single-desk office spaces. Automatic logins and software delivery upon entering a new space so that workers are never left wasting time downloading the latest patch. Rapid and continuous optimization of the underlying network to ensure the entire workspace is covered and that the underlying services that provide smart lighting and smart water and even the smart furniture are all operating at peak efficiency.


Today we’re unveiling four new services to help bring this future about:


HPE Optimization Sessions for Microsoft 365. On-site workshop sessions every eight weeks to keep your infrastructure employees working at peak levels with the de facto workplace productivity platform for the digital enterprise.


HPE Network Health Check Subscription Service. A thorough review, analysis, and assessment of a representative sample of network devices on your LAN, WLAN, and WAN networks in a data center or campus network to spot bottlenecks and provide a plan to relieve them.


Aruba ClearPass Optimization Subscription Service. Provides access to Aruba Mobile First technology experts to optimize wireless infrastructure with security features for communicating in a wide range of locations to deliver business apps wherever people work.


HPE Identity And Access Management (HPE IAM). Experts diagnose the full solution lifecycle (advise, assess, design, deploy, and operation handover) so it’s clear what your organization and users will need when migrating or leveraging productivity solutions in Microsoft’s cloud.


HPE Pointnext continues to take steps forward to a bigger future in which building management systems are enhanced with cloud-based connection points, pulling data and analytics in real time, making the whole office smarter.


At that level, it becomes possible to understand the exact utilization of a single meeting room. How often is it idle? How much energy and heat is needed when it’s occupied? Precision data can allow for fully optimizing how and when these rooms get “lit up” for use, preserving capital and protecting the environment.


When will we get to this point? That’s tougher to say, but with so much already underway—and a growing number of Intelligent Spaces already in place around the world—the smart digital workplace is coming much sooner than you might think.


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