A lot goes into creating a working environment that’s conducive to both your business operations and workplace culture. If your space is designed appropriately, the incorporation of technology into everyday use should feel natural and effortless. Things should just work.
Systems architecture design, or systems design, is the foundation for this seamless connectivity, ensuring the various interfaces, modules and data comprising your technology infrastructure are designed around your organization’s specific needs. Flexibility, functionality and fluidity have long been cornerstones of effective systems design—never more so than in today’s increasingly mobile workforce—and are coming into play in new ways as technology advances.
Let’s take a look at the key trends impacting systems design today, and how the right combination of design and technology can enhance your workflow.
Rooted in Flexibility
We questioned whether to include flexibility as a systems design trend—not because it isn’t a factor, but because it is the single most important factor from which all the others stem. There are expectations around flexibility that don’t even hit our radar; and not just at the office. Information in all forms has been optimized for a device-agnostic world, with instant connectivity at the crux of communication.
As a growing number of businesses embrace the concept of a smaller, more collaborative workspace, it’s not just design that’s becoming more flexible, but also the types of products being used. We’re seeing a shift away from the traditional on-premise, infrastructure-based collaboration technologies and toward open platforms that can be accessed instantly, from any device, for enhanced workplace mobility. And this is good news for your bottom line, as open source technology is typically a more economical choice than many of the historically expensive proprietary platforms.
As systems designers, we approach every project with flexibility in mind. A systems-optimized workplace is one in which employees can connect instantly to the company’s network and present from any platform, without having to worry about whether they’re on a MacBook or a Dell, an iPhone or an Android.
When we talk about functionality in systems design, we’re not just considering whether your technology works (because that should be a given). We’re talking about single products that are intended for multiple uses, across multiple channels.
Take the traditional conference room phone, for example. What was once a strictly audio-enabling device has been transformed into a multi-functional tabletop device that facilitates video conferencing, BYOD multimedia presentation and web collaboration.
Televisions functioning as digital whiteboard displays, sound bars outfitted with web cams and microphones, occupancy sensors gathering environmental data and conference room phones doubling as audio visual systems are just a few examples of how functionality is empowering users to initiate, collaborate and present from a single interface.
Fluidity in Design
In connotation, the word fluidity tends to invoke qualities like grace and movement—things that, as systems designers, we must admit took some getting used to. But in application, fluidity is central to creating a working environment that allows for instantaneous change and adaptation.
Perhaps the most relevant example of fluidity in office design can be seen in conference room scheduling. Since the earliest configurations of the modern workplace that we know today, the search for appropriate meeting space has been a delicate dance between colleagues and companies that, at times, has been known to take a bit of a passive aggressive turn.
With occupancy sensors and touch screen room scheduling technologies, the age-old struggle of finding meeting space, securing a room and inviting attendees is a thing of the past. Occupancy sensor platforms provide a real-time view of spaces that are available for use. Touch screen room schedulers provide an interactive, intuitive way for scheduling (or rescheduling) meetings in the moment, pushing the message out to attendees through major calendaring programs like Outlook and Google Calendar.
These types of systems help to create a more organized and fluid environment—one in which you can change your plans on the fly without concern that everyone gets the message, because it’s automatic.
Designing Your Systems with You in Mind
The first step to getting the most out of your systems design is to engage a solutions provider who understands not only the different technologies on the market today, but their various use cases.
This starts with an evaluation of your current office space—how it’s designed, how you’re using it and where technology can be integrated to improve efficiencies. Everyone has different needs around connectivity and security, which is why it is so important for systems designers to both understand and address these needs through the implementation of the right solutions.
To schedule an evaluation with one of SiteREADY’s systems designers and take the first step toward creating your optimal workspace, send us a message here.Contributor: Tyler Davis, Systems Designer at SiteREADY