CC Photo Credit: Saad Faruque

Late last year I shared how the Internet of Things (IoT) will be different in many ways for the Enterprise market than it will be for the consumer market.  This is an important distinction to understand given the current level of hype and attention focused on IoT for consumer use cases, and consequently many of the business requirements and use cases can be lost in the shuffle.

For this update I want to drill down a bit more on a business use case, and specifically how the Internet of Things will impact the Software Defined Workplace? The concept of the Software Defined Workplace is something that Citrix has been talking about quite a bit as we see our customer’s transition to Mobile Workspaces.

What are the Positive and Negative Impacts of the Internet of Things on the Software Defined Workplace?

That is the big question and to start, let’s review some of the benefits that the Software Defined Workplace will offer. The Software Defined Workplace will help you:

  1. Connect people with the apps and services they need to work
  2. Ensure secure sharing of intellectual property
  3. Reduce costs by requiring less devices, apps, infrastructure and real-estate
  4. Transform workflows to enable efficiencies and speed of change for the business
  5. Reinvent traditional workplaces to create a mobility-transformed business

Now Let’s Look at this in the Context of an IoT Enabled Enterprise.

The first two points relate to securely connecting people to what they need in order to get their work done. The intersection of people/places/things means we will have more information at our fingertips about employees and how they work, and the analysis of that information will allow us to take advantage of contextual information that will allow better decisions about user identity and user access. As the workplace becomes more virtual, this level of information can only help in ensuring that the workplace remains productive and secure regardless of user location.

The third and fourth points relate to cost and efficiencies. The amount of information collected from an IoT enabled office will dwarf what is collected today. With new devices, sensors, and things providing information on users and infrastructure, the IoT enabled business will have plenty of information at its fingertips identifying the usage of their workplace infrastructure. The orchestration of device/things interactions and information flows all those devices/things, and the analytics of all that data and information is where the IoT enabled workplace can add value. Helping businesses figure out ways to reduce costs and improve efficiencies across the office.

The fifth point speaks to reinventing the workplace around mobility, and is the culmination of the prior points. Taking advantage of location, context, orchestration and analytics will allow the business to reinvent the way they work and their work environment to create a mobility-transformed business.

So while this all sounds great and exciting, I’m sure many of you are thinking that it sounds easier said than done. You probably have questions and concerns on how realistic this vision is in the short term. What about security and privacy concerns? Will the existing IT infrastructure support this view? How much will this cost? How do you manage all of this data without introducing too much complexity? Those are good questions and ones we want to address by asking our customers, as well as sharing our own views in upcoming blog posts – after all Citrix is a Software Defined Workplace.

So please stay tuned. In the meantime I will ask that if you are interested in sharing your opinions, please take a look at this survey as well as leave your comments below. Also, if you want to start experimenting right now, you can take a look at an IoT platform allows you to connect all the things, services and data required in a Software Defined Workplace. Check out the Citrix Octoblu platform and sign up for their preview beta.

More Information on the Impact of IoT on the Workplace:

  • This is a recent article that talks about some specific examples of the impact of IoT on the business, including a ‘Smarter Office’.
  • This is an older article from Wired, it still provides a good look at how IoT will impact the workplace with a particular focus on empowering users to manage their work lives..
  • Microsoft recently released this video on the impact of the Internet of Things on the Modern Workplace. One of the key points is the IoT devices/sensors do not change the workplace themselves. Instead, they enable new business models and process changes that will change the workplace.
  • What about the impact of government regulation on the Internet of Things? The Citrix Octoblu team weighs in on their thoughts on some recent FTC proposals and how this would impact businesses.
  • Interested in sharing your opinions on IoT in the Workplace? Please take a look at this Citrix survey.
Chris Witeck (@cwiteck) is a Principal Technology Strategist with Citrix Labs. Citrix Labs is an applied research organization within Citrix. To get updates on what the Citrix Labs team is following as well as projects the Labs team is working on, you can subscribe to the Citrix Trends and Innovation LinkedIn page.