The COVID-19 pandemic has changed workplaces, perhaps forever, as employers and employees embrace strategies that include enhanced safety protocols and touchless audio visual technology to prevent the spread of the virus.
When workplaces began to reopen following the first lockdown last spring, they enacted a number of mitigation strategies, including:
- Cleaning protocols: Surfaces and workstations were and are regularly treated with disinfectants to wipe away traces of the virus that may have been left by touch.
- Distancing measures: They include geometry, distancing, and division provisions to keep employees two metres apart.
- Working remotely: A significant number of employees began working from home, reducing numbers in the office and potential transmission of the virus. Instead of safety in numbers, the new normal became safety in separation.
As we continue to reinvent and reconfigure the workplace, tried-and-true measures like these and emerging resources, such as touchless audio visual technologies, will enhance employee wellbeing while maintaining business objectives, including: productivity, engagement and collaboration, creativity and innovation.
The good news is that touchless audio visual technology already exists and is in use at workplaces across Ontario and Canada. With infection protocols already in place, technology is driving us towards a hands-free work environment that can only assist in helping those protocols keep COVID-19 at bay.
And it’s not only this virus that these steps are successful in controlling. According to data, strains of the flu are dramatically down this season compared to previous years. It seems measures to contain COVID-19 are having a positive impact in other areas.
When we talk about touchless technology, we are essentially discussing devices that can be used without actually touching them. Touchless audio visual technology allows people to engage through a variety of methods, including voice, facial recognition, and physical movements like hand gestures.
Hands-free Methods to Initiate Actions Already in Place at Workplaces
Remember how it was before the pandemic, when most office engagements were initiated by touch? They included pushing a button on an elevator to get to a desired location, picking up an office phone to make a call, punching in a security code on a keypad to gain entry to an office, and even getting a coffee from the machine in the lunchroom. All of that and much more can be achieved with touchless technology.
Here are some examples of what’s happening in workplaces right now:
- Voice activated collaboration: Devices like the Microsoft Surface Hub 2 are built for enhancing the work experience when people are working together, or apart remotely.
- Infrared sensors: This technology can be found in elevators, activated when someone passes a hand over the number of their desired floor.
- Contactless entry: This technology effectively handles the flow of people into a workplace, allowing users to avoid touching handles, keypads, etc.
- QR codes: Already popular in venues like restaurants to get information and do tasks touch-free, QR codes are useful in a business setting for employee and visitor sign-in.
- Bluetooth connectivity and personal devices: Linking personal devices to office tasks through Bluetooth reduces the need to actually touch surfaces to initiate a desired result.
Increasingly, the office environment will be one equipped with touchless technology that reacts when a room is entered, ie by turning on lights and devices. Resources supporting these technology include:
- Crestron Airmedia – Wireless Presentation System: This system senses where there is occupancy or not, and automatically powers the room on and off. It allows wireless content sharing from laptop and mobile devices, and can integrate with Appspace content management application for onscreen digital signage.
- Barco Clickshare – Wireless Presentation System: This standalone wireless presentation system features wireless connection to display, and optional content sharing wirelessly without button.
Touchless audio visual technology arrived before the pandemic, but its use has grown as employers strive to keep employees safe and connected.
Contact the experts at POI today for assistance in meeting the challenges of remaining connected, and touchless.
Learn more about why braiding the digital and physical works is the new imperative for companies looking to drive innovation and productivity. View Technology: The New Workplace Imperative. Watch Now.