Whilst the office landscape may be looking somewhat different at the moment, whether within the workplace or the home, safety and productivity remain at the forefront of the minds of business owners and facilities managers. Technological Innovations Group (TIG) have added Embrava technologies to its portfolio of solutions to assist companies in implementing smarter workspaces in order to positively affect workplaces of the present and the future.
We spoke with Steven Dullaert, Sales Director at TIG, to introduce us to the benefits of the Embrava range via a Q&A. To find out a little bit more about how the integration of technology can be so useful as we all adapt to our new surroundings in the face of the current pandemic. Steven highlights how Embrava can ensure companies continue to increase productivity and connectivity going forward by creating smarter workplaces.
Steven, first introduce us to TIG as a company and their main objectives?
TIG evolved out of Future Vision Marketing, founded in 1987 to represent various leading US Audio Visual manufacturers in Europe, one of which is Crestron. Today TIG or Technological Innovations Group represents brands at the forefront of leading-edge technology development and specializes in engaging customers across all verticals including integrators, resellers, specifiers and leading design agencies. Our name might have changed in 2019, but our philosophy is still the same: to push the boundaries of technological integration and create amazing experiences. We call these smart spaces because they connect people and technology in new ways.
Smart spaces add real value and are created by a combination of vision, people and technology.
One of the brands that plays an important role in this whole philosophy of TIG is Embrava.
Tell us about some of the solutions Embrava have created.
With Embrava we focus on creating a smart work environment, for the office spaces but also for employees working from home.
We help organisations protect its most valuable asset: the time of its employees. Through innovative hardware and software solutions, we help companies implement smarter workspaces that foster employee productivity and collaboration.
We also reassure these companies that they are using their office space to the maximum, through analytics.
Has the current global pandemic contributed to the development of your products?
I think we can all agree that the pandemic has changed the landscape of work forever. Gone are the times when employees could turn up to an office, scribble their name to sign in, greet people with a handshake and eat fruit from a communal bowl. As companies realise “business as usual” has been lost, facility managers are scrambling to re-design their workspaces to safely bring their employees back into the office. In doing so, facility managers face three fundamental issues: Assigned seating, duty of care and remote working.
Assigned seating is a strategy to keep employees safe, to eliminate shared workspaces and provide each employee with their own desk, with traceability more essential now than ever. Whereby previously hotdesking was commonplace in many companies, the emergence of the pandemic has not only taken organisations workplace strategy back 10 years but the costs involved in providing each employee their own desk is monumental and not viable in these times.
Facilities managers have a duty of care to ensure their employees are brought back into the office in the safest means possible. Anxious employees also want to see that their company has put measures in place for their safe return. Companies face the legal risk that they will be held accountable if adequate measures are not put in place and an outbreak were to occur in the office.
Remote working also appears to be here to stay. COVID-19 has accelerated the evolution of the modern workplace from siloed offices, to open-office plans and now to remote working. Companies need a strategy to make it easy for employees to work remotely and visit the office, when required, in order to attract and keep their best talent while also keeping their employees safe.
The Embrava Desk Sign product is critical in resolving these issues. Allowing facility managers to provide a safe and cost-effective workspace for their organisation and employees.
The current pandemic has in no doubt contributed to development of software features to guarantee social distancing rules and traceability of potential infected employees and the people they’ve been in contact with on the office floor. We have implemented enabling and disabling of Desks On-Demand to maintain a safe distance between employees. Another feature implemented is the “await cleaning alert”. This prevents employees checking in at a desk that requires cleaning prior to their engagement.
For these reasons the pandemic has boosted the demand for Embrava hardware and software solutions.
In a pre- and hopefully post-pandemic working environment what benefits do the Embrava range provide?
Real estate costs are at a premium while space utilisation is currently poorly analysed. Our Embrava products help facility managers to take the right decisions on how much office space is needed, how the office space is arranged, how many desks are actually required, how many meeting rooms and what type of meeting rooms etc.
The initial focus for customers was the ROI of our Desk Sign solutions, falling under four main considerations:
- Employee experience, employee efficiency, workplace analytics and employee productivity.
