With deep roots in the networking sphere, Cisco has long sought to dominate a few prominent spaces, IoT (Internet of Things) being chief among them. That is apparent from its countless efforts in the IoT space thus far. 

There is also the fact that Cisco stands to benefit a lot from IoT spending in the Americas, which according to forecasters at IDC, the region will see the most spending on IoT in the coming years. Typically when we think IoT, however, we think of home devices - a series of connected devices that exchange information with other connected devices without human interference.

Cisco wants to take the concept of the 'connected home' and bring it to the office of the future. I first got a virtual tour of Cisco's NYC office, which Cisco totally redid with sustainability and employee comfort in mind. You can find out more about the space, here:

According to Bob Cicero, Americas Smart Buildings Leader, Cisco, (quite the title) one of Cisco's big pushes is to equip buildings for the future of work. He added that the company wants to lend companies the insights, analytics, and control required to improve efficiencies and drive sustainability while amplifying the intersection of people and space.

Its secret weapon for pulling that off; is its 90-watt Universal Power over Ethernet (UPOE+) devices that do everything from containing digital threats to enabling smart environmental and building controls to auto-regulate health/wellness inside buildings.

"It can do all this while understanding the utilization of real estate footprints," he noted.  


A Future Hybrid Workplace Powered by IoT

Something key to note is that most modern work models support (some sort of) hybrid working for the future. Unless you are a Tesla employee, nearly everyone in today's job market has some form of flexibility. This concept, supported by sound data, led Cisco to redesign its One Penn Plaza, 54,000-square-foot office space. The space now acts as Cisco's proof of concept, Cicero shared. 

It hopes more companies will take it up on its offer to make offices smarter.

Cisco DNA Spaces Dashboard

The space features various flexible workspaces and meeting rooms equipped with Smart devices and countless room devices. As the rules of engagement for the future of work have changed, Cicero notes that what makes a safe, efficient, and effective workplace has further evolved as well. 

"And solving these challenges will require a new way of thinking in office and building management.”

In an environment where some will choose to come into the office in search of things like community and connections, there are still a ton of use cases, ones surrounding IoT devices in offices. Things like monitoring building occupancy, for instance. Cisco develops everything from Smart cameras to various sensors that can detect poor air quality and eventually help reduce energy conception and drive a firm's green initiatives. 

In a future workplace, we should all be concerned about this component, as commercial real estate is among some of the biggest producers of greenhouse gases on the planet. As the number of employees in an office each day continues to vary, so do the demands and conditions needed to ensure employees are safe, comfortable, and happy at work. 


Untapped Data Could Transform a Company

According to forecasters at IDC, thanks to a new generation of location-based services that leverage cloud-based platforms and advanced analytics systems that aggregate, correlate, and process data in real-time - gaining meaningful insight has never been easier.  In a 2020 report, analyst Brandon Butler notes: 

"The power of an advanced analytics system is that it turns the data from an amalgamation of dense information into consumable, targeted insights customized to an individual customer's vertical industry and delivered in real-time." 

It is worthwhile to state that wireless connectivity can also shed a lot of light on a company. IDC estimates that by 2025, there will be more than 55 billion connected devices across the globe. And these devices create data, according to Butler, who wrote: "It's all at an organization's fingertips - they merely need to know how to leverage it." 

The ones that manage to pull this off: he notes, will improve customer experiences, better understand user behaviors, and improve employee productivity.


The Future of Commercial Real Estate is Now

Taking things a step further, IoT in the workplace can work to help employees book meeting spaces, track assets, and even find an optimal time to meet for a large group. And Cicero told me that Cisco is along for the ride, hoping its NYC office will inspire countless firms to redesign with sustainability and employee comfort in mind. 

Of course, he hopes they will deploy Cisco technology to make this a reality.

A lesser spoken-about element is enhancing the customer experience. Yet it remains a significant selling point of smart offices, as in-person and hybrid interactions will be filled with more efficiency from the start if more companies adopt said IoT technologies into everyday business practices.

Last week at Cisco Live, all this was on full display. And as we forge deeper into the future of work and the practices we once knew cease to be the norm, data-driven workplaces are what Cisco hopes will be the future wave, especially as physical real estate becomes increasingly difficult to justify.

At least data derived from physical spaces could help optimize the workplace experience for those who do have to go into an office. There are some exceptions of industries that remain highly regulated. So much so that physical office space will always be a reality for the folks in these industries. Banking, finance, healthcare, and governments all benefit from that luxury. 

Of course, Cisco is betting commercial real estate will get its second wind from the industries (that remain) under intense regulation and the millions of businesses across the globe that implemented hybrid working models.

You missed a lot last week if you didn't tune in virtually or attend in person. Not to worry, we've got the latest from the event in our roundup coverage of Cisco Live 2022. You missed everything from updated partnerships to reimagined app experiences and more futuristic applications of Webex technology.