- We improved the adoption of a new agile work environment. We solved employee questions like, where am I going to sit today?
- Who am I going to be sitting next to? What if I forget to book a desk before I arrive to the office? I booked a desk yesterday but had to stay home and forgot to cancel the reservation. Is that okay? I booked a desk this morning and when I arrived at the office someone else was sitting there. I went into a meeting and when I came back to my desk someone else was sitting there.
- We simplified the process to find a free desk and book it, reducing the time lost and the frustrations caused. Customer feedback and industry case studies on unassigned seating environments estimate employees spend between 5–20 minutes per day simply trying to find a colleague and/or secure an available workspace when needed.
Embrava provides accurate data to allow for informed facility decisions. The ability to capture desk utilisation data is critical for facility managers. The Embrava Desk Sign allows the capture of accurate, real-time utilisation data from the desk, providing facility managers the ability to make properly informed decisions when designing workspaces to suit their teams and ulitmately improve the bottom-line of their organisation.
The range assists in reducing ‘lost time’ in open-plan offices. The interruptions from surrounding colleagues become a major factor affecting the productivity of employees. Data indicates that up to 28% of a typical worker’s day is consumed by interruptions.
This equates to 2.1 hours of productivity lost per person per day.
The Desk Sign has been designed to help reduce interruptions in the open-plan office by allowing employees to physically display their availability on the Desk Sign to let colleagues know when they are busy with a task, on a call or available to chat.
What impact has the current pandemic had on the Embrava range?
Since the pandemic, the demand has boomed for Embrava products. Beside all previously explained benefits, facility managers now need to take extra care for the safety of the employees, make sure they can work from home but be able to book a desk in the office when needed. In short, comply to all safety regulations, that are changing day by day, but still ensure business continues.
The Embrava range assists with all these issues.
What are the connectivity options for the Embrava range?
Within the Embrava offering we have two product ranges: BusyLight and DeskSign.
Busylight is basically a USB device that connects to the laptop or desktop. Its colour reflects the status of the employee: free, in a call, in a meeting etc. It links with Microsoft Teams, Zoom and all popular phone systems. This product is very popular with people working from home and can keep the children from disturbing their parents while at work, with a simple colour code they will understand.
DeskSign has multiple ways of communicating. It connects to the network via LAN cable (POE) or via a wifi network.
We have a cloud software platform to deploy the hardware. This makes it scalable for companies with 20 desks all the way up to thousands spread across offices around the globe.
What gives Embrava the edge over the competition and are there any extra features you wish to develop for the current range?
The biggest competitive advantages we have with Embrava is the compatibility with major booking software platforms (MS exchange included), its open API to integrate with any booking platform the customer might already have in place and the scalability. No matter the amount and location of DeskSigns needed, the cloud-based DMS software platform guarantees easy deployment.
If needs change over time we are confident the software can be very quickly developed to react and respond if required.
What does joining TIG’s expanding list of partners mean for Embrava?
Historically TIG has been dealing mainly with AV integration companies. Over the last 5 years, we’ve seen a big change in the AV industry. AV gets more and more absorbed into the IT world and vice versa. AV focused partners start offering IT oriented services and IT partners start offering AV products to their customers. I believe this is a transition towards companies reselling complete technology solutions to their customers, what we refer to as “smart spaces”. Having added Embrava to our portfolio has resulted in helping our existing AV partners to sell also IT services but also by expanding the TIG customer base with IT partners.
Finally, what does the future hold for Embrava?
The future looks bright for Embrava. First of all because we see a booming demand today, but mainly because I’m convinced we’re only at the start of a transition to smart spaces. There are so many Fortune 5000 companies that are still running their facilities in an “old school” manner, where there’s still a huge potential to implement our products to increase productivity, lower the cost of ownership of office space and increase employee experience and satisfaction.
The pandemic has without a doubt focused this hope for the future into an immediate necessity.
To learn more about the Embrava products visit: www.embrava.com
To find out more about all the brands represented by TIG visit: www.tig.eu
